Save money on cars and vehicles | Lazy driving habits? Pay the price…

I’ve been on the road long enough to know that we all do it. I am sure you’ve run an orange light that turned into red. You may have lost a few demerit points over the years. You might be a squeaky clean driver who just got your first ticket. Guess what? No matter how good you think you are at driving, those cameras are out to catch you, and catch you good. And when they do, be prepared to pay $200 to $300 in a nasty little fine that has you swearing at yourself all the way back from the post box. Trust me. I’ve been there this year, and I can tell you – it wasn’t my fault – really! What is a woman to do, while waiting in the middle of the road on a green when Mr or Mrs so-and-so decides to risk an orange and guess what… they make it through! Yippee for them! And… you guessed it.. you don’t and a few weeks later..bam! $360 fine. Not my fault. Life sucks. Have you been here? I have. So if you want to completely avoid fines you gotta get savvy with it. You gotta get with the program and learn some rules, because those traffic lights sure aren’t set up so that you actually make it through them without a fine….Paranoid? Yes I am and for a reason! Check out these tips. Get paranoid and save dollars on fines this year.

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Buying a Car

Keep It

Consider not selling your car at all. Keep it until it dies.

Need not want

When buying a car ask do you really need this type of car? Assess your needs versus wants.

Shop online

Shop online instead of driving to the shops.

Pimp your ride

Buy a gas scooter

Fuel purchasing tip

When purchasing check fuel efficiency.

Car purchasing checklist

Download a car inspection checklist and go through it thoroughly. Do you have a checklist? Upload one in this category.

Take out insurance

Always take out insurance before driving your newly purchased car home.

Parts purchasing tip

When purchasing check cost of parts for the car.

Is the car under finance?

When purchasing check with REVS to check there is no finance on the car.

Check it

Always get your car checked out before making this big purchase.

Avoid hidden costs

Always buy a car with a roadworthy.

Is the car stolen?

When purchasing check the car isn

Leave earlier

Avoid traffic and petrol when driving. Avoid crowds on public transport if you are not driving.

Walk away

Be prepared to walk away from a deal to get the price you want.

Ownership check

When purchasing check the car isn’t stolen or under ownership by a liquidated company.

Switch rides

Buy an electric scooter

Haste makes waste

Grow patience when buying a car. Haste will waste much of your money.

Comforting thought

Be prepared to go for price comfort over vanity!

Check registration when purchasing

When purchasing check rego online for owner details.

Cheap cars for sale

Check our classifieds section and see if you can find a car for sale.

Avoid buying new

Avoid car dealerships. They really pump up the price.

Check noticeboards

When purchasing check out community noticeboards for cars on sale. Such noticeboards can be found at community centres, fish and chip shops and at the entry of small supermarkets.

Say no to finance

If you have to get finance you probably cannot afford it. Is there another option or a cheaper car?

Avoid extras

Extended Warranties: Avoid these extras.

Go hybrid

Consider buying a hybrid car and reduce your petrol costs.

Are you a city driver?

Move to a smaller car. You can navigate streets and parking better and save stacks on petrol.

Cheap accommodation

Station wagons make great cheap accommodation as you can sleep in them.

Buy a van

If you are constantly camping or holidaying consider a diesel van, that way you can throw a mattress in the back and sleep in it. Also good when travelling to parties and when you cannot drive home!

Do you need a second car?

Imagine life without your second car. Could you get by?

Buy with cash

Save your pennies and buy your car for cash.

Is a taxi cheaper?

Do you use your car infrequently in a city area? Are taxis cheaper?

Assess your reasons

Do not choose a car so you can show off to your friends.

True cost of a car

Add up the true annual cost of your car or cars and weigh things up.

Identify your needs

Identify what it is you really need in the new car. Is it a good stereo system? If so, it is cheaper to just pimp your old car with what you need.

Auctions

Buy a car at an auction house.

Buy a bike

Worth it for those little runs up the shops to buy milk.

Do you need a car even?

Consider not even buying a car.

Check government auctions

Check out company and government car auctions and save big dollars.

Stick it out

Simply keep your current car one extra year. Prolong the purchase and start saving.

Car Accessories

If you cannot afford a Navman

If you cannot afford a Navman grab some sticky Velcro and strap your mobile phone with Google maps app to the dash. A cheap alternative!

Safety is paramount

Install a first aid and emergency kit.

Car storage

Use the backs of the front seat to install hanging storage for the items. That way the car will not get so dirty day to day.

Make them yourself

Make your own car seat covers with a little creativity.

Car Maintenance

Apprentices

Make friends with an apprentice mechanic and get discounts on weekends!

Find a good mechanic

Get a local person to recommend a good mechanic.

Your mate the mechanic

Got a mate who is one? Offer cash for mates rate job.

Oil change

Check it and change it regularly for better performance.

Buy petrol on special

Keep a keen eye out for when petrol is discounted. Make a rule to only buy petrol on a certain discount day or when you believe it is discounted. Watch buying before or on weekends.

Getting quotes

Get numerous quotes from reputable mechanics.

Learn It

Learn how to do your own maintenance. Check out YouTube videos as a start.

Service it yourself and save

Learn how to service your own car on YouTUBE!

Service your car regularly

Do regular services and keep them logged in your car’s service book.

Pimp It

Pimp your own car cheaply! Using your creative knack and have fun!

Revamp an old car

Buy a new engine to put in your old car.

Check water

Check and change water in your car on a weekly basis to keep car performance at a premium. This saves dollars.

Tune It

Get your car tuned or learn how to tune it yourself.

Winter maintenance

Prepare your car well to ensure no accidents in Winter, especially if you live where it snows.

Bug protection

Protect your car from bugs by placing flywire over the grill.

Cleaning

Mud on fiberglass, plastic or aluminium

You can get mud off fibreglass, plastic or aluminium by mixing vinegar and baking soda together. Make a paste with it and then put onto the surface. Then wash off the mix with soapy water and rinse.

Brighten carpets in your car

Add vinegar to water and brush lightly. Wipe down with water on a towel.

Carpet spot cleaner

Add diluted vinegar and a little detergent onto urine stains from your pet in the carpet. This will remove the odour and help to remove the stains.

Carpet stains in the car

Combine one teaspoon of detergent, one teaspoon of vinegar and a litre of warm water. Spot clean your carpets using a soft brush or a coarse flannel.

Carpet steam cleaner

You can add vinegar to your portable steam cleaner to reduce soap bubbles and increase the effectiveness of the clean.

Coins lying around the car

Soak in straight vinegar overnight to make them shiny.

Sharing a coke with Sharon?

Were you sharing a coke with Sharon and she spilled coke on herself? Well you can tell Sharon she can get that stain out using vinegar. Tell Sharon that vinegar will remove a stain from cotton, polyester and permanent press fabrics. Tell her to rub the vinegar directly on the stain and spot clean it. Tell Sharon to then wash the garment normally. Now tell Sharon that next time you share a coke with her, you would prefer that she try to be more careful. She has really created a lot of bother for herself by being so clumsy, even though she did not spill her Sharon coke on herself on purpose. Maybe next time you can share a coke with Susan. Try your luck.

All-purpose car cleaner

Vinegar, salt and water make a great all-purpose cleaner. Go nuts.

Clean vinyl books

Wipe down vinyl baby books with vinegar and water to keep them clean for baby.

Nozzle up your hose

Invest in a hose nozzle for your hose, which allows you to turn the tap on but then switch the water on and off easily as you need it.

Wash your car on the lawn

If your area permits it and you are actually allowed to wash your car, wash it on the lawn. This way the garden will get all the run off water.

Wash the car with a bucket

To really save water when washing the car, use a bucket. Start with a bucket of soap and water and then throw plain water over the car to rinse. Job done. Great!

Go the waterless car wash

There are many products in the market now that make it possible to water your car without water. A little bit like wiping down the kitchen bed with a Shammy and some cleaning products. Investigate them and you will get the same result and a lower water bill.

Go the commercial car wash

Commercial car washes generally use recycled water. These are a good solution because you can scrape up all the spare coins around the house, get your car washed in a happy and easy environment and also you will get a nice present in the mail. A smaller water bill!

Use sink water to wash your car

if you read my post about rinsing dishes using a square bucket in the sink to capture the water. You can now repurpose this water to wash your car. Nothing gets wasted. This is a nice win-win.

Carrying soapy water

Cut the top off the milk bottle and use the bottom to carry soapy water when cleaning your car.

Make car polish

Investigate making your own polish. As a start grab our Vinegar Turbo Tip sheet.

Pimp It

Pimp your own car cheaply! Using your creative knack and have fun!

Get a dust buster

A dust buster is a great investment for cleaning your car quickly and saving time.

Rubbish bag

Hang a durable rubbish bag in your car and keep it clean.

Keep it clean

Keep a cleaning kit inside your car for spills. Clean them up as soon as they happen.

The best car wash

Wash your own car and save on carwash costs.

Driving habits

Stop when the lights turn orange

Do not speed up to catch lights about to turn red. You will just get caught by a speed camera.

Watch your idling habits

Do not idle your car for too long. If you are stuck in a traffic jam that is going nowhere turn your car off. Do not idle in the driveway for no reason.

Turn the car off

When you get home do not leave the car running while you are grabbing all your stuff. Turn it off and save petrol.

Invest in a Navman

Invest in a Navman so you do not waste petrol getting lost.

Stay in control and cruise it

Use cruise control to keep within limits and avoid those nasty speed cameras.

Slowly does it

Simply slow down. You will catch up to the next guy at the next set of lights anyway.

Be constant

Drive at a constant speed.

Buy a trolley

Invest in a market trolley and walk to the shops for groceries.

Get fit

Walking is a win-win-win! Fitness, savings and you are an eco-hero!

Avoid accidents

Keep your distance to avoid accidents.

Weekend cost saving

Try not driving your car for an entire weekend. Now try that again!

Avoid snacks out

Avoid the high priced snacks at petrol stations.

Plan for hunger

Plan food and snacks. Avoid expensive food stops.

Food box

Create a food box where you keep snacks and drinks. Refill it regularly.

Quench your thirst cheaply

Keep a stash of bulk buy drinks or cups and litre drinks in the car for road trips.

Starting your engine

Only start the car when you are ready to drive it!

It costs money to leave

Remember that every time you leave your house it costs you money. Evaluate every trip and get happy about staying home more. If you must the house, walk!

Can you go without it?

See if you can go without your car for a week. So see if you can go without too.

Three reasons

Have at least three reasons to drive somewhere.

Bulk errands

Run errands in bulk once a week. Plan your trips.

Limit city driving

Do you really need to go into the city at rush hour? Assess your needs. Can you take the train instead?

Plan trips

Organise your trip routes ahead of time to avoid getting lost.

Use navigation

Weigh up toll prices versus not taking tolls using Google Maps before the trip, your phone or your Navman.

Traffic light relief

When driving coast up to traffic lights slowly. Save your car’s brakes and avoid stopping suddenly.

Petrol saver

Keep under 60km to save money on petrol.

A good habit

Stuck in traffic jam? Turn off your car.

Cheaper travel

Avoid tolls if you can. Sometimes it is just as fast and as cheap to avoid them.

It is not a competition

Do not be a speed demon burn people off at the lights. Accelerate slowly and save petrol.

Anticipate It

Anticipate traffic patterns to avoid accidents. Drive defensively.

Take a thermos

Avoid buying coffee in the morning. Take a coffee on the road with you.

Watch your travel distances

Brakes: Keep good travel distances. Avoid sudden stops.

General

Let your piggy bank pay

Start a piggy bank to pay for your annual registration costs. Also add notes occasionally. Let the piggy pay for your car registrations when they come up unexpectedly!

Get roadside assistance

Use RACV as your mechanic! First port of call anyway to troubleshoot the problems.

Water for engine

Use a recycled milk bottle to keep water for your engine.

Water for long trips

Freeze and chill recycled milk bottles and fill them with water for long trips.

Frozen water for Esky

Freeze water in recycled milk bottles and put them in the car Esky.

Rubbish bin

Cut a hole in the milk bottle opposite the handle and use as a rubbish bin in your car.

Emergency kit dividers

Cut the top off a milk bottle and use the bottom to create containers. Use multiple containers as dividers within a plastic box as an emergency kit in your car.

Oil holder for car

Use a recycled milk bottle to keep oil for your car handy.

Baby car kit

Cut the top off the milk bottle and use the bottom to create containers. Use multiple containers as dividers within a plastic box. Place nappies and emergency supplies in the boot of your car.

Keep a logbook

Keep a logbook in your car for a month to see how you are using your car. Then re-evaluate all your unnecessary trips and how you can plan trips better for saving fuel and money.

Lose your keys

Try losing your car keys for a week and see how you survive without your car? You might find ways you can use it less and save money.

Cut an extra car key

Cut extra keys to your car and keep them at home. I learned this one the hard way when I ventured out one day and lost my keys in the city. I had locked my spare keys in the car. Dumb!

Stay within the law

It saves heaps of money to stay within the law. If you don’t speed or park in illegal parking fines you won’t get fines. Simple.

Hire car trick

Catch a flight to the main city. Hire a car and drive to the smaller city. You can make big savings on flights and you also get a car to use at your holiday destination!

Take the day off

Designate one day a week to not driving. See how you go with public transport or possibly working from home.

Wake earlier and walk

If it is not too far, wake up earlier and walk the kids to school. Studies prove great benefits all round for parents, kids and fitness levels! Not to mention the money savings!

Walk

Walk everywhere you can. Reap the money and fitness benefits.

Take the bus

Take the bus it if this works out cheaper and is more convenient. Sleep on the bus or read a book and educate yourself on a new topic while you put your feet up!

Street travel

Use windows instead of air-conditioning when travelling at slower speeds.

Highway travel

Only use the air-conditioning when travelling at higher speeds on a freeway.

Install cameras

Install cameras in your car to watch the driving habits of your teenager.

Parking and fines

Walk further

Park on further away side streets and avoid paid parking.

Train it or bus it

Catch a train or bus into the city. Parking is exorbitant.

Time yourself

Time your absence from the parking spot to avoid a fine. Set a phone alarm.

School drop-offs and pick-ups

Never ever park in the no-stopping zone near a school.  Council cars frequent these areas and write up fines on the spot. Also be careful in the drop-and-go and 10 minute zones. They watch these too.

Parts

Source wreckers

Source parts at a wrecker and get professionals to install them.

Get parts cheaper

Investigate getting hold of parts yourself wholesale online if its cheaper.

Align them

Get tyres aligned and save money in the long run on car maintenance.

Pump them up

Make sure you check tyre pressure regularly for good on-road efficiency.

Buy parts online here

Visit www.autoparts.com.au for parts online.

Check car tyres

Ask your local tyre company about fuel-efficient tyres. Consider getting some.

Cheap car parts

Buy a bomb the same as your car and use for parts.

Air filter

Change and check your air filter.

Petrol

Pay at the pump

Pay at the petrol pump and avoid spending inside. This is also great, if you have kids. You can fill up at the pump without dragging them inside where they can nag you for expensive petrol station goodies.

Fill up alone

Do not take the kids when filling up your car. They will come into the petrol station with you and beg you for all those petrol goodies. Plan your petrol fill ups.

Beware cards

Beware supermarket litre discounts. They get back the money in grocery hikes!

Fill up log book

Become a more frugal driver and try to stretch out fill ups. Keep a calendar and log the last time you filled up to keep checks on your progress.

Beware fill up times

Beware! Petrol stations often change the cheapest day for petrol. Keep tabs on prices over a few weeks and watch if the patterns stay the same or not. Use websites and listen to media reports on the latest practices.

Lighten your foot

Try not opt accelerate quickly.

Live online

Spend a month seeing how much you can achieve online. You will be shocked at the fuel savings.

Tuesday petrol

Buy petrol on Tuesday or a day earlier in the week rather than at the weekend. Beware of stations changing the cheap day around to fool you. Check prices near you every day for a week or even put it in your logbook. Definitely be careful not to buy petrol just before a long weekend or public holiday.

Convert your car

Consider converting your car to gas for big savings on petrol.

Petrol cards

Investigate the cheapest and best cards. Do not get one if your research returns poor results.

Cheap gas prices

Check out websites offering gas prices near you.

For a lighter car

Fill up your car at a quarter of a tank to conserve the fuel pump.

Summer petrol savings trick

In summer buy petrol in the morning

Credit card rewards

If you have a card use it to grab rewards. However, do not use a card if you have to pay more for the petrol to do so. At the end of the day, nothing is really free.

Go a different way

Take a slightly longer around-the-way route to save waiting in traffic. This practice is cheaper than stopping and starting your car.

Use good petrol

Use the right petrol. Premium petrol gives better performance and hence can be cheaper in the long run.

Winter petrol savings trick

In winter only fill your tank to half full.

Check gadget reviews

Petrol saving gadgets are a bit of a farce. Check out reviews of them.

Petrol trick

Do not buy petrol on weekends. It is much more expensive.

Check the back of dockets

If you get vouchers with your shopping use them!

Only fill up half the tank

Try only filling your tank to halfway. Fuel is heavy! It costs you more to carry it around.

Re-evaluate each year

With rising petrol costs it is well worth re-evaluating the type of car you drive and for what purpose.

Even if it is cheaper

When gas is cheaper still drive conservatively.

Share your petrol finds

Send your petrol finds to networks near you to help them save money!

Find cheap petrol

Visit www.motormouth.com.au for where the cheapest petrol is.

Share with friends

Ask a mate for a lift. Share petrol costs.

Do your research

Research the most fuel-efficient cars the next time you buy a car or consider selling your current gas guzzler if this works out to be worth it for you.

Go diesel

Check out diesel cars for economy.

Job hunting trick

When applying for jobs go for jobs with cars included. Huge benefit!

Work out employment costs

Generally work out the full cost of going to work, including travel in your car. I recently turned down a great paying job opting to continue working from home after working out all the hidden costs and what I would really make per week by leaving home. It really pays to work out all your costs on a spread sheet and to weigh up the pros and cons of venturing out to work. Have you considered working from home? Starting a business? Suss out your options for a nice balanced life.

Make your car lighter

Remove heavy items from the car if you are not using them. For example, remove a heavy pram from the back of your car when you are not using it. Consider switching to a light stroller for daily use.

Negotiate with your boss

Negotiate four longer days instead of five shorter ones with your boss. Save on petrol and the general costs of travelling to work and back.

Work by bike

There are many more people riding bikes now to save money and get fit so why not give it a go. Consider cycling to work and reap the health and savings benefits. Then you will know that you did not spend your first hour at work paying for you to get there!

Negotiate again

Try negotiating working from home one or two days.

Do you really need it?

Avoid using the roof rack or lose it altogether.

Save on parking

Carpools also save money on parking

Carpool

Get more life out of your vehicle.

Start a carpool group

Network on Facebook or sites like meetup.com to find a carpool group near you.

Selling a car

Great website

Try out www.carsales.com.au when buying or selling a car.

Take a great photo

When selling drive your car to a great location to photograph it.

Polish trick when selling

Cut and polish your car before selling it. This is well worth the money in the big picture of the sale.