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Now that it’s the start of a new year, you might be looking for ways to save money to help reach your financial goals for 2017.

After a home, a car is the next largest expense for most households. The costs don’t stop once you drive off on your new wheels. In fact, according to a recent study by the Australia Automobile Association, Australian families are now spending up to $22,000 a year in some cases just to keep their cars running and on the road!

However, having a car is a necessity in many suburbs across Australia that are spread out or have unreliable public transport systems. But don’t worry, it’s not impossible to save money whilst owning a car.

These five tips could help reduce your car expenses, saving you money on car repayments and fees, insurance, maintenance, and fuel.

1. Refinance your car loan

The first step to cutting down your car expenses is to review your existing car loan. Refinancing your car loan could help you reduce your repayments, leaving you with more money in the bank to put towards your savings goals.

Car loan refinancing simply means changing to a different lender that may be able to offer you lower rates, cheaper fees or more flexibility on repayment options. When done correctly, refinancing your car loan can potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

When you decide to refinance, it is important that you weigh up all the pro’s and con’s to determine if it puts you in a better financial position. If you need help deciding and would like to run through the numbers to see if it will work for you, fill out our quick quote form to get in contact with the team at 360 Finance.

REFINANCE MY CAR LOAN

2. Review your car insurance policy

Comprehensive car insurance is often the next highest ongoing car expense that could be eating into your savings.

Switching car insurers can be a great way to save hundreds of dollars each year. According to Big Switch spokesman Joel Gibson, insurers often give new customers better deals than current customers at renewal time, and the difference between comprehensive policies on the same car can be as much as $1,000 for the year!

Shop around a month before your car insurance renewal is due to ensure you get the best deal available.

3. Be proactive with car maintenance

Getting your car serviced can be pricey, however leaving a problem too late only exacerbates the problem in many cases – costing you more. There are also some easy car maintenance jobs you can do yourself to save on repair costs.

  • Keep your car properly tuned. If your car is making strange noises or feels funny don’t sit back and hope it goes away. Tuning your car regularly helps you preserve your car for longer and increase its’ power output, handling and speed. Keeping on top of when your car needs tuning can reduce fuel usage by 25% or more each year, saving you lots of money down the road.
  • Change the oil and oil filer according to your car manual. Over time, your oil will break down and your filter will become clogged with contaminants. Changing your car’s oil is one of the most important things you can do to avoid bringing large bags of money to your mechanic later on. Generally, you should check your oil every three months, or every 5,000 kilometres. For a step by step guide on how to change your oil yourself, check out this link.
  • Check the air filter monthly. A dirty filter drags on engine efficiency and reduces your fuel mileage up to 10%. Air filters are inexpensive and very quick to replace, so you can do this routine maintenance yourself and save. Check out a step by step guide on how to change your air filter here.

4. Save costs on fuel

  • Drive responsibly. One of the quickest ways to waste fuel include speeding, rapid acceleration and hard breaking. Aggressive driving can reduce your fuel mileage by 25% according to the Department of the Environment.
  • Take advantage of rewards programs. If you do your grocery shopping at Woolworths or Coles, take advantage of their fuel rewards programs. You can get 4c per litre fuel discount when you spend $30 or more at these supermarkets using their rewards cards or bringing in your receipts. It adds up!
  • Download the GasBuddy app. Petrol prices change on average 4 times per day. The Gasbuddy app will keep you up to date with how to find the lowest fuel price in your area so you can ensure you always get the cheapest fuel.

5. Don’t be afraid to carpool

Not only will you save money on fuel and other car usage expenses, you can help save the environment by adding carpooling to your schedule. Some of the benefits of carpooling are listed below:

  • Saves you hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year
  • Reduces air pollution and traffic congestion
  • Provides you with new friendships and company for the commute