Wednesday 22 February 2012

Can you afford to drive? Some tips on cutting the costs of running a car...

As you may know I don't drive. I've taken lessons and took my test when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, but after failing I have not yet built up the courage to try again.

And it's not (just!) the fear of of failure that's putting me off. One of my main worries after paying out hundreds of pounds on lessons is could I actually afford to drive?

Mr Mymummyspennies has an old Clio and last year when I was on maternity leave we had to seriously consider wether we could afford to keep running it. After doing some sums and taking into account the cost of him commuting to work on public transport and the security of having transport on hand if their was an emergency with either of the children, we came to the conclusion that as long as he started to drive more economically and we didn't use the car for unnecessary journeys then we could just afford to continue to keep it.

If you are trying to reduce your outgoings and wondering if you can continue to afford to drive then take a look at these tips from Sainsbury's finance on reducing the costs of running a car...

Driving a car isn’t getting any cheaper. If you want to continue to enjoy motoring, it helps to save money where you can. Here we outline the five best ways to reduce your outgoings when it comes to running your car.

1. Slow down
We all know that speeding is unacceptable but even when you’re within the speed limit, just easing your foot off the pedal a little could do wonders for your fuel consumption. Use your gears sensibly and try to keep your revs to a minimum.
The most fuel efficient speed is 45-50 mph for most cars. Driving at a steady 50mph rather than 70mph could save you around 10% of your fuel. You will be doing your bit for the environment too.

2. Drive less
It’s quite simple – the more you drive, the more you pay. The most straightforward way to save money on driving, is to cut back on the journeys you take. Instead of jumping in the car to buy a pint of milk from the local shop, get a bit of exercise and walk instead. Share lifts to work where you can, and always consider whether a car journey really is necessary.
You could also save money through your car insurance if you drive less. Check to see the annual mileage you are insured for. If you can reduce it significantly and then inform your insurance provider, your premium might come down.

3. Drive a cheaper car
This doesn’t just mean spending less on a car. The key is finding a car that is going to help you save in the long run.
Good value, reliable modern cars normally allow you to save in a number of ways. Small modern cars tend to produce fewer emissions than larger cars, so as well as being cheaper to buy and less expensive in terms of the amount of fuel they use, they are also cheaper to tax – sometimes much cheaper. So make sure you investigate this fully when buying.

4. Find affordable car insurance
A thorough search of the insurance market could result in savings. Get a range of different car insurance quotes, and remember to focus on value rather than price alone.
Going for the cheapest overall car insurance deal can be a false economy, if the cover is inadequate for your needs. Be sure to look at like-for-like policies and one that is both affordable and good value.

5. Drive a hard bargain on repairs
Many people approach the inner workings of their vehicle with trepidation. You might think car maintenance is a subject best left to the experts, but you should still look for the best deal possible.
Do some homework on local garages before you turn up with a vehicle that needs fixing. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, and be sure to get a few quotes before agreeing to have the work carried out.
When it’s time for an MOT, many people worry about mechanics flagging up work that might not be necessary. If you don’t trust your local garage, you could search for a council-owned MOT test centre. You might get a better deal and feel more confident of receiving a fair and true MOT test.

The above article was provided by Sainsbury's Finance Family Blogger Network I received no payment for posting this but may receive benefits from being part of the network.

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