Buying a car can be one of the most expensive purchases you make (after buying a home) – and it’s not just the initial cost you’ll pay in the showroom that could squeeze your finances.
There are so many expenses that have to be budgeted for when running a car – from petrol and road tax, to regular MOTs, insurance and any repairs or spare parts you’ll have to pay for as time goes on.
In the current climate, when many of us are feeling the squeeze on our monthly budgets more tightly than ever before, handling all the costs of running a car throughout the year won’t be an easy ride for many of us.
An expert from debt management company GregoryPennington.co.uk says: "With the rising fuel prices we’ve seen in recent years, budgeting for the cost of running your car can be a real challenge. However, there are approaches you could take to cut down on your fuel bills and take some pressure off your monthly finances."
Let’s take a look at a few ways you could help to keep the cost of maintaining your car down – so your fuel bills won’t drive you off the road.
Tips for running your car on a budget
You could make running your car more cost-effective by:
- Always staying within the speed limit. Along with making you a safe(r), law-abiding citizen (and reducing the likelihood of you getting a speeding ticket!), this good driving habit could seriously help you reduce the amount of fuel you use.
- Getting rid of any unnecessary clutter in your car, whether that means ditching that never-used roof rack or taking heavy items out of the boot. This will stop your engine having to do more work – which means you shouldn’t have to refill your tank so often.
- Maintaining your car well and getting it serviced on a regular basis. You could save a lot more than you think (in petrol and repairs) by keeping your car in good working condition – checking the tyre pressure, keeping the brake fluid topped up, keeping an eye on your engine, etc.
- Not using the air conditioning too frequently, as it will add to your petrol consumption and lead to increased running costs. How often would opening the window have much the same effect as turning on the AC?
- Making a note of the cheapest petrol stations in your local area – and stopping at them when you drive past, rather than going out just to fill up.
If you’re regularly struggling to afford all your monthly costs, and you’re repaying unsecured debts, you could have an underlying debt problem that needs to be sorted out – in which case taking steps like these might well not be enough to sort your finances out.
Getting professional debt advice could point you in the direction of the debt help you need – you may be recommended a debt management plan or another debt solution that could help you solve your debt problem.