When you are trying to run a family on a budget, one of the main expenses are the family cars. According to a recent survey conducted by WeBuyAnyCar.com, it costs around £3,500 a year in Britain to run a car. This makes it the most expensive place to run a car. If you are looking to save money on your family cars, you should take a look at our tips on how to decrease the cost of running a car.
Photo credit: BSAbarnowl
To save money on road tax, it is recommended that you pay for your road tax online. Vehicle tax is changing from paper to a digital copy. This means that you can pay your tax via direct debit monthly, annually or every six months depending on your finances.
You can also ensure you renew your Tax via the Gov.uk page so that you are not duped by fake tax disc websites.
If you are looking to buy a new car, you should get one with low emissions (CO2) to ensure that your tax is as cheap as possible. Any car with emissions lower than 100g/km of C02 is tax exempt
One of the large annual payments you will make every year is insurance. You can easily cut this down in to a small monthly sum by using the monthly payment method.
When it comes time to renew your insurance, don’t necessarily stick with the same company. You should shop around for the best insurance deals and use comparison websites.
An easy way to lower your insurance premium is to add another driver on to your insurance cover if the person has a clean and safe driving licence. You can also save on your insurance using multi-car insurance.
The majority of annual car running expense comes from fuel costs which costs approximately £2,256 every year. You should shop around for your cheapest fuel garage. The cheapest fuel garages are usually in densely populated areas as competition and demand drive the costs down. You can also save money on fuel simply by switching to regular as opposed to premium fuel.
You should cut down on the weight in your car to save on fuel costs. For example, that heavy roof rack you have kept on your car just in case you ever need it can be taken off or you can ditch those car tools that you have no idea how to use.
Air conditioning uses fuel to work, therefore if you want to save money, only use the air conditioning when it is absolutely necessary.
You can also cut fuel costs by ensuring your car is in good condition. You can save 2% on fuel consumption simply by keeping your car wheels pumped to the correct pressure levels.
To save money on fuel, you should drive for consumption rather than speed; you should drive smoothly, decelerate gently, change gear earlier and avoid coming to a stop.
Another way to cut down on fuel usage is to ensure your destinations are closer to your home, for example you could ensure your job is close to home. Obviously this is not always possible. Fuel costs can also be cut down by choosing to walk instead of using the car for short trips.
If you live close to families that travel to the same destinations, you can car share to save on fuel.
Financing a car
If you are looking to buy a car, it is often recommended that you buy a nearly new or used car on car finance that is unlikely to depreciate as much as a new car. That’s not to say you can’t get fantastic bargains on new cars too; car companies are providing free servicing, free road tax and free comprehensive insurance on selected cars to offer customers a complete package. Whether you choose a new, used or nearly new car really depends on what you require in terms of a new car.
You can get car finance from the likes of Stoneacre to help you buy your car. The car finance packages can be personalised to you, with even 0% car finance available that’s spread over affordable monthly repayments. You can work out the car finance you can afford to borrow using a car finance calculator.
MOT & Servicing
MOTs are an annual legal requirement, while servicing is a recommended yearly procedure. Some national companies provide monthly payment service plans so you can pay your MOT or service throughout the year instead of a one-off payment.
According to official figures in 2011, 3.6 million vehicles failed MOT tests due to basic issues such as brakes, lighting and suspension faults. These problems could have been easily rectified simply by completing basic maintenance on your car.
You should also shop around for the cheapest MOT or service cost. If your car requires repairs, buy the car parts yourself so you can buy the part second hand or from a cheaper source. You can also try to find an MOT service centre that provides free retests if you are worried your car may not make it through the first time.
If you need to park in a town centre or city centre, try to park in a free area for example a residential area, preferably not in front of a driveway, at the top of a hill, near a bend or within 10 metres of a junction. Sometimes you can’t part in a residential area, in this instance look around for the cheapest car park. The cheapest car parks are generally where regular commuters park, for example a car park close to a train station.
If you receive a private parking ticket and you think it is unfair, you can challenge the ticket and explain why you believe you shouldn’t pay.