Get the cheapest car insurance
It's likely you are currently paying too much. In New Zealand, it not legal to need to be insured, meaning car insurance is optional. But the risk to other people’s property makes it wise to insure yourself, as accidents are usually expensive and involve a lot of hassle without insurance.
There are three types of car insurance:
a. Third-Party - This covers you for damage you cause to another vehicle or property, as well as any passengers. But if you have an accident, your car is not insured, and you will need to pay for repairs yourself. Third-party is best for cheap cars worth very little.
b. Third-Party, Fire and Theft - Like third-party insurance, but also covering fire and theft.
c. Comprehensive - This pretty much covers everything from accidental loss or damage to your car, key and lock replacement, fire damage, theft, damage to someone else's vehicle or property, repairs and personal liability protection (meaning if you injure someone, your insurance will take care of them).
Use a trusted WOF provider for a better chance of passing
A WOF ranges from around $45-$55 for cars. Do not be sucked in by “$20 WOF” offers – there's no money in that for the provider, so it's questionable why it is so cheap.
Simply Google the name of your location and WOF, i.e. 'Albany WOF', and look for good Google reviews.
Make sure your licence hasn't expired
It sounds silly, but you can be fined $400 if your driver's licence has expired. It only costs around $45 to renew for 10 years, so you can add that to your future budget. Check your licence today!
Ignore the $60+ 'fines' from Wilson Parking etc, and pay what you feel is 'fair'
Parking 'fines' from supermarkets or other private carparks are not fines in a legal sense – they are invoices, unlike speeding tickets or council-issued parking fines. You have the right to offer a 'fair' amount. For example, the price of an hour's parking if you were an hour late.
A car is most efficient when it is cruising at a constant speed before slowing down rather than breaking.
Here are our hacks:
- Speed up slowly - The harder you press on the pedal, the more fuel you burn.
- Drive in the highest gear you can for your speed - Lower gears make your car work hard.
- Avoid air conditioning - Air conditioning actually consumes petrol too, so use the windows when you're driving at low speeds.
Challenge your council-issued parking tickets if they are unreasonable
Just because the council issued you a parking fine doesn't mean they don't make mistakes. While the infringements may be $15 to $40, if you don't believe you were at fault or the fine was a mistake, contact the issuer and send an email or letter explaining why.
Fix common fails before you go for your WOF
Lights, suspension and handbrake issues fail a lot of cars during their WOF. An easy DIY is checking your Lights – are they all working? Check every light: front, rear, headlights, dipped, hazard and indicators. If a bulb is out, you can replace them from Repco, etc for less than $10.
Embrace public transport and save big
Public transport networks are improving all around New Zealand
- Local Travel - If you’re over 65, you can have a Super Gold Card to get free off-peak travel on local transport around New Zealand.
- City to City Travel - If you’re going city to city, there are a few options instead of driving, but you’ll need to book early to save the most, like InterCity have trips for as low as $20!
- Or you can keep an eye on cheap flights like Grabaseat - You can fly for as low as $39 between Auckland and Wellington.
Make a decision to stop driving and sell your car
If you’re struggling with the costs of driving, selling your car altogether is worth considering. Or, if your family has two cars, would you be OK with one? If you’re a young family and one parent is commuting by public transport anyway, it’s worth looking into.