Tackle One Big Spend – Cutting the Cost of Running A Car
A car is a BIG Big Spend. We spent over two grand last year just on tax, insurance, breakdown cover, repairs, MOT and petrol for the Tartanmobile. That’s before you even consider the actual purchase price if we had to replace it.
I shop around each year for cheap insurance and breakdown cover, use a reliable local garage instead of an accredited dealership to cut repair costs, pay the year’s tax in full so I get a discount, and use this site from time to time to find the cheapest petrol station. And if I didn’t entirely trust the garage we use not to take us to the cleaners, I would also take Martin Lewis’s advice and use a council MOT test centre. I even have a bank account just for car costs and pay into it monthly by direct debit. Yay for me. What I don’t ever do is think about routine maintenance. Instead I treat my car as though it is watched over by the Motoring Pixies who sprinkle magic dust over it nightly and ensure it will run on diesel and neglect forever.
Routine car maintenance will reduce costly repairs, prolong the life of the car (so we don’t have to pay for a new one) and increase its resale value. Ignoring routine car jobs is NOT THRIFTY. So something has to change. I have scoured the internet this week for advice on taking regular care of my own car like a proper grown up and they all gave the same embarrassing piece of guidance: everything you need to know is right there in your car manual. The answer was in my glove box all along. And if I ever actually cleaned my glove box, I might have found it before now.
So I have read my manual, and Auto Repair And Maintenance For Dummies and condensed it all into a set of monthly to-do lists. Like this… My plan is to hang it up in the kitchen and tick tasks off as I do them. It will niggle at me each time I pass but, as time goes on, it will also encourage me as I see how many tasks I have ticked. And even if I don’t manage them all, it will still be more than I did in the previous twelve months.