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We know that as a social worker, during the average month you could be driving hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your wide range of appointments. Whether you are working in a permanent or locum social work role, we know that any extra mileage can have a significant impact on your fuel costs.

 

 

Earlier this week we gave our top tips for how you can save money when purchasing rail tickets as part of our new series relating to money saving advice and today we will be looking at how you can effectively reduce your driving costs.


Make the most of fuel purchases

With average fuel prices currently at 116.4p/litre for unleaded petrol, we know that one of your biggest business expenditures will be on the petrol forecourt. Whilst we can’t magically reduce your fuel bill, we can offer some suggestions to help you make minor savings.

Unless you have a high performance sports car we would recommend only using standard fuels rather than the more expensive premium options as there is very little difference if you are driving a small hatchback!

If you have a cash back credit card, then use this for all future fuel purchases – regular purchases will add towards your minimum spend limit to be eligible for cash back. Just don’t forget to pay off the purchases in full at the end of the month to avoid hefty interest charges.

Alternatively, if you prefer not to use a credit card but you do use the same petrol station regularly, make sure you sign up to any reward schemes. Nectar points and Tesco ClubCard points can quickly build up through regular fuel purchases and can be exchanged for a wide variety of rewards.


Haggle on prices for insurance/breakdown cover

One of the easiest ways to drive down motoring costs is to compare prices for insurance and breakdown cover renewal quotes. We’ve all benefited from new customer discounts, so if you’re not happy with your renewal quote, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.

Use comparison sites and cashback sites such as Quidco or Topcashback to reduce premiums further

Don’t assume that third party cover is cheaper than fully comprehensive insurance – in some cases the prices can be comparable and offer much better value for money.

Finally, be aware that paying monthly can cost a lot more than paying annually – if you can afford to, always choose an annual payment option to avoid paying heavy interest rates.


Make use of positive driving habits

Employing positive driving habits could help you to drastically reduce your fuel costs as well as making you a better driver! The key to better driving is to drive smoothly – the more you press on your accelerator, the more fuel you are using, so try to improve your road awareness and anticipate when you need to accelerate or brake.

You can also reduce costs by making simple changes to your car maintenance; are your tyres correctly inflated? Are you carrying unnecessary weight such as a roof rack? Less weight = more efficiency. Also try not to over use the air conditioning – it uses a lot of fuel to run, so if you are driving at low speeds simply wind the window down instead.


Is your tax disk up to date?

Although paper tax disks are now a thing of the past, it’s still important for you to remember to pay your car tax as all records are maintained online by the DVLA.

If you are a registered car owner, you will be sent a reminder notice before your tax is due to run out – the cheapest way to pay is annually (either a flat fee, or set up a direct debit). There are options to pay for six months or even a monthly direct debit but these are subject to additional administration fees.

Top tip! When purchasing your tax disk online make sure it’s from a gov.uk page to avoid fake websites which may charge hidden costs.


Avoid large fines by checking your driving licence

Did you know that you must renew your photocard driving licence every ten years? Not only do you need to make sure that your photo is up to date, but you also need to make sure that your address and name is correct, so if you’ve recently changed your name or moved to a new house it’s important that you notify the DVLA. If not, you could be at risk of a £1,000 fine!

It is free of charge to change your name or address on your driving licence, you just need to provide the DVLA with any supporting documents. To update your photo ID, there is a small charge of £14 – more information can be found on the Gov.uk website

Top Tip! To check if your driving licence is still in date, look at section 4b on the front of the card – this is your expiry date.

 

Have you got any top tips for how to save money on motoring costs? Share your suggestions with us using the comments box below or simply tweet us @SanctuarySW

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