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Family finance: Top 20 tips for saving

>1 Review your car -- does it need replacing? Could you upgrade the model for efficiency purposes? For example, if you are currently achieving 25 miles per gallon -- 40 kilometres per 4.55 litres! -- and you want to change, buy a car doing 35 miles per gallon.

>2 Change your car to diesel or hybrid model -- apart from reduced carbon emissions, you could save hundreds of euros by such a change.

>3 Avoid company cars -- in about 80pc of cases, it does not pay to maintain a company car. Benefit in Kind (BIK) on company cars is prohibitive -- 30pc of the value of the car when first purchased. For example, a Toyota Avensis at €25,565 means for as long as you have this company car you will pay BIK every year of €7,669.50 or €639.12 per month, irrespective of falling value through depreciation. Take mileage expenses at €0.6348 per mile.

>4 Buy a classic or vintage car (over 25 years old) -- apart from the style, it would be cheaper to buy, and if you deem this car a company vehicle, the tax payable will be based on the value of the car at the time of purchase. Plus, they are cheaper to insure, with minimal car tax.

>5 Reduce your dependency on car fuel No 1 -- pool your car and share it with others going the same way or working in the same company.

>6 Reduce your dependency on car fuel No 2 -- charge your colleagues a fuel-sharing fee should they have no car and wish you to drive them to work each day.

>7 Reduce your dependency on car fuel No 3 -- keep your car in top condition by regular servicing, keeping the correct pressure in your tyres, driving under the speed limit, driving smoothly, and having no unnecessary weights inside the car.

>8 Check your tyres for wear -- new tyres will be more efficient than the worn tyres that currently adorn your car. Plus, newer tyres are a lot safer than well worn ones.

>9 Shop around for fuel -- take a note of your local stations and their fuel prices. Sometimes, stations will run a discount campaign. Look out for fuel discount cards.

>10 Reduce your dependency on cars No 1 -- if you are a two-car family, review the need for the second car. Work out the practicalities.

>11 Reduce your dependency on cars No 2 -- would the purchase of a bicycle be practical ? Apart from the exercise angle, bikes cost nothing to run and there are tax breaks for employers to provide some for staff.

>12 Think electric -- hybrid cars are already with us, but the future car will be an all-electric model. Already capable of reaching 120kph, with a range of c40 miles without charging, they will improve year on year.

>13 Car loans are deterrents -- if you are a person who changes your car every three years and just renews the existing (and expensive) car loan at that point, try saving over a three-year period so that you do not need that car loan.

>14 Car loans -- shop around. Expect to be charged between 5pc and 15pc, depending on the institution. Avoid moneylenders.

>15 Walk -- good for the body, pocket and your dependency on cars.

>16 Use all forms of public transport -- it's much more economical than maintaining your own car.

>17 Home oil -- shop around. Paying upfront for the year's oil requirements may reap dividends.

>18 Home heating -- turn your thermostat down just 1pc and you can save as much as 10pc of the cost. Switch off the heating when away.

>19 Boiler -- if your boiler is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a new condenser boiler. This uses energy more efficiently and should repay installation costs within two years.

>20 Insulate your house and your pipes -- you will save hundreds through reducing heat loss.