Today we welcome our friend James Smith who has kindly written the following post to help you save money on your car maintenance. This is definitely something that would have helped us a month ago!
Working on a budget seems to be such a grown-up thing that many of us do not consider it to be a useful financial tool. This is a huge shame as a properly planned and adhered-to budget can see us coasting comfortably through the months, savings building slowly but steadily along, with a highly favourable credit report! The mistake many people make is to create a prohibitive and restrictive budget, aiming to save too much and cut down on all the little treats and pleasures that make life worth living – especially when cash is tight. Allow a small amount of your budget towards pleasurable pursuits, but do first make sure that you have covered all the necessary expenses; car servicing and repair being a significant example.
Budget from the Start
Include your vehicle in your budget from the moment you first get your car. Just as you start to put money aside for fuel and oil, you should put another amount aside for emergency repairs, hiring a replacement car if necessary and to begin to save for the vehicle’s first service. Make sure that you stick to recommended service deadlines, even if your vehicle is new and clean your car on regular basis. Should you need to resell the vehicle you will get a higher price if the servicing log is comprehensive, up-to-date and according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Make a List
Study your vehicle and work out which parts will need replacing at which intervals and mark this information on a calendar. Save a small amount every month towards these replacements and in this way, you will not be taken by surprise when wear and tear has its way with your vehicle, as it is sure to do. Replace tyres promptly, as your life can depend on those small, but vital pieces of rubber that keep the wheels turning sweetly. Check out sites like Point S Tyre Dealers to find the best deals for your make and model of vehicle.
Keep Your Savings!
The money that you put aside for car expenses must then be ignored until you have car expenses to cover. Never allow yourself to be tempted to use it for a night out, ‘borrow’ against it until pay day or lend it to anyone – who is to say car will not break down the moment you have handed your precious car fund over to someone who will not be able to pay you back for a month or more?
Know Your Insurance
Keep your vehicle insurance up to date, choosing a policy that is not necessarily lowest required by law. Some policies provide extra benefits to people who rely on their car every day for an acceptably small increase in the monthly premium. If you do not drive very often, you can perhaps get away with having just the basic coverage, but if so, you definitely need to make sure that you have a nest egg to fall back on in the event of something unforeseen befalling your car!
Track Your Expenses
Keep the receipts for every piece of work or spare part that you pay for your vehicle over a set period of time. This will help you to accurately work out the total cost of ownership of the car, not just the obvious expenses like fuel and oil, but every penny spent on the vehicle.
Finally, if your car is very old – usually over 10 years – it is time to invest in replacement. If you continue to pay for spares and repairs on a car this old, you will quickly find yourself spending more than your vehicle worth just on keeping it roadworthy!
Without treating our car with care, we soon found out why you need an emergency fund!