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It’s time to save some money


I HAVE recently found myself in a bit of a thrifty mood. You see, I’ve watched the cost of living slowly creep up to a point where I have decided to implement simple cost-savings into my daily life. As South Africans we love our cars - and in many instances we are forced to - as our public transport infrastructure isn’t developed enough to sustain the majority of us who would use it to get to where we need to be on a daily basis.

That means we spend a disproportionate amount of money on transportation versus things like housing, food and bare necessities. So what can we do to reduce our transport bill? Most of the following will also reduce the number of cars on the road at any given time and therefore reduce traffic. Yes, the fuel price is coming down and that’s great news, but travel costs are still too high for us all at the moment.

 A few of the things I suggest to save fuel consumption include:

  1. Carpooling - It sounds really dreary but teaming up with a few people for work and sharing fuel costs while only using one vehicle has a three-part benefit. You will all save fuel money, the wear and tear of the daily grind is divided amongst your cars as you switch from car to car each week, instead of each person’s car incurring the wear and tear every day and there will be fewer cars on the road and therefore, less traffic.

  1. Two-wheel power - If you live close to the office why not use a bicycle? Or, if you are lazy like me, then perhaps a cheap scooter is a good option. If the scooter is too embarrassing, then maybe a small motorbike. The two-wheel option isn’t the safest thing on our road with lawless taxi drivers and at times, ignorant car users. So, think carefully before exploring this option.

  1. Select a more efficient car - The next time you purchase a large vehicle, ensure that the vehicle you choose is economical. There are a range of downsized petrol and diesel budget cars out there that will get you from point A to point B, frugally.

  1. Be traffic-smart - There are mobile GPS applications that can route you around traffic situations and save you both time and money. For those with more flexible business hours I suggest that you arrange with your management to perhaps come in to work before or after rush hour and to leave before and after the afternoon peak traffic.

  1. Alter your driving style - The way that you drive can affect your transportation costs dramatically. After my recent fuel consumption challenge I learnt to get into my higher gears faster, to keep stopping completely to a minimum, to accelerate down hills to gather momentum and to be gentle on the accelerator pedal and to keep the car at around 110km/h on the highway for optimal consumption.

  2. Ensure that your vehicle is running optimally - Be sure to look after your vehicle and it will look after you. Regular servicing will guarantee that the car runs as well as it should and that it won’t break, which would mean more costs. Make sure that you are using the correct fuel, which is normally stipulated on the inside of the fuel cap. Check your tyre pressure as the correct pressure (normally recommended on the inside of the driver or passenger door) according to the load and you could save up to 10 percent on your fuel bill.

  1. Spend within your means - Don’t buy the car that you cannot afford, rather aspire and work hard to be able to comfortably afford it one day and go for the sensible option now. This will also mean lower insurance costs, which is another thing that one should shop around for to get the best deal.

  1. Financial institution incentives - Various banks offer rewards programmes when you fill up at certain service stations, which you can redeem in the form of free fuel or at various retail outlets.

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Article written by Sean Nurse
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