South Africans are known to be a resilient nation, and these last few months have proven this once again. Many of us are struggling to make ends meet and are looking for ways to cut back expenses and save money.
“Stats SA recently reported that the unemployment rate has risen 1% during the first quarter of this year to 30.1%, compared to the last quarter of 2019. Analysts predict that this number could increase to as much as 50% due to jobs being cut, working hours shortened and businesses closing as a result of COVID-19. The likelihood is that sadly most families are going to have to find even more ways of cutting back on monthly expenses,” says David Roache, Managing Director of dotsure.co.za.
Knowing your financial situation is always important but has now become vital. Monthly budgets and assessing where you can and can’t cut back will help. “An idea is to create separate budgets or line items for different grouped expenses. This will allow you to evaluate costs relating to these different spending areas and how you can perhaps cut costs. One of your sections should be for your car, as this is one area where you can potentially save money and avoid any future, unexpected costs,” offers Roache.
Dotsure provides consumers with the below tips to help cut back on car related expenses:
- Petrol prices are unpredictable at the best of times and now more than ever we need to be prepared for unexpected increases. If you are using your car during the lockdown, this is one expense that you will still need to endure. If your car takes diesel remember to shop around as the price of diesel can differ dramatically from petrol station to petrol station. If you know there is a fuel increase planned, fill up your tank before it comes into effect. Don’t do any unnecessary driving and if you need to be on the road, try and plan your trips during non-peak times. This will reduce stopping and starting, making it a shorter trip and ultimately using less petrol.
- Motor insurance is still a must. Cancelling your insurance can potentially cost you a lot more should an accident occur. Look around for ways to save on your insurance. Dotsure’s Name Your Price™ (NYP) car insurance enables drivers to save money by choosing certain cover limitations on their policy depending on their needs and lifestyle. Many of us may not need or want certain elements insured, such as windscreen cover, night-time driving, monthly mileage, weekend driving, hail cover and an open driver option. These can be removed from your policy if you don’t need them and therefore will bring the monthly premium down. There is also a 50% discount on your first full month’s premium. “Insurance is not meant to be a grudge purchase; it is there to save you money should the worst happen,” explains Roache.
- If you are not able to work from home during lockdown and need to go to the office, create a carpool group. This will minimise the number of trips you will have to use your car for, decrease the amount of times you will need to fill up on petrol and reduce any further wear and tear to your vehicle. Just remember to adhere to all COVID regulations, such as wearing a mask and sanitising while in a car with others.
- Remember to change your car’s oil every 5,000kms. Oil lubricates the engine and absorbs heat, reducing overheating, and allowing for all the parts to work together. Changing the oil regularly will extend the life of your car’s engine saving you money in the long run.
- Tyres can potentially cost you a money when you least expect it. Check the tyre pressure regularly – having underinflated tyres uses more petrol, resulting in otherwise avoidable money wastage. Also, rotating and balancing tyres once a year will help to stop the tread from reducing too soon, decrease the wear and tear to your shock absorbers and limit any potential damage to your suspension system.
- Drive responsibly. Speeding does not only waste petrol but can also result in a speeding ticket. To avoid any surprise spending, stick to the speed limit, and follow the rules of the road.
“Owning a vehicle is costly, with monthly car repayments, upkeep, petrol and insurance,” says Roache, “but there are ways to better manage and limit these expenses.”