Other than your mortgage payment, your car is likely to be your greatest monthly expenditure. Those of you who are old enough to remember black and white television probably remember when homes cost less than most cars do today. And the price you pay for your car, no matter how high, is far from being the extent of your transportation costs. You have to buy fuel to drive it anywhere, pay for repairs when something breaks (which never happens at an even remotely opportune time, such as when you have the money to spare),and fork over what are becoming exorbitant amounts for scheduled maintenance, even when everything is working properly.
You also have to maintain adequate insurance, which is expensive in its own right. And you seem to always be paying for various consumables, such as tyres, fluids, and the battery that inevitably fails when you absolutely have to get somewhere. Many of us have been hit hard by the recession, and are only just coming out of it thanks to having cut back on our expenses wherever we could, including on our transportation costs. Here are a few tips on how to make a real dent (pun intended) in those costs.
Walking is healthy (and economical)
As a culture, we have grown accustomed to hopping in the car and driving, even when we’re going on a quick errand, to a destination mere minutes away. The only people who walk these days seem to be engaging in a sport, rather than simply going from one place to another. If you’ve got two good legs and don’t suffer from some infirmity that limits your mobility, consider walking to your nearby destination, rather than driving. You needn’t concern yourself with buying whatever is the current walking uniform, and searching for a parking spot won’t even enter your mind. You might even encounter some delightful people to keep you company on your stroll.
Keep your car healthy, too
Your car will function better, not to mention more economically, if you ensure that it is maintained properly. Proper tyre pressure and a clean air filter can improve your car’s fuel mileage upwards of 5%. Changing your engine oil, transmission and other fluids according to recommended schedules will reduce the friction in your engine, improving your mileage and extending the car’s useful life. Common wisdom is that up to a point, the longer you keep a car, the more economical it becomes. Of course, when its upkeep costs as much as or more than the payments for a replacement, it is time to consider trading it in.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that it is time to replace your car, don’t limit your shopping to the adverts on television or in the newspaper. Research online to see which makes and models are most reliable, most fuel efficient, and have the best resale value. And when you’ve narrowed the field of cars you might consider purchasing down to one or two, shop around with different lenders to see who will give you the lowest interest rates and best terms.
Driving fast and aggressively won’t get you to your destination appreciably sooner, but it will cause the car to use a lot more fuel than it would if it is driven in a more relaxed manner. Driving aggressively can be quite costly, in the extra fuel you use, the fines you’ll pay and when the local constable catches up with you. Holding an even, reasonable speed will get you where you want to go almost as quickly, it will be less expensive, and you’ll be less likely to make enemies along the route.
When it’s time to replace your car…
Prior to 2007, car owners had to pay a fee of £50 to dispose of their old cars at scrap dealers. With the growing concern for the environment, however, legislation has been passed to encourage recycling, so that now, the scrap dealers actually have to pay for used-up vehicles. They don’t pay much, but far better that they pay than you, right? By recycling your vehicle through organizations like www.giveacar.co.uk , the money you would get is donated to a charity of your choosing. If the car is still drivable, however, places like giveacar may sell it at auction and get a higher price than they would get from a scrap dealer.
There are plenty of other ways by which you can save money while getting around. Bicycles have long been popular modes of transportation, though you might want to think twice before facing London traffic on one. Public transport is also a very viable means of getting around, as we Brits have known for many years. By consciously breaking some old habits, you might actually experience long-familiar places in w whole new light, and you will even have a bit more money at your disposal to try some of those places you whizzed past so many times, without giving them so much as a thought. At the very least, you will find that you can reduce the cost of getting around, even if you continue doing so in your old car.