Three ways to cut hundreds of euro from your PCP, insurance, fuel costs
We've all become accustomed to getting '10 top tips for this' and '12 top tips for that'.
I'm as much to blame as anyone - I do it too often, I feel.
But there is a reason for it.
Firstly, it is usually reasonably good advice - even if it can appear a bit repetitive at times.
Second, it is mostly given against a backdrop of a maelstrom in which people are often ( I find increasingly) - confused by 'advice' from vested interests.
The only thing is ... people take the advice but, in the vast majority of cases, do little about it.
So I got to thinking.
Maybe there are too many tips.
Maybe there is an overload of information.
I think there probably is but there is also the human factor: like new-year resolutions we quickly slip back into old ways.
So I've decided to just pick three simple topics to encourage you to try to save some, possibly a lot of money, this year.
They are: Finance (mostly PCP), insurance and fuel.
Okay, I have probably lost all but two or three of you dear readers, but I suppose I might as well press on anyway.
It can be a maze. A new car costs a lot of money. Financing it costs a lot too.
But you can shave hundreds (possibly more depending on price) quite easily and sensibly.
How? It doesn't take a genius to tell you: shop around; compare.
And even after you have done that put the pressure on the dealership, lender, bank or credit union to do you an even better percentage rate.
You have no idea how competitive it is out there at the moment.
The thing about monthly repayments is that they are exactly that: incremental.
You don't notice/feel the extra €20. But over a year that's €240. The same as the road tax on many a one's car. It could even be more.
If car tax goes up a tenner in the Budget we'd all be up in arms. Yet we throw it away without a fight to a financial institution.
Over three years of a PCP, for example, you are looking at throwing away €720.
Most people have to earn €1,400 before tax to have that amount to spend.
My esteemed colleague Charlie Weston regularly extols the virtues of shopping around, of comparing prices, of paying your premium in one go, of paying for two years and so on.
It is wonderful advice and I know people who have reaped the benefits.
But I also know lots of people who end up not bothering.
So they are stuck with another year of paying possibly €100 to €400 more than they need to.
We all hear anecdotally of people being quoted wildly different amounts for the exact same cover.
As one wise person said to me last year when we were discussing the matter: few people have ever had their insurance increased when they ring up to ask for a lower quote.
This is staring us in the face every day. And there are all sorts of surveys and databases to show us where the best values lies.
But we do tend to use the outlet nearest, or handiest, to us and that is understandable.
However, even locally there can be big variations in price. Now a few cent a litre doesn't look like much but if you are filling up with 40 or 50 litres a week - and commuters are probably doing a lot more - then you can get into saving a few euro a week every week by following the cheapest. Say you save just €2 - which doesn't seem like much. But it is still €104 a year.
Maybe it is just not worth the hassle. But is there not a sense of doing something constructive by getting your raw material as reasonable as possible? I believe in many cases you could save €200 a year. That's about as much as many people gain from even a benign Budget.
Over to you.