The cost-of-living crisis continues to make crashing waves across the nation. While food, fuel, and energy prices rapidly increase, wages barely budge, putting many Brits in sticky situations both professionally and personally. The stressful idea of falling into debt is becoming even more realistic.
When it comes to car ownership, more and more people are unwilling or unable to make purchases because they’re weighed down by economic anxiety. It’s not just buying the actual car they must think about, but also the nitty-gritty that comes with owning one.
Jonathan Such, Head of Sales at First Response Finance, said: “Times are tough, there’s no denying that. With many families having to make a choice between heating and eating this winter, a car isn’t at the top of their priority list.
“Owning a car is expensive, especially in this current climate, but public transportation costs aren’t too kind right now either. When we have no choice but to get from A to B, what are our options?”
Here, First Response Finance explains the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on car ownership and how you could try to reduce worries.
In the UK, the average cost of a used car is £17,418, depending mainly on the size, make, and model. Naturally, this is a lot of money to spend in one hit, and most people are merely coping with their income at present.
Getting a car on finance is one way to bypass such a scary initial cost, because doing so means you can spread the cost of your car over an agreed time period instead of paying the full amount right there on the spot. In this situation, you should look for a car finance company that doesn’t charge you any additional fees; we really do need to look after the pennies in these harsh times.
Once the contracts have been signed, and the car is in your possession, next comes arranging the necessary insurance cover. Typically, this will be an ongoing cost you must consider when sorting your monthly outgoings.
The average cost of car insurance in the UK was £419 a year in the second quarter of 2022, and Confused.com reports that the cost of car insurance went up by six per cent from July 2021 to July 2022. For many Brits, wages aren’t stretching far enough for the bills they already must account for, so how can you make room for yet another one?
Some tips and tricks have been around long before the nation was plunged into a financial crisis, and now more than ever, motorists should pay attention and act on them. Shopping around, improving your car’s security, and being mindful of insurance add-ons are just three simple ways you can save money during the cost-of-living crisis.
In a similar way to food and energy, the price of fuel has been hit hard by inflation. In March 2022, the price of petrol reached a record high at an average cost of £1.55 per litre. Many Brits use their cars to get to and from work, supermarkets, and to run general errands, so fuel is a necessity that cannot be ignored even in these trying times.
Unfortunately, while there’s little you can do about the cost of your petrol or diesel, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most mileage for your money – literally. Check your tyre pressures regularly, plan your trips in advance so you can avoid traffic (stopping and starting is a nightmare for fuel consumption), and get rid of any unnecessary weight from the boot of your car.
A car can break down for several reasons. While this outcome is never convenient, it’s even more stressful during a cost-of-living crisis as motorists are forced to find money to pay for repairs from an already overstretched budget. As one example, a flat or faulty battery is the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns in the UK, of which the average cost to repair is £169.70.
The most obvious way to reduce the need for repairs is to take extra care of your car. When it comes to keeping the battery healthy, make sure you’re driving your car at least once a week, or use a trickle charger to keep the battery topped up when you know you won’t be driving it for a long period of time.
To keep other areas of your car in tip-top condition for as long as possible, you should top up fluids regularly, carry out routine checks, and change your filters often. Although these steps may sound insignificant on their own, together, they can help you avoid a huge repair bill during a time when every pound and penny is precious.
A little care and consideration go a long way
Times are undoubtedly difficult right now, but you might not need to give up on your vehicular dream just yet. A little care and consideration will help you get the most out of your vehicle, which in turn should prevent any unnecessary additional costs. Look at the available finance options, shop around when it comes to insurance, and take steps to ensure you get the most out of your fuel and car components.