Today, I have a guest post from Giles Kirkland. Enjoy
In today’s world, a car is a necessity for many people. Whether it’s for family use, or just getting you to and from work, there are many scenarios where a lack of personal transport isn’t viable. What’s also not particularly viable, however, are the amount of costs associated with keeping such a vehicle in the first place.
Fortunately, as any money-saving veteran knows, there are always ways to cut and trim costs. Here are some of the most useful tips and tricks for budgeting with a car.
Insurance providers are never easy to deal with, but you can negotiate. More than just agreeing to new terms and costs, there are a few other things you may wish to consider. One of the best things you can do, for instance, is to prove you’re a good driver. Most policies insure you based on statistics of your age, as well as the car you drive, so proving your capabilities is a way to beat this curve.
Smart boxes will record such data, giving you something to haggle with. These telematic providers appear more frequently, so why not be rewarded for safe driving? See if your insurer is willing to offer such a policy, or enquire with providers who already do.
Similarly, installing a speed limiter will essentially reduce the top speed of your car and many providers actively offer better deals as a result. This is supported by various insurance companies, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As with anything financial, of course, you should ensure the savings outweigh the initial costs.
The Cost Of The Vehicle
Another important aspect, which many people simply don’t take into account, is the value of the car. Specifically, you should focus on the cost of repairing versus the cost of replacing. If you’re spending a small amount each month to maintain an old car, would it not be cheaper to start down payments on a new model?
The same argument also works for your insurance. If your car costs $1,000 to replace, as an example, but the insurance costs $700, with a repair excess of $500, then you’re paying $1,300 to fix a car via that year’s insurance. If your policy is that inefficient, it’s cheaper to buy another vehicle.
No matter how your vehicle is fueled, power costs money. The more you drive, the more you spend, so it’s best to learn a few smart driving methods. There are many efficient driving tricks you can learn, but the most important are:
- Bringing the car to a slow stop, rather than quick breaking. The latter uses more fuel over long periods.
- Not keeping the motor running at idle unless you have to (such as in traffic).
- Reducing the weight of your vehicle, such as emptying the boot, or removing roof racks when not in use, as this increases aerodynamics.
Finding The Right Parts
When something does inevitably break down, replacing parts is often a costly expense. This is, of course, if you buy the first parts you see or insist on manufacturer specific parts. Otherwise known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, these are usually expensive but guarantee a level of quality – as well as a one year warranty.
However, the wider range of aftermarket parts gives you more financial freedom. You’re not limited to one supplier, so you can shop around, and many parts may offer the same level of quality or greater. Do some research and find the parts that suit your budget and needs.
Similarly, the right choice of economy tires can provide you with a long lasting solution. Of course, tires still wear out but switching the front and rear wheel tires around roughly half-way through will extend their lifespan since it’s the steering wheels that often wear down a little more quickly.
Dealing With Mechanics & Garages
Like any other business, garages and mechanics are out to make a profit. Some offer a reliable service for a fair price while others look to charge a lot and add some extra costs along the way. Here are a few tricks for dealing with the auto-repair industry:
- Don’t get pressured into buying parts on sight. When a garage runs tests, they might offer you a cheap rate, knowing they can pressure you into buying expensive parts there and then. You have a right to shop around, so use it.
- Always get quotes from different garages before any service, but ensure there are no time-limits on these. A quote is no use, for instance, if it expires by the end of the day.
- Better yet, have your car looked at by a mechanic in-person and get them to print up an estimate. It’s more time consuming, but a more detailed itinerary can really help you cut out the big expenses.
- If you find somewhere with the right service and repair fees, ask if you can bring parts you purchased somewhere else. In many cases, they will be happy to get part of your custom; even it means foregoing a possible upsell.
As a general rule, a good garage will be willing to share their knowledge and offer you a fair price, in the hopes of gaining a loyal customer over the years to come. This is certainly something to keep an eye out for – as you can always use your status as a frequent customer to negotiate a new price if it gets too expensive – but you are still a customer. You have a right to be aware of the wider market.
These are just some of the easiest ways that will help you when it comes to budgeting with a car. They will help you to reduce the costs of your vehicle, but there is always plenty that can be done. If you’re feeling brave, why not learn a few mechanic tricks and replace some of those parts yourself?
How are you when it comes to budgeting with a car?