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8 ways to save money on car ownership costs

May 9, 2023

8 ways to save money on car ownership costs

Given the recent cost of living crisis, saving money has never been so important. The good news is that there are lots of ways to save some cash on car ownership costs. 

Monthly budgeting for transportation costs 

Creating a monthly budget for your transportation costs is a great idea. Getting around town isn’t cheap, so keeping to a tight budget can ensure you don’t waste any cash on expensive transport costs. 

The first step when creating any budget is to determine how much you can afford to allocate to this expense. A rule of thumb is to delegate around 10-15% of your salary to transportation costs such as car payments, insurance, public transport, and fuel. 

The next step is to list all of your transport costs in one column and decide how much you can spend on each. At the end of every month, list how much you spent on each category. Remember to keep things like fuel receipts and bus tickets, and make note of your car payment and insurance amounts. 

We all know that creating a budget and sticking to it are two completely different things. While the latter is always more difficult, there are things you can do to ensure you stick to it. 

Carpooling: Save money and reduce your carbon footprint 

In our eco-conscious world, the popularity of carpooling is rising. Grabbing a ride with a friend or colleague is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. 

By opting to carpool, you save money by splitting the cost of fuel, tolls, and other driving costs. The biggest benefit is for mother nature though, when you carpool with others that means there are fewer vehicles on the road emitting harmful emissions into the air.

So now that you’re convinced to try carpooling, how do you find your carpool tribe? Finding a carpooling community has never been easier with the rise of apps and Facebook groups. Two popular forms of carpooling are for colleagues and schoolchildren. To recruit drivers, you could post a sign in a common area in your office sharing the idea, or chat with parents at the school gate.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when carpooling is to make it work for your schedule. Try using a carpool app to ensure everyone is kept up to date on changes in driving rosters, schedules, or pick-up locations. 

To ensure things run smoothly, always ensure that there is a backup driver for every day in the case of a car breaking down or a driver being ill. 

Public transportation: An affordable alternative 

Public transport was first introduced to the world as a cost-effective, convenient way for people to travel. 

To save some cash on your costs, you can usually buy monthly or yearly passes for buses, trains, and underground railway networks as an alternative to single-use tickets. Make sure you research the routes, timetables, and services that are available in your area. 

Another tip is to consider all of your options. If a stop is too far away for you to walk to, consider riding a bike, scooter, or moped to the bus stop or train station. In larger cities and towns, there are often ways to hire a bicycle or electric scooter for a short distance using a mobile app. 

And of course, Google is your best friend. There are countless websites and apps, including Moovit, Apple Maps, and Rome2Rio for longer trips, that make planning a route via public transport a breeze. 

Remember, if your schedule allows it, travelling in off-peak hours can save you cash and make the trip more pleasant as you are more likely to grab a seat. Being five to 10 minutes early to catch your train or bus will also help ensure you don’t miss your ride. In addition, using a prepaid monthly/yearly travel pass will save you time as you won’t have to queue for a ticket. Many workplaces also offer flexible working hours which can help make public transport a more attractive option for your schedule. 

Fuel efficiency: Save money at the pump 

Fuel efficiency, which refers to how far your vehicle can travel with a certain amount of fuel, has never been so important as the world is struggling with a shortage of oil, a cost of living crisis, and rising concerns over the impacts of burning gas on our environment. 

The benefits of choosing a fuel-efficient car include saving on fuel costs and reducing your vehicle’s carbon footprint. 

There are many ways to improve fuel efficiency. The number one is choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle in the first place. You can do this by buying a smaller car with less horsepower and avoiding extras like a permanent roof rack or turbocharged engine. 

In addition, opt for fuel-efficient extras like aluminium wheels, cruise control, and trip computers which show you how much fuel you have used. 

Keeping your tyres pumped up, reducing the weight in your boot, and avoiding breaking aggressively are all other good ways to improve fuel efficiency. 

Every driver is constantly looking for ways to save money at the pump. A great way is to use a fuel price app which compares prices at all of the stations in your area. When you do find the cheapest fuel station, you should inquire to see if they have a Clubcard/rewards program you can benefit from by being a loyal customer. 

Avoiding traffic and keeping a steady speed will also help you save on gas too. 

Regular vehicle maintenance: Preventative and cost-effective 

Ensuring that your vehicle is regularly maintained is very important to prevent damage to your car and ensure it is running in the most cost-efficient way. Compared to the hefty costs associated with a major breakdown, regular maintenance is very affordable. 

Small things you can do at home include inspecting your tires, keeping your oil topped up, and cleaning your car. In addition, maintain your car’s battery by not letting it run flat, change your filters, and replace spark plugs and leads regularly.

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to preventing hefty costly repairs. By adopting the above tips, you can save a stack of cash on yearly repair costs by looking after your vehicle. 

Most importantly as a preventative measure, stick to your vehicle’s service schedule. In general, you should bring your car in for a small service once per year and in-depth service every three years. While skipping an annual service might seem tempting to save money, you could end up losing out by letting bigger issues build up. 

Auto financing: Find the best option for you 

Auto financing is when you buy or hire a vehicle and pay the seller back what you owe, plus interest, over a predetermined period of time. 

Like most things in life, it’s good to shop around to find the best financing option for your vehicle. 

Explore all options, such as paying with a credit card, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Personal Contract Hire (PCH) or Hire Purchase (HP). Selecting the best avenue for your circumstances can help save you hundreds to thousands every year. Remember, there are lots of options outside of your car dealer’s finance. You can also opt to use a car financing broker to find you the best deal. 

Really think if you want to own the vehicle, or do you just want to hire it for a certain amount of time? Keep to your budget, make sure the deposit and monthly repayments are affordable and pay as much deposit as you can so the amount you have to credit is lower. 

Alternatively, a car loan might work out cheaper than auto financing as there is no required deposit and you can normally repay the loan early penalty-free. 

Affordable car ownership: Choosing the right car for your budget

When choosing the right vehicle for you, you’re going to have to make some decisions before you start shopping. 

Firstly, decide your budget for the car and its costs. Then you will need to think about what you need the car for. This will dictate how much space you need, what size the car should be, and what models could work for you. Another thing to decide on is if you want a petrol, diesel, electric, or hybrid vehicle. All of these factors will help you pick the right car for you. 

Shop around at different dealerships and online to find the best deal. 

Remember, a new car loses around 20% of its value as soon as you drive it out of the dealership, so buying a second-hand car could be the right move. 

Another option for you may be a car subscription. It could well be that a car subscription provides a flexible and hassle-free alternative that you can use either to plug a gap or as a longer-term means of enjoying the benefits of car ownership with none of the stress – especially the extra costs.

If you’d like to find out more about the flexibility and convenience offered by car subscriptions, whether as an alternative to extending your current lease or as a liberating life choice, why not browse our cars and see what might be right for you? You could be picking up the keys in as little as seven days, and because you’ll only need a month’s subscription fee - which you get back on return of the car - you won’t need to worry about large upfront costs.