Running a car at uni? Don't let the costs hold you back
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If you are a student looking to buy a car, you are probably going to become rather popular with your colleagues. Unfortunately, as a student, you probably aren't rolling in money and your car is likely to be eating quite a bit of your cash. That's cash that could otherwise be spent on things like going out and enjoying a beer. Oh and books, of course. So how can you save money without ditching the motor? Is your car fit for purpose? The type of car most suited to the student life is likely to be small, with a fuel-efficient engine. Small cars are generally cheaper to insure, usually less attractive to thieves (although there are exceptions to this rule) and cost less to fill with petrol.
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- Go online and research petrol prices in your area. The price differences may well surprise you.
- Ask your friends to chip in and help to pay for petrol. As a student with a car, you are likely to be in a pretty small minority and you are going to get asked for lifts. Probably quite often. It's only fair that your passengers contribute; in fact if they are regular passengers, they should probably be contributing to other running costs as well. Don't become an unpaid taxi driver. Consider who you give lifts to, especially if the people in question are not friends of yours. Being too nice can end up costing you hundreds.
- Lose weight. From your car, obviously. Extra weight in a car increases its rate of fuel consumption. So if you have a bike, sports gear, boxes of books or the kitchen sink in the back of your car, get rid of it all and your bank balance will thank you.
- Change the way you drive. Driving in a more fuel-efficient manner saves money. This means keeping revs down (always drive in the highest gear suitable), maintaining as even a speed as possible and avoiding unnecessary braking. Even turning off the car stereo or air conditioning and keeping your tyre pressures optimal can make a difference over time.
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