2013 sees the 50th birthday of some people who, you may be surprised to learn, are half a century old – Hollywood film stars Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt have both had 50 candles on their cakes this year. Meanwhile, home-grown personalities such as George Michael and James May also celebrated their 50-not-out.
Being 50+ is no longer considered the gateway to old age, but rather a tenuous transition into what’s termed ‘middle aged’. Advances in medicine, nutrition and substantially improved living conditions mean that we’re in our prime and can start to look forward to and take advantage of what’s on offer.
Maximising a budget for the over 50s is something that should be taken very seriously. As motoring is one of the largest contributing factors to monthly expenditure, we take a look at how to cut driving costs.
Drive More Efficiently
Saving money on fuel is a major factor in driving the cost of motoring down. Fuel prices have risen hugely over the last few years so anything we can do to save money must be worth considering. Simple things like accelerating more smoothly, keeping revs under 3,000rpm, selecting the correct gear, keeping braking smooth and natural and planning for the road ahead can all save on driving expenditure. Also consider:
• Offloading any excess weight to enhance fuel economy – carry only what’s essential to lighten your vehicle.
• Keeping your tyres correctly inflated – under-inflation leads to more ‘drag’ on the car and can increase fuel consumption by as much as 3%.
• Removing a roof rack means less wind-resistance and can save up to 2% on fuel – if you need a roof rack to transport items, make sure you take it off when you’ve finished.
• Filling up sensibly – a full tank will add extra weight, thereby adding to your costs – try only half or two thirds full and make extra savings.
• Use supermarket fuel vouchers – often they will cut up to 5p off the price of a litre of petrol or diesel.
• Use the Internet to compare petrol station prices around the country and find out where’s the cheapest place to buy it in your area.
Make The Most Of Your Experience
Drivers over 50 can benefit enormously from their driving experience by taking advantage of reduced insurance costs. Insurance premiums are based on perceived risk and, as those over 50 statistically have fewer accidents and make fewer claims than younger people, the average cost of premiums is lower. There are many companies who claim to offer low cost insurance, but this can be a false economy. Look for a company who is happy to give you extensive motor insurance information and answer any tricky questions you may have.
Rent Out Your Drive
Finally, to make some extra cash, why not think about renting out your driveway? If you live near a rail station, an airport or somewhere where parking spaces are at a premium, you can make up to £200 extra per month by simply allowing a commuter to park on your drive during the day. Search the internet for details of schemes in your area.