Tips to frugal driving – For the people who don’t know anything

Frugal and driving? What a classic example of an oxymoron.

If the hefty purchase price and associated stamp duties doesn’t put you off, the never ending extortionate maintenance costs should.  Which by the way does not include insurance for the vehicle or the ever increasing cost of gas.

It would be safe to assume the most obvious solution to counteract this money eating fiend, would be to beat the feet or cycle.  Both require being able to move your legs (as easy as that), have the added bonus of incidental exercise and a chance to experience the day outside of a metal box.

If distance is a factor then there is always using public transport, which in Sydney Australia is a substantial network of trains, buses and ferries.

If I were to give a a good example of what owning a car is like, it would be akin to sharing a house with somebody.  You never know what you are going to get until you live with it.  If I knew then what I know now I might not have resolved to keep that years New Years resolution to learn how to drive.  Ignorance in this example truly is bliss.

Driving has made me lazier, fatter, anxious and nastier (because bad drivers will test the patience of a Saint) as well as a helluva lot poorer.  My word of advice to people who don’t know how to drive.


Still it isn’t as if I am being forced to own a car or drive it for that matter.  And I may be preaching the bad, but there is no accounting for the convenience of owning a vehicle.  The ability to  get up and go whenever one chooses is undoubtedly the best thing about it for me.

This is where Shoogs comes in, my teenage Toyota who’s primary task is to get me from A to B in a reasonable amount of time.

Shoogs though once pristine is never going to be pretty ever again.  For some reason people seem to find her offensive and she’s been attacked a few times.

Aside from having a futon mattress dumped right on top of her (true story), she’s been keyed on one side, her front registration plate points out in a V due to a fight with a mean tow bar, and there is her dented rear bumper having had a couple of run ins with a pole (not my fault) and a concrete balcony (totally my fault).

As you can imagine cosmetically Shoogs is a downright mess which I have never cared to fix because mechanically she is sound.  Cosmetics would only be a factor if I intended to trade her in, but I intend to drive her into the ground.

This isn’t a post however about self maintenance because I have no idea how to do that.  Cars are one thing I have no interest in learning anything about, and all I know is how to put petrol in my car and check the tyres to make sure they are well pumped.  Even changing the dastard things I pay to have done for me.

Everything else requires the small effort of making a phone call to schedule for service. In this instance I choose to spend on Shoogs upkeep and have my own way of trying to keep costs down.


Drive a little car

My little car gets me to the same place a car twenty times it’s value will get to.  It may take a little more time, with a lot less style, but for a far less price.

Drive only when necessary

Having owned Shoogs for nine years buying her used at 38,000 kilometres, I’ve averaged 6,500 kilometres per year. Admittedly being a new driver I was hesitant to start driving on my own in the beginning, now it’s all about reducing how many dollars I gotta dish out.

Also most times I don’t absolutely need to use Shoogs I won’t as simple as that.  I often walk to the grocery store to get my fix of goodies or library to indulge my love of reading and mostly so if people ask I can at least say I didn’t stay in bed all day.

Drive slower

Watch your gas levels when you drive slower and prepare to be enlightened.  Incidentally I read about this on another finance blog and thought I’d give it a go.  I’m filling up less these days!

Buy the best tyres

More expensive but worth the durability and grip in bad weather and overall enhances the performance of my car.

Service regularly

 My aim is to keep Shoogs running in the best shape possible for the longest time.  This requires replacing parts when needed and filling her with all the liquid she needs.

And don’t care about all the dings and scratches

It goes without saying there is no doubt Shoogs steals a good chunk of change in maintenance and upkeep.

My best frugal advice would be to never own a car ever!

In big cities such as Sydney, this is 100% doable by utilising public transport, in small towns maybe it is a necessity but there’s no reason why you can’t find ways to reduce the costs involved.

Hopefully the above helps but feel free to give me more tips & tricks in saving on driving costs.

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