Cutting back on your car expenses: is it time for you to downsize?
Is smaller really better when it comes to the cost of running your car? In this blog you’ll learn how to start thinking more economically about your day-to-day expenses and get to know the 4 most important cost-saving considerations to keep in mind when choosing to downsize your vehicle.
What is downsizing?
Downsizing your car means that you are transitioning from a larger and generally more expensive car to a smaller one. The ultimate goal is to lower your ordinary running costs, service fees and monthly fuel expenses.
People consider switching to a smaller car for a variety of reasons. For some people, it might be a way to ease the financial burden of owning a larger, more expensive car at this time. For others, it might be a case of “empty-nest syndrome” for moms and dads who no longer need to take the kids to school, football practice or swimming lessons and are now no longer willing to finance a car that takes such a huge chunk out of their budget each month.
There are countless ways to save money as a driver, but downsizing to a smaller car might just be the most effective method.
Smaller cars have a great reputation when it comes to keeping costs low. They are lighter on fuel, they have lower running costs and the annual upkeep for fitting tires and maintaining brakes is usually significantly cheaper.
Small cars are also perfect for budget-conscious consumers who are willing to part ways with the bells and whistles (such as seat warmers and leather trims) that are found in larger, more expensive cars. This is a great way to free up some cash to direct towards other day-to-day expenses instead.
4 things to consider before you downsize
At Oneplan, we understand that every cent counts. That’s why we thought we’d share our top 4 essential questions to consider before making this downsizing commitment.
1. How small is too small?
Unfortunately, getting the same boot space in a Volkswagen Polo as an SUV is just not possible. It's inevitable; you'll most likely have to compromise in some way when it comes to space, but it's important to make sure that you choose a smaller car which can still accommodate your day-to-day activities.
Consider carefully what you will need to fit in your new car and what you will be using your new car for. A smaller car just isn't as suitable for things like picking up furniture or heading off on a road trip with your friends for the weekend - but that might not be what you’re looking for right now. Essentially, it all comes down to weighing up the financial benefits of choosing to downsize against the comfort compromises you’ll have to make when taking on a smaller car.
2. Am I thinking economically?
If you're going to make such a big change, your choice of car has to accommodate your budget and save you a significant amount on annual expenses over time - or else it's just not worth your while. Downsizing now could drastically reduce your out-of-pocket costs such as fuel, registration and consumables, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it's a guaranteed cost-saver in the long run.
People want to change their cars because they can’t handle the large bills on their current car. However, it’s easy to overlook that you might be paying thousands of Rands upfront to change your car in order to only save hundreds of Rands on running costs annually. So, it's important to look at the numbers critically. The amount you’ll save on out of-pocket costs has to be greater than the amount that you could lose on the new car's depreciation, or else the trade is simply not worth it.
However, if you are already replacing your car anyway, choosing a smaller car is almost always the most economical option and our advice would be, “Go for it!”.
3. Are you downsizing performance too?
When drivers downsize for cost benefits, they tend to look at the fuel figures and choose engines which give the best fuel efficiency. The problem is that most car owners forget to consider the performance implications that come with this trade-off.
The most economical engines are often the lowest performing engines too, and you might end up getting less than you bargained for. Small cars are known to be slow and struggle more in heavy traffic. Having to work your engine harder just to keep up with traffic could mean that you actually end up using more fuel than the figures you originally calculated.
That’s why, with any purchase, it is really important to carefully consider the consequences of downsizing from a larger car to a smaller one and make sure you find a car that is both cost-effective and has high-quality performance.
4. Is your safety still a priority?
Is bigger really better when it comes to vehicle safety? Many small cars have been accused of being unsafe, and basic physics even dictates that larger vehicles generally have an advantage over small ones when it comes to safety.
Car dealers often hear the question, “Are small cars safe?” from shoppers wanting to downsize to a more compact vehicle. It’s true that smaller vehicles often provide less protection for the driver in crashes, and the fact that they have a lighter mass means that they can't take the brunt of collisions in the way that larger vehicles do.
But, the good news is that small cars are becoming safer than they've ever been. Carmakers are starting to install more airbags and strengthen the roofs of these smaller cars, which gives them the right strength to protect drivers in a crash. Better safety technology has also given drivers automatic emergency braking and collision warning systems which helps to prevent drivers from getting into an accident in the first place.
So don’t write off your car swap just yet. With new developments, drivers can be both cost-wise and safety-conscious at the same time.
Insure your new car
Life is complicated, but your insurance doesn’t have to be. Insure your new car with us today to receive quality customer service and take advantage of a hassle-free claims process. At Oneplan (that’s us) we want to make insurance easy to understand, easy to apply and easy to use for our awesome customers as possible.
Here’s how it works with Oneplan:
At Oneplan, we give you the option to cover your car for as much you want.
We do this by using a sliding scale. Basically, you select the percentage of insurance you can afford and we work out what your monthly premium will be based on this percentage. It’s that simple. For example, if you have chosen 50% cover for your car, then we cover you for 50% of the retail value of your car in the event of a write-off, or 50% of damages in the event of an accident resulting in repairs.
The good news is that by downsizing your car, you’ll also save money on your monthly premiums when choosing the percentage of your new car you want to cover.
What happens if your budget is a little too tight for your current premium this month? At Oneplan, we believe that ensuring your most valuable possessions shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. That’s why you are free to change your cover percentage and monthly premium instantly by adjusting your cover from the palm of your hand using the Oneplan App. You can even adjust your insurance excess instantly. Isn’t that great?
All you have to do is login and use our slider to change the amount of cover you want, and we will bill you according to this exact cost.
Third party liability cover
Did you know that we also offer third party liability cover? That means we’ve got you covered for any damage you cause to someone else’s property, limited to the amount you are insured for. You can just sit back and relax, knowing that we have you covered - no matter what happens.
Any more questions about our highly-rated car insurance? Learn more today about our comprehensive car insurance plans that are tailor-made to accommodate you and your budget.
Pssst: if something doesn’t make sense - just ask us! Feel free to chat to us in the app or on our Whatsapp number 083 794 5452
Yours in comprehensive car insurance,