Since it’s now impossible to find cheap petrol, here are five other ways to drive down your car-running costs to help you make up for the shortfall.
1. Save money on parking
If you’ve had it with expensive NCP car parks, or you’ve got lost once too often in small side streets while searching for a free space, you might have another option.
You can use websites such as ParkatmyHouse to rent a residential drive near airports, train stations and city centres. It’s not free parking, but it’s a fraction of the price of commercial services. You might pay a fiver instead of £25 for a day.
Alternatively, you could rent out your own drive to help pay some of your other car running costs.
2. Car sharing
Whether you’re travelling to or from work or making a one-off long trip, websites such as Liftshare enable you to split the costs of your journey, or to travel with someone else more cheaply than owning and driving a car yourself. It’s greener too.
I have been in car shares myself and have had only good experiences, so far.
3. Car rental clubs
Perhaps you’ve had enough of storing and maintaining your car, and all the associated costs. A car-rental club could save on both the money and bother.
These clubs have cars spread around a few major towns and cities. You pay a modest fee and then an hourly or daily rate, inclusive of insurance. For example, Zipcar charges £60 for annual membership and then from £5ph to drive. You can reserve cars online in minutes.
These schemes will probably be most cost-effective if you just need a car for a few hours a couple of times per week. If you regularly need a car for many days in a row, ordinary car-rental companies might work out more cheaply.
4. Cheaper than van hire
With websites like Anyvan, lots of couriers compete to help you move home, or even just shift an item of furniture, or some boxes or documents.
Since the couriers are already travelling your way and have half empty vans, you can get cut-price deliveries. You have no obligation to accept the winning quote.
It’s not always good news for everyone in the family though: one student recently found it was cheaper to ship 10 loads of washing to his mum, rather than take it to the launderette himself!
If you’re thinking of sharing your own boot in this way, guidance from the taxman shows you probably can’t make deliveries yourself without being taxed as a business. You’d probably need extra insurance cover too.
5. Save money by driving more safely
Black-box insurance, otherwise known as telematics insurance, tracks how well you drive and adjusts your insurance price accordingly. With some of these insurers, like Insurethebox, you also get to see how well you’re driving online.
There’s growing evidence that drivers of average ability are improving after taking out this type of insurance. I ran a few price tests and have been surprised how cheap this insurance can already be for the safest drivers. This is no passing fad or gimmick.
If you’re interested in any of the services I have written about in this article, please do your research and compare prices with different companies.
You might also be interested in how to pay less for petrol.