They say bigger is better, but it is also generally more expensive too, especially in the context of starting a family. A bigger home, a bigger shopping bill, and, of course, a bigger car. It’s a natural progression to ditch the old run-around that’s served you for all those years, and upgrade to a family-sized wagon. In goes the car seat, and up go the running costs of your new vehicle.
But that need not necessarily be the case. It may not feel like it, but by making some clever changes to the way you drive and look after your car, you can shave hundreds of pounds off the cost of running it each year. Here are five simple steps you can take in order to get you started…
5 useful money-savers for your motoring costs
Don’t just blindly choose third-party insurance
The minimum standard of insurance required to drive in the UK is known as ‘third-party’ insurance, which covers any damage to another vehicle, along with passengers or any members of the public involved. It doesn’t offer cover for fire and theft though. Yet, strangely enough, this isn’t always the cheapest option, and there are cases where comprehensive policies have cheaper premiums. So shop around for quotes for both, while also factoring in things like cash back too.
Cut your fuel bills
It may seem inconsequential, but the way you drive can have a 30% impact on how much cash you end up burning on fuel. So make sure you do all the little things economically. Go easy on the accelerator, don’t overuse the brakes, drive in the right gear, keep your tyres properly inflated, and speed up and slow down more naturally. What’s more, it can be easy with all your various baby goods and equipment to ‘just leave it in the car’. However, decluttering can save you around 3% each year too, for a minimum of effort.
Pass your MOT with flying colours
It’s as simple as doing the, er, simple checks before taking your car in for an MOT, and avoiding the common (and expensive!) fails. Are all your lights functioning? Is your suspension working okay? Does the handbrake feel stiff? Be sure to check that these little things are all in working order. Also, avoid mainstream MOT centres. Council-run MOT centres away from the high street generally don’t do repairs, so have no incentive to fail you. Here are some other handy MOT tricks to help you out with your motoring.
Lock in insurance prices soon
With a hike in insurance premium tax at the recent Budget, the costs of car insurance are set to rise. In fact, the AA predicts that this could be by as much as 25% with some providers and/or policies. So even if your policy isn’t up for a while yet, you may save a chunk by locking in today’s prices. A quick look on some price comparison sites should give you a better idea of the score.
Be smart with car finance
Not everyone has the funds lying around to purchase a family car without some form of financing. However, the market for car loans is a whole lot more dynamic than it once was, and following the old clichés of heading to the bank or applying with mainstream car
finance specialists is likely to result in you paying more than you need to. Peer-to-peer lending platforms in particular, tend to offer more competitive rates, and with more flexible repayment plans that may be better suited to your needs. Be sure to explore the offers from various providers first before settling on the one that works best for you.
There are many other shrewd ways to cut the costs of motoring, and it may be worth spending some time researching it further. Bear in mind that after the cost of housing, transport is likely to be one of the biggest outlays in your family’s budget, so it’s important to be conscious of getting the most you can for your money. Hopefully, these little pointers will help to set you on your way.
Do you have any Money Saving advice that you use to cut your motoring costs?
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