6 ways to cut car costs & boost your savings
As COVID-19 lockdowns begin to ease, many of our pre-COVID expenses are starting to resume, which could spell trouble for your savings. However, while your lockdown-saving style mightn’t be so realistic anymore, by ditching any major money-drainers you can limit your outgoing costs.
And when it comes to cutting costs to help boost your savings, your car is actually one of the lowest hanging fruits. Think about it, from car insurance and rego to petrol and services, the biggest expense for most Aussies aside from keeping a roof over your head is owning a car.
Which means that by making a few small tweaks here and there to your car-related finances you could potentially save a tonne of money which could be put to better use elsewhere. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Refinance your car loan to a better rate
You wouldn’t go out and splurge $65k+ on a brand new Mustang convertible without months of careful planning or at the very least, a test drive, right? Then why would you just sign up to the first car loan you find? Trust us, the quickest way to burn a hole in your wallet is with sky-high interest payments.
So it’s vital to spend as much time shopping around for a car loan as you would the car. Stuck with a crumby car loan? According to Mozo’s database, variable rates for new car loans start from as little as 2.99% p.a. and go right up to a high 11.49% p.a. (information correct at date of writing: 26 June 2020).
So, do yourself a favour and run a quick refinance car loan comparison to see what’s out there. Then, consider making the switch if you find a better offer with a lower rate.
2. Look for cheaper petrol
By the same token, it pays off to shop around for petrol too. Do your research to find out which petrol stations near you offer the cheapest and highest quality fuel. The free NSW FuelCheck mobile app can help you track petrol prices in a flash. Hint: The Metro service stations tend to be the cheapest!
Another way you can score some more bang for your back on petrol is by looking for petrol stations that are in affiliation with your rewards credit card or other type of loyalty rewards card. With the right loyalty program, you could potentially get discounted fuel or earn other rewards whenever you fill-up.
3. Consider opting for a newer vehicle
If you’re currently driving an older car that chews through petrol, then it might be time to upgrade to a newer vehicle that’s cheaper to run. Newer vehicles are generally more fuel-efficient than older cars. Plus, they usually require fewer repairs and maintenance.
Not to mention, it can often be cheaper to register a new car versus registering an older model. You could even go green and opt for an electric car - you’d be helping out the environment and your wallet at the same time.
4. Ask your car insurance provider for a discount
Car insurance rule number one: If your policy’s up for renewal, never opt-in to automatically roll over to another term when without calling your provider to ask for a discount first. Depending on your insurance provider, you could potentially score anywhere between 5% and 15% off just by purchasing your policy online or bundling multiple policies together (like car insurance and home insurance, for example).
Haven’t made an insurance claim in a while? Then you might be eligible for a no claims bonus, which could possibly save you as much as 70% off your car insurance! Don’t sweat it if you made the mistake of not asking your car insurance provider for a discount when your policy was last up for renewal. Just contact your provider to see what they can do offer you now. Better late than never!
5. Switch to a better car insurance deal
Which brings us to car insurance rule number two: switch to a better deal. If you’re spending a fortune on your policy then run a free car insurance comparison with Mozo so you can see what’s currently available with other providers. Then, if you find a better deal, make the switch. It’s really that simple.
6. Claim back on toll charges
If you regularly drive on the motorway and accumulate lots of toll charges, you might be eligible to claim some of it back. For instance, if you’re a Sydney-sider, then each quarter you can claim back a certain amount of M5 motorway toll charges. All you have to do is jump online and log in to your toll account to check. It might not seem like much but all those charges can really add up!
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