Money-saving tips6 min read . Updated: 05 Dec 2012, 12:48 PM IST Follow these simple steps and you could end up saving lakhs.
Do your homework
Before heading out to buy your car, do comprehensive research on what you want. There are some good magazines and websites that offer new car reviews, pricing, and comparisons of different models. The more informed you are the better choice you will make.
Knowing how much a dealer paid for the car takes away one of their biggest edges in negotiating car prices. Go through WhatCar?'s Buyer's Guide before you go to a showroom.
It is easy to get carried away at a dealership with the myriad of options that are available with the car. Do not buy options impulsively as you might not use them later and will end up regretting it. Don't make buying unnecessary options like a roof-mounted DVD player a priority. Think about how you will use the car on regular days and buy accordingly.
More than one Dealer
The price quoted by a dealer might be competitive, but you will never know the best price unless you are ready to do some leg work. Visit as many dealers as you can and compare the prices. Finally, don't buy in a hurry - give yourself some time, look for the best car and most important of all, be flexible.
Haggle like a pro
A good bargain will save you a considerable amount of money. If you have done your homework beforehand, you will be in a better position to negotiate with the dealer and won't have to pay more than you have to. You could also go through forums where people discuss their dealings with different car dealers.
Depreciation plays a major role in reducing your car's value. Take into account the depreciation factor before investing in a new car. You will want to get back as much money as possible when you finally plan to sell the car.
Small car, small bills
A small car will not only cost less, but will also save you a fortune on other expenses like insurance and taxes. It is also considerably cheaper to maintain a small car as the cost of replacing and repairing spare parts is generally much lower in comparison to a bigger car.
In this age of ever-rising fuel prices, it is important you choose a car with a fuel efficient engine. A car with a smaller engine will generally be more fuel efficient and will help you save quite a bit of money in fuel bills.
Buy a model that's about to be replaced
Even though it is not the best idea to buy an outdated model, dealers offer tempting deals in order to clear stocks.
If you plan to keep the car for a long time and resale value is not a priority, you could buy outgoing cars at a much lower price. However, cars are not replaced often, and you have to be quick to get a car before the stocks clear.
Sell the car privately
You will most probably be selling your car before buying a new one. Advertise your car well, price your car realistically, and keep it looking good, as it will create a good impression for the buyer and make your job of selling the car a whole lot easier. Selling your car to a private buyer is also better than selling to a dealer as you will be able to negotiate better and get your desired price.
Be prepared to walk away
A dealer is not your friend, so don't get swayed by his sweet words. Deliver an ultimatum. If you are getting close to a deal, say that you will buy a particular car at a particular price. And finally, don't be afraid to walk away if you can't reach the deal you're looking for. There is always another car and another deal elsewhere.
Running a company car is another great way to save money. An employer will offer different options to choose from, so you may even get to drive a better car. And remember, the employer is getting a tax rebate while you drive it during the lease period. After the lease expires, you also have the option to keep it afterwards at a fraction of the cost. Some companies also offer to pay the fuel bills so you basically spend next to nothing.
It is a good practice to look for insurance schemes from time to time, so you have a better option everytime the premium comes up for renewal. Some companies these days are offering better rates for customers who apply directly from the company's website.
No claim, big money
There is another advantage of driving carefully. If you have driven your car carefully and haven't claimed any insurance by the end of the term, you will be entitled to a 'no claims' bonus. This bonus only gets bigger with every passing term in which you don't make a claim.
Keep your cars shining
This is important if you plan to sell your car after a specific period of time. Washing your car regularly and getting it waxed keeps the paintwork looking as good as new. You can either opt to get it done professionally or wash it by hand, which will be a cheaper option.
Plan your trip before you leave and take the route with the fewest stops and turns, and the least traffic. Keep a list of needs that will require a trip and try to accomplish multiple objectives with each. Avoid hard acceleration and braking and change gears smoothly - you should see a marked improvement in your car's fuel efficiency and money saved.
Check tyre pressure
The softer your tyres are, the greater the friction between the road and the rubber, and the harder your engine will have to work to move the car. Make sure your car's tyres are at the correct pressure as it not only reduces fuel consumption, but the tyres will wear more slowly. If you aren't sure about the car's correct pressure, check the owner's manual for guidance.
Don't skip servicing
Don't skip a scheduled service in a bid to save money. This does more harm than good and can even cause long-term damage. You can also be more hands-on and do some maintenance like cleaning the air filter and save some money.
Once the scheduled free services and warranty on your new car is up, you will find that getting regular services
and repairs at the car showroom is expensive. Look around for dealers and local garages that specialise in your car, and opt for the cheapest one. Once you choose a dealer or garage, it is advisable to stick to it as they will, over time, know your car's history and do a better job of servicing it.
Look for the cheapest petrol pumps
You may be surprised by how much you can save by opting for a cheaper petrol pump. People in Delhi and Noida fill their car's tank at Gurgaon because of the difference in the fuel prices between the cities.
If the daily commute to office is pinching your pocket, and the crowd and uncertainty of public transport is putting you off, then carpooling is the best alternative for you. It not only reduces your commuting costs, but also lets you enjoy the comfort of your car. You could join a carpool, even if you do not have your own car. Web sites such
as www.carpooling.in and www.carpoolsindia.com will help you find or create suitable carpools.