Deliver your own Budget: 12 ways to save money on your motoring bills
Small savings every day mean hundreds of euro in your pocket
Budgets come but once a year, but saving money on your car and motoring bills comes every day of the 12 months.
So why not deliver your own Budget?
Why not look at ways you can save real money, potentially hundreds of euro, over the course of the next 12 months?
Here (and continued on Page 2) I've drawn up 12 simple, obvious (and maybe some not so obvious) ways of making motoring less costly.
1. This is so obvious but often disregarded: keep your car in good condition.
Don't put off the service thinking it will save money. Of course it costs (but you should shop around for some excellent deals on servicing), but for safety and economy reasons it's a must-do.
Why not have your car returning 45mpg as opposed to 37mpg day in, day out? Over time it comes to a nice few euro.
2. Tax your car for the full year if you can. It hits hard, maybe, but it still comes to less than doing so every three or six months. Money saved.
3. It (almost) goes without saying that you shop around like mad for fresh insurance quotes before committing to such a huge outlay.
It is most definitely worth the effort and 90pc certain to get you a lower quote.
The difference can easily run into three figures from several examples of which I'm aware. That's a lot of money in your pocket.
Additionally, see if you can pay your insurance in full rather than instalments - again you could save on the total expended over the year.
Some experts say there are savings to be made by paying now for two years' insurance. If you can manage to gather up the cash, it is worth doing and a potentially really big saver, but a full year at a time cuts a lot of costs too.
4. If you have or you are looking for a car loan, check where you can get the best rate.
Credit unions are back in the business with a bang and looking for custom.
A few percentage points lower interest means you pay less in monthly repayments.
And it also all adds up - every year.
5. Turn off the engine when you are waiting for or dropping off the children at school, chatting in the supermarket car park or golf club.
You're wasting a lot of fuel and probably don't realise it.
A recent study found that letting your car idle/tick over at the school gates for 10 minutes a day generates enough excess fumes to fill two jumbo jets over the course of the year.
Not alone is that a lot of emissions, it's a lot of fuel/cash going up in smoke.
6. If you are thinking of buying a new or newer car in January, why not do the business now?
Dealers are quiet at this time of the year and you can almost certainly drive a better bargain because they are anxious to fill order books as much as possible.
You also have more time to mull things over and choose what trim/colour you want.
If you sort out a better finance deal - and you should push hard - your repayments could be lower too.
So could your road-tax if it's a newer car with taxation based on emissions. And so could your running costs based on a more efficient engine. It all adds up.
7. Dump stuff out of the boot that you don't need. We can have the equivalent of another person in unwanted stuff slung in the boot or back seats.
Less weight equals lower fuel consumption. Not an obvious one, but an annual dead weight nonetheless. Small, everyday saving.
8. Don't start your car until you are ready to drive away.
Warming up while you defrost the windscreen and/or clear the rear hatch and mirrors is probably the most inefficient thing you can do.
An engine gulps fuel in the first few minutes before attaining normal operating temperatures, so start the car just when you're ready to go.
Drive smoothly, too. No need for dashing and braking. It's dangerous and it really mops up fuel.
9. Boring old tyres make it to number nine. They should be higher up, but people always skip over them (diesel v petrol savings are on P2).
Over-inflated tyres won't grip as well.
Under-inflated, unevenly worn and they will soak up fuel too - every day.
The solution is to check at least once a week.
10. Search online (pumps.ie) for the cheapest fuel outlet in your area. Save even €2 a fill every week and you’re €100-plus to the good for the year. That’s a big lump towards many a family’s road tax bill.
11. Is it time to downsize from that large saloon to a nice compact hatchback or crossover?
Holding on to something that’s too big, with a large engine, is often a waste of money. It might be a tough call but you’ll see and feel the benefits in lower bills.
12. I’ve left the big one until last. Petrol or diesel?
Save up to €2,000 on the purchase price of a new car by buying petrol if covering 15,000km or fewer each year.
Buy diesel or hybrid if above that. This is just a rule of thumb, but it works for a lot of people.
Diesel is a must for many.
Don’t disregard it as the new ones are cleaner and greener and make practical sense for those covering bigger mileage.
Hybrids do their best work in slower, stop/go traffic and can be ideal longer commute cars too. But petrols cost less to buy.
You could save yourself a lot of up-front money. Study the figures carefully.
Your decision has the potential to be a major money-saver.