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.
Buying a Car
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 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.
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
Avoid traffic and petrol when driving. Avoid crowds on public transport if you are not driving.
Be prepared to walk away from a deal to get the price you want.
When purchasing check the car isn’t stolen or under ownership by a liquidated company.
Buy an electric scooter
Haste makes waste
Grow patience when buying a car. Haste will waste much of your money.
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.
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?
Extended Warranties: Avoid these extras.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get numerous quotes from reputable mechanics.
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 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 and change water in your car on a weekly basis to keep car performance at a premium. This saves dollars.
Get your car tuned or learn how to tune it yourself.
Prepare your car well to ensure no accidents in Winter, especially if you live where it snows.
Protect your car from bugs by placing flywire over the grill.
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 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.
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.
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.
Drive at a constant speed.
Buy a trolley
Invest in a market trolley and walk to the shops for groceries.
Walking is a win-win-win! Fitness, savings and you are an eco-hero!
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.
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.
Have at least three reasons to drive somewhere.
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?
Organise your trip routes ahead of time to avoid getting lost.
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.
Keep under 60km to save money on petrol.
A good habit
Stuck in traffic jam? Turn off your car.
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 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.
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.
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 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!
Use windows instead of air-conditioning when travelling at slower speeds.
Only use the air-conditioning when travelling at higher speeds on a freeway.
Install cameras in your car to watch the driving habits of your teenager.
Parking and fines
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 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.
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.
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.
Change and check your air filter.
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 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.
Spend a month seeing how much you can achieve online. You will be shocked at the fuel savings.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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.