Frugal Friday | Motoring
When I had the last MOT (annual safety test) done on my car, the mechanic advised I have the cam belt changed. I had that done this week and it needed a new water pump too. I also had the cigar lighter wired up so it’s on all the time. I intend to plug a solar panel in there to charge the battery in daylight hours. The bill for all that was £240; ouch! It is worth it though to keep it well maintained and the mechanic says it’s in excellent condition. It pays to use a small local garage that you trust and have a relationship with. They collect my car and do the work and return it the same day and so I get excellent service.
I set the milometer on zero last week when we went out taking photographs and checked the fuel consumption. I used 4 litres and we did 30 miles and so the consumption is around 7.5 miles per litre (33 miles per gallon) so that was reasonable. I was driving in 5th gear much of the time on dual carriageways but I did drive down some narrow roads and down a country lane. I only hit heavy traffic twice when consumption would have gone up and there was no heavy braking, which again increases consumption. I could do better and probably get between 8 and 10 miles on a litre of petrol. Your style of driving greatly affects how much petrol you use. I do everything like acceleration and braking; gently. I could be even more gentle and save even more; drive frugally and save money!
The day after paying for my cam belt to be changed, the bill came for motor insurance. I also have another policy with the same company and the two together comes to over £500. If I pay monthly it’s over 11% extra, another £55 on top. I have had a letter from another company inviting me to phone for a quote and I will do that, although I am unlikely to get a like for like quote. I can use that quote as a bargaining chip when I phone the company I am currently with, though. I will also give them an opportunity (or excuse) to vary the policy. I have a named driver they can take off and I’ll ask for the mileage I am allowed to be increased. I will also tell them the quote is too much and advise them that I may have to cancel one policy. This will hopefully get me a lower premium. I don’t want to change companies because I like the cover I have now. I have extras like legal cover which I can probably get with another company but some things they don’t do. If the second quote is considerably lower then I will consider changing company. I can afford to pay the premium but if I couldn’t I wouldn’t go for the pay monthly option. I would spread the cost a little by putting it on my credit card and paying close to the premium date. By a spooky coincidence a bond I have will pay me interest in a month, it would have been before my premium was due; but you know what banks are like. It took me weeks to buy the bond, transferring money slowly and then having to ‘identify’ myself. My debit card wasn’t sufficient identification for the Halifax!
If you’re buying a financial product or any other product for that matter it pays to be a little critical of what you read and what you’re told; I covered this in yesterday’s Thrifty Thursday blog. You can also comment on this blog and tick the box to subscribe to the blog or comment replies. I shall be investing next month and so that should inspire some interesting money blogs. In the meantime, there are lots of blog links on my Home Page.