After rent or a mortgage, your car is likely to be your second biggest expense. You can rely on your car to get you to work and other places, which means that giving up isn’t so easy when you’re trying to save money. This means that tightening your belt is a must to help you stop your car costs spiralling. Is it easy to maintain a car on a strict budget? Not always, but give the following a read for some useful tips to help you ease your car costs.
Why are car insurance costs rising?
Last year, car insurance premiums rose by an around £50 for the average driver, and up to £200 for young drivers. There are several reasons for this price hike. Firstly, the cost of repairing cars has gone up, meaning insurance firms need to charge more to cover these costs. Secondly, compensation claims are on the rise, so all of those people claiming for whiplash and other minor injuries are driving the prices upwards. Thirdly, the Government has increased Insurance Premium Tax from 6% in 2015 to 12% from June 2017, adding further pressure to drivers.
There are other factors contributing to the rising cost of insurance too. Many cars now have several gadgets to help them navigate, be secure and be entertained, but these come at a cost. Driving gadgets are leading to an increase in insurance costs, which is something that will make you question whether or not they’re worth buying in the first place.
These additional costs can make running a car more difficult, so it’s important that you look at ways of managing your budget to help you cover the costs.
Maintaining your car on a strict budget
There are plenty of ways you can make running your car more affordable. The following are some great tips you can stick to, helping to free up some of your costs and allowing you to save more at the end of the month.
Look for cheaper car insurance
While car insurance premiums are on the rise, there are still ways that you can make it cheaper. Getting cheaper car insurance will depend on factors such as having a no claims discount, how often your car is used, how it is kept, etc. It’s always worth doing a comparison to see if you can get a cheaper insurance quote elsewhere.
Shop around for extras
Want to buy some additional accessories for your car but funds are tight? Then shop around for your extras. Often doing this will help you find some great deals, including private number plates and personalised number plates. 0% finance. Keeping an eye out for deals will help you to save money on the things you want or need, allowing you to buy guilt-free.
Try going car-free at least once a week
While many people rely on their cars to get from A to B, there’s usually an alternative available to you in the form of public transport or active travel like walking and cycling. Even if you don’t believe it’s possible, you can manage without a car. If you travel a fair distance for work, then why not look at working from home a couple of days a week as a way to leave the car behind and enjoy the savings that come with it?
There are many benefits that come with going car-free, and you could soon discover some benefits that you didn’t even realise were possible. A train journey or cycle ride could easily be shorter than time spent in traffic in a car, so it’s worth assessing how you’re getting on and whether or not you really need to drive at all during the week!
Swap to a cheaper car
While you might love your car, it’s not worth dipping into your savings to enjoy. Switching to a cheaper car can be a good way to cut your costs drastically and free up some money to pay for extra insurance costs or to put away for a rainy day. You don’t always have to buy new either – there are plenty of affordable second-hand car options for you that can still get you a great car at a reduced cost.
As well as swapping for a cheaper car, you could also consider opting for a lease car instead. Lease cars are becoming more and more popular, with many car manufacturers now offering lease deals directly from themselves. Most lease cars come with little or no deposit, although you’ll need to set your mileage and stick to it, which can be tricky!
Join a car rental scheme
If you’re trying to save money, then ditching the car altogether and joining a car rental scheme can be another way to greatly reduce your costs. Rental schemes are popping up all over the UK, allowing you to access a nearby car if it’s available and rent either by the hour or longer to help you run errands, get to work, etc. These are great schemes if you know you can cut down on your car usage.
Try car sharing
Morning commutes can be miserable when you’re on your own, so why not consider car sharing? Car sharing can be a great way to split the driving and the cost with a work colleague so that you both ease the financial burden. Providing you can work out a system that’s fair, you could car share with several other people and perhaps only have to drive once a week. Car sharing also helps the environment by putting fewer cars on the road, so you’ll be demonstrating good practice if you’re willing to give it a try.
The cost of running a car is something that can seriously affect your finances. When you’re trying to budget and save money, it can feel like an unnecessary expense, but being in the habit of using your car on a daily basis can be difficult to shake off. Provided you can come up with a plan and stick to it, you should still be able to sensibly enjoy your car while managing your other finances too.