When it comes to family life one of our main focusses (other than trying to juggle life!) is to budget as much as we can in order to have enough money each month to spend on having fun and making memories. One of our biggest expenditures over the years has come from running 2 cars, however, having the freedom that my car gives me is something I could never be without– I couldn’t begin to imagine having to work my day around a bus schedule. So, it is most definitely a must-have item for our family and I know I am very lucky that we are in a position financially to run multiple cars. Yet this doesn’t stop me from wanting to save money here too so here are my 5 top tips to reduce car expenses in the long run.
Reduce your speed
Firstly, it keeps you safer (very important point!) but secondly, you will be using far less fuel if you stick to the speed limits or slightly below. By driving at one steady speed you are less likely to need to brake hard or stop completely which both affect fuel consumption. Studies show that driving at 70mph uses 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph and 15% more than driving at 50mph.
Stay on top of car maintenance
If you run your car into the ground you are bound to have far more issues with it than if you stay on top of all of those simple maintenance jobs. Checking your tyres regularly is such an important task for a couple of reasons. Firstly, by maintaining good tyre pressure you will help in reducing your fuel consumption, can you believe that just a slight drop in pressure can increase your fuel usage by 20%?! The second reason is to keep a check on the tread. Not only is this for your safety but also because a nasty accident will cause far more expense than just a tyre replacement. A burst tyre, ice/leaves or puddles on the road or just not being able to brake in time could all lead to scenarios none of us wants to think about. Get those tyres replaced before they cause further upset or worry.
Other jobs to think about are checking those chips on your windscreens– these are usually covered by your insurance and are much simpler to sort than an entire windscreen. Getting your car serviced each year will ensure that you have fresh oil that will keep your engine ticking over, will flag up any issues with your brakes and other possible signs of wear and tear. If you react to these immediately you will be saving your time and money in the long run.
I know some people love that new car smell, the feel of driving a brand new car off the forecourt and the idea of being the very first owner but let’s be realistic, the cost of pay through the nose each month just to own a car is pretty ludicrous isn’t it? I have never bought brand new. I don’t like to be tied into a contract and I certainly don’t like the fact that it loses value as soon as you drive it off the forecourt!
The AA advise:
“A new car loses value as soon as you drive off the forecourt and by the end of the first year will have lost around 40% of its value. This varies a lot though and the best may lose as little as 10%. If you do 10,000 miles a year, the average car will have lost around 60% of its value by the end of its third year.”
Secondhand cars are great for a few reasons.
- They won’t cost you as much as a brand new car
- They would have already had most of their niggles worked on and problems highlighted on the service history and MOT
- You can shop around and compare to get the best deals
If you don’t fancy buying from a private seller and want the reliability of purchasing from a reputable company there are plenty to choose from online. If you know exactly what you are after you can usually filter through these requirements and discover garages that can meet your needs. For example, with just a very quick search I discovered that KAP Motors offer an amazing collection of Ford used cars at their Brighton facility. With a selection of new and used vehicles, the peace of mind that the cars have had a full check and work carried out on them, the option of paying in full or monthly, you can easily buy your car with little hassle and without forking out a fortune.
Choose your fuel wisely
Choosing which type of fuelled car you buy will highly depend on how much you use it, how long your journeys are and how frequently you will be making longer trips. If I compare a simple trip from London to Brighton you will see how the costs vary depending on which fuel your car uses.
For the 64.8 mile journey in a petrol car with the fuel price at £1.30 per litre your total cost to make this trip will be £10.27
For the same journey, Diesel will cost £1.35 per litre but the trip would cost you just £6.35 in fuel overall.
So, if you are a frequent driver of long journeys you would be better off purchasing a diesel car. However, if you do shorter journeys around the town you live in and are often hopping in and out of your car, it is proven that petrol is not only more economical it is also better for your engine in the long run. With a bit of calculation you should be able to work out which will help to reduce your car expenses overall.
Empty your boot
Driving around with excess weight in your car adds to the amount of fuel it will use and will significantly affect your expenses. As parents, it can be very easy to fill, fill, fill your car with every item you think may be needed at some point in your week but if you just removed those unnecessary items for that day, cleaned out your car once a week and only put the pushchair in on the days you needed it, you may be surprised by how much you will save in fuel over the course of a month. Give it a go and see!
Do you have any other tips you can offer to help to reduce your car expenses?
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.