How much are you spending on transport? If you own a car, how much are the repayments if you have them? How much do you spend on petrol, car insurance, registration, maintenance, roadside assistance, parking and cleaning it? If you don’t own a car, you probably walk, ride a bike or use public transport.
When I moved to Melbourne one car was sold as it was never used. The other car was kept for a little while, however, it was barely used too. Selling both cars was a relief! No more maintenance, driving in rush hour, time trying to find a park or money spent on it. I walk everywhere possible, use the free public transport loop, occasionally use Uber or the paid public transport depending on where I am going and what I am doing.
Do you need your car?
Ask yourself, do you really need your car? It is surprising how easy it is to live in some areas without one (check out how to live without a car). I couldn’t have gone without a car in Canberra unless I was willing to pay a lot in taxis or take 1 to 2 hours to get somewhere that was a 10 to 20 minute drive. Look at your circumstances closely and decide if you really need a car or if it might be cheaper to walk, use a bike and public transport.
If you do need a car, check how much you spend on everything and look at ways to both reduce the cost and make money.
How to save money on transport
1.) Buy petrol on cheap days
If you notice petrol is cheap, top your car up. Get to know the cheaper days in your area so you can fill your car up on those days plus avoid driving until the car is empty because when you have no fuel, you have no choice and will have to go to the nearest petrol station instead of being able to top up your car up when you see it cheap. I have had to pay 10c a litre more at times because of this when I was younger.
2.) Use vouchers
If you get fuel vouchers from your groceries, use them if it will save you money on petrol. You can also earn points for Qantas or Virgin when refuelling. If you join Swagbucks you can do online surveys and other tasks to earn points and convert them to petrol vouchers too. In fact, I often see them on sale in SwagBucks saving you even more money!
3.) Take care of your car
Keep your car clean and well maintained. Ensure you service it regularly, check the tyres are pumped to their optimum amount and check the basics such as oil, water and your battery.
4.) Clean it out
Don’t have more in your car than you need too. Having a lot of extra stuff in there makes it heavier which means it burns more fuel when driving around. With the interior, if you let the dirt, crumbs and other bits and pieces hang around, it damages the upholstery which reduces the resale value later.
5.) Keep your car insured
Make sure you have your car insured. If you cannot be without a car, you cannot afford not to have insurance. I have been in numerous accidents which were not my fault (other drivers pulling into my lane etc) and my ex husband had so many accidents that when I left him (because of abuse, not because he was a bad driver), my insurance premium dropped by over $1,000 simply by no longer having him on the policy!
In one car alone, my ex caused over $10,000 worth of damage to our car with 3 accidents plus a similar amount to another car. We would not have had $20,000 to fix it. Since we had insurance, it was covered.
With accidents that were not my fault, they can be a nightmare to chase and get the payment if you do not have insurance. If you have insurance, you get it sorted through your insurer then they chase the other party for the money. This saves you time, stress and money. Get insured!
6.) Walk or ride
Check if there are free public transport options in your area, get used to walking further or get a bike. All three of these options are cheaper than having a car. When we first moved to Melbourne, we would walk most places if they were within 1km to 2km from our home. Now we often do over 3km without it being an issue. We walk faster than most and use the time to chat as a family or if I’m on my own, I catch up on podcasts and other tasks on my phone.
7.) Use public transport
Where I live there is a free public transport loop, check if there are similar options in your city.
If you are on a pension, you are likely eligible for concession rates for public transport.
If you need to use a taxi, I recommend Uber or seeing if you can get lifts with friends and family. I know many are hesitant to use Uber. Personally, I have had more issues with taxi’s than Uber. If there are issues with a trip, Uber refund me. They have a rating system and if the driver gets bad ratings they get removed from being a driver. You will also know approximately how much it will cost before you book it. Regular rates are way cheaper than taxis, whereas when there is surge pricing it can get more expensive than a taxi, so be careful.
If you want to try it for free, use the code kyliet591ue when you download the app. It depends on the distance, but you’re covered for a bit.
Make Money With Transport
If you have a car, why not make some money with it? The options below can help pay for your petrol or even cover all your transport expenses.
1.) Become an Uber driver
This won’t suit everyone, so you need to weigh it up for yourself. Uber takes their fee plus you need to pay for petrol, wear and tear on your car but it is super flexible and depending on where you live, when it’s busy you can make a decent amount of money.
2.) Have a car wrap
Car wraps aren’t easy to get but if you do happen to be selected, you can make around $50 a week. Check out OpenAds for options.
All sorts of businesses need delivery drivers. You could deliver for UberEats, deliver newspapers, become a Sherpa, deliver pizza or offer to do deliveries on AirTasker and GumTree.
4.) Rent your car out
When you aren’t using your car, you could rent it out through Car Next Door (use this link for $15 off to try it as a user and see what it’s like). People pay for 1 hour or you can rent it per day.
Carpools typically rotate through a few people with each person driving for one week and picking up the others. Another way to do it is they pay you a nominal fee to pick them up and drop them home. Years ago we did this, picking up colleagues on the way and it covered our weekly petrol, plus saved them money.
What ways can you save or make money with your car?
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How we live without a car