Everyone knows that having children is expensive. Recent research stated that the average cost of raising a child in the UK is £230,000. That’s not a small amount of money, especially if you have more than one child. So saving money and cutting costs can be a huge help in managing your finances. Here are our top money saving tips when it comes to owning, protecting or buying a car for your family.
Many families rely on their car on a daily basis. Keeping it on the road and running is often vital, especially when it comes to the busy school run and taxiing your children around to after school activities and classes. Here are our tips to cut down on running costs:
Car share the school run: This is an increasingly popular option amongst commuters in the UK, so why not extend it to the school run? Alternating between one or two other families can cut down on petrol costs. You can also use the other family as motivation for your children to get ready, something that can sometimes be a struggle!
Plan long journeys in advance: If you can work out the route you will take in advance, you can avoid any wrong turns, dead ends and unexpected delays. Not only are these a real pain, but they also waste petrol. Don’t rely solely on your GPS to save you, do your preparation before you leave. You can also search out for toilet breaks, especially as children always want to go at the worst possible times.
Just take the essentials: Sometimes it can feel like travelling with the family needs more equipment than a camping expedition to the South Pole. But are you packing stuff in the car you really need? Extra weight means you will be wasting fuel transporting the load. Cut down on the excess baggage and you will save money on fuel.
Stick to the speed limit: The faster you go, the more fuel you use. So when you’re on the motorway, why waste petrol travelling at 80mph? Sure, you might get to your destination a little faster, but it will cost you more money. The rise of smart motorways is also something to be wary of and average speed cameras will become more prevalent. A speeding ticket is not just a hefty fine, it can also cost you a job or your licence.
Make your car more aerodynamic: You don’t need to be an aeronautics engineer to improve your car. If you have a roof rack or box on the car, take it off when it’s not in use. The same goes with a bike rack that you attach to the rear. More streamlined = less money paid for fuel. Another top tip. When driving on a dual carriageway or motorway, close the car windows. Air rushing inside the open windows slows your car down, so the engine has to work harder. Close the windows and preserve your car’s aerodynamics.
As well as the day to day running of your car, you will want to ensure that it is fully protected and legal on the road. Whether it’s insurance, tax or MOT, you can still save money. Here are our general money saving tips that families can use too.
Don’t auto renew anything! Most companies rely on their customers being lazy when it comes to renewing their policy, whether its car insurance or breakdown cover. If you shop around, you can often get a much better deal by shopping around. When your existing provider knows you are leaving, they will often try and keep you with a better offer.
Use a comparison site: This may seem obvious, but you can usually get a better deal by using one of the big comparison sites. Car insurance, breakdown cover, even car finance, can be compared.
Conduct a Pre-MOT inspection: MOT’s have a fixed maximum price of £54.85. Repairs have no fixed cost. So before you send your car for an MOT, you might want to conduct an inspection before you send the car in for its test. Check the fluid levels in the engine, make sure all the light bulbs are working. You can test the suspension by pushing down on each corner and seeing how quickly the car settles. If you know someone who’s knowledgeable about cars, have them take a look. Or you can speak to a garage and see if they can do you a deal on a check up and MOT test. Remember: It is free to have a partial re-test of the car as long as you have the car repaired at the same MOT testing station for up to 10 days after the initial fail. The UK Government website has more advice on MOTs.
There are so many car buying options available in today’s market that it can be difficult to work out if you are getting the best deal. When you have a family, you can’t always go for the cheap small car option. Nor can you rely on buying an older used car, especially as they may have reliability issues. Thankfully, there are some top tools available online that mean you can get the best deal on a car that’s right for your family.
Work out your car running costs before you buy: The Money Advice Service have a fantastic tool on their site that will allow you to work out the various monthly costs of a car. All you need is the car registration number or the exact make and model of the vehicle you are buying. Have a look at the car costs calculator at the MAS website.
Use a car finance calculator: If you are looking to finance your new car, then you will want to work out just how much it would cost you across the entire length of the agreement. Use a car finance calculator to get an idea of the amount you will be paying. You will need to know what your credit rating is to get the most accurate reading, so either use a free credit rating guide or search online for a free credit score.
Buy nearly new or used cars for better value: Depreciation is a big factor when buying a new car, with cars losing their quickly once driven off the forecourt. You can get the benefits of a new car such as improved safety features and reliability without spending so much money and losing the value of your car.
Make dealerships compete for your business: Whether you are buying a new or used car, don’t just buy the first car you like at a dealership. Make sure you tell the salesperson that you are shopping around so that they know they will have to offer you the best deal to get your business. Don’t be afraid to haggle!
Creditplus can help you find the car you need for your family. Comparing over 100 lending options, Creditplus will find the best car finance package that suits your financial circumstances. Why not break down the cost of the perfect car into affordable monthly payments, letting you get a car that’s bigger, safer and more comfortable for your family? Simple complete our 2 minute application form and one of our expert customer advisors will be in touch to talk you through your car finance options.