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With the cost-of-living crisis in Britain, cutting costs is at the front of everyone’s mind. Consumers are looking to scale down their overheads, and cars are just one of the day-to-day essentials that must be considered.

According to NimbleFins, British motorists spend an average £3,500 a year on running their car. This works out to about 10% of the average person’s income.

However, trying to budget for your car is quite tricky. Many people rely on their car to get to and from work, whilst for others, their car is their livelihood, and they would not be able to work without it.

To make the process a bit easier, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together some top tips to help your money stretch further when it comes to your car.  

Reduce your car insurance 

Like most things in the UK, car insurance prices are increasing. In the second quarter of 2022, the average annual cost of car insurance was £419, so any way you can reduce it will make your bank account that bit more stable (NimbleFins).

Here are some of the most common ways to get cheaper car insurance:

Improve your driving. If you keep getting tickets and fines, your car insurance will increase. If you drive safe and build up your no-claims discount, your car insurance will dramatically decrease.  

Keep your car safe and secure. If you live in a city, make sure you park your car in a secure location to decrease the chance of it getting stolen or damaged. Car insurers will increase the cost if you’re parking in an unsecure spot.

Limit your mileage. If you’re always on the road, the chances of being involved in an accident will increase. Try and use public transport or carpool where possible.

Pay annually. It’s cheaper to pay your insurance annually rather than monthly, where insurers can add on extras.

Choose an affordable car 

Although this may sound simple, many people have a car they cannot afford. Make sure you don’t get dragged into the contest of who’s got the best car and that you are driving a vehicle YOU can afford.

The best way to determine whether you can afford a car is to outline your budget. Work out your monthly pay after tax, and make sure you can afford your car payments alongside other essential spending.

There are some great resources online for this, including MoneySavingExpert’s budgeting planner.

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts offer a range of affordable cars for below £200 per month.

Explore different finance options 

If your current deal is proving too expensive, you might be able to find cheaper options out there.

Leasing a car might also be a good option and may be cheaper than buying the vehicle, thanks to a low initial rental, fixed monthly rentals, and a range of benefits included in your deal.

Furthermore, if you lease a car, you don’t have to worry about depreciation of the car’s value as the finance provider is the legal owner and is responsible for selling the vehicle at the end of the lease term. 

Find out more about Buying vs Leasing here. 

Take care of your car 

If you have a car you like and can afford, ensure you take good care of it. Regular maintenance tasks on your car can keep it in good shape and prevent any expensive faults from occurring.

Regular maintenance should be carried out all over the car but ensure you cover the car’s bodywork, mechanical components, interior, and wheels and tyres.

The average cost of a full service in the UK (which covers all the above) was £151 in 2021. This is worth the price considering an oil and filter change would set you back £100.

Whether you lease or own a car, read out Top Tips to Care for your Lease Vehicle for more information.  

Reduce the number of cars you have 

Having a choice of cars to drive is a luxury, but it is costly. On each car you’ll have to spend money on buying/leasing the car, road tax, insurance, fuel, and any other maintenance.

Although it may be less convenient, 25.7 million people in Britain lived in a household with only one car, so it’s certainly doable (Statista).

Use your car less 

If you live in a city suburb and commute to work, finding an alternative method of getting to work may save you money.

Public transport will likely be cheaper than driving your car each day and will also likely be quicker as you avoid rush hour traffic.

Furthermore, if you live close to a colleague, try carpooling to work. This will save you all money on fuel costs and will also help the environment, a win-win!

Consider switching to an electric car 

Although the upfront costs of buying or leasing an electric vehicle may be more expensive, all other expenses are typically cheaper.

Because EVs emit no C02, they are liable for zero road tax and are cheaper to maintain as the engine is less mechanical. They will also reduce fuel costs, and you won’t have to pay the charges in low-emission zones.

Read more about the benefits of electric vehicles in our comprehensive guide.

To find out more about how to maximise your experience on the roads, check out our handy motoring guides or call Nationwide Vehicle Contracts on 0345 811 9595 for expert advice.