Apart from your home, your car is likely to be your biggest financial outlay and ongoing expense. But, with a little know-how, there’s a number of things you can do to reduce the pull on your hip pocket.
1. Now’s the best time since the 1970s to buy a new car.
This will prick the ears of small business owners, who can write off thousands on the cost of a vehicle. But, before you get intoxicated with the new car smell, be aware that many of the biggest accidents occur on the showroom floor. Buying a new vehicle for tax reasons doesn’t make much sense when most cars lose 30 per cent in value as soon as you drive off the lot. If you must buy new, go for the cheapest car your ego can afford, ask for the drive-away price and make an offer under that. Also, look at demonstrator models.
2. Head to a car auction
if you’re after a used car and you can save 25 per cent or more off dealer prices. The cars are often repossessed, abandoned, or flood- or storm-damaged, and all can be viewed online before the auction. Most owners sell cars ‘as is’ (minus a statutory warranty) and don’t allow you to test-drive, so take a mechanic mate with you to give the cars a once-over. Before you hand over any money, pick up a REVS Certificate, $14.45, to alert you to debts owing on the car, and a Veda Auto Report, $30, to see if the ride’s been stolen, repaired, or if someone has wound back the odometer.
3.Join a car-share scheme and ditch your second car.
Why? Two cars mean twice the registration, insurance and running costs. Companies like Goget Carshare and Flexicar offer communal cars at an hourly or a daily rate that’s far cheaper than typical car-hire costs. Plus, these cars often have a designated car park, which is very handy in high-traffic areas.