Britain’s RAC published a report a few years ago claiming the average cost to run a car has skyrocketed to £6,689 per year or £557 per month. That’s a whopping $1094 NZD, $1021 AUD, or $955 USD per month! No matter what kind of dollar you use, $12,000 a year to run a car simply won’t do it for the most of us. As with all things Flashpacker Family though, we can help you cut those costs way down.
Let’s first start with a disclaimer that saving money is easier the older you are. All these tips can be applied to any age group, but those in the middle to second half of their lives will see the best results.
The first thing you can do is shop around for cheaper insurance. Most of the big name brands can be outpriced by smaller, lesser known companies. There’s certainly a comfort level in having a proven and familiar name providing your insurance, but compare the policy details. If they both offer the same services, go with the cheaper one. No matter what company you choose though, the best rates will go to older, more experienced drivers who are seen as less risky.
Something anyone can do to lower their insurance costs is to be a safe driver. You should obviously do this anyways, but driving safely and keeping a clean traffic record will allow you to qualify for the best insurance rates. Even one moving violation or speeding ticket will cause your rates to go up.
Living in a safe city or town will also allow your rates to be cheaper. Insurance providers are all about risk analysis. Too young? That’s a risk. Bad track record on the road? That’s a risk. Dicey neighborhood with frequent car break-ins and theft? That’s a risk.
Simply driving less will cut down your costs as well. Go green and look into public transportation options or take up biking. Maybe not all the time, but even leaving the car in the garage one day of the week will result in a 14% savings. That’s $1,680 off that hefty $12,000 annual fee!
Want to really go green? Buy an old diesel car and run it on vegetable oil. Go around to your local restaurants and ask them to save their excess vegetable oil for you. You can convert it at home to make it the proper viscosity for fueling your car.
On the flip side, buying new instead of used could also be in your benefit in the long run. Cars, like everything else, are only getting more and more fuel efficient. Savings at the pump from a new, more fuel efficient car can add up and soon enough, you might see yourself with more money than you would have had paying more for fuel as well as more frequent upkeep with an older car.
Don’t buy into those numbers of how expensive it is to run a car these days. Those numbers are for the lazy. Your hard-earned money should stay with you for fun things and not be lost maintaining a tool that simply gets you from A to B.