Singapore is no doubt one of the most expensive places in the world to own a car. But for what it’s worth, the convenience you get for having your own transport is incomparable by many measures.
But other than the initial costs of buying your car, there will be ongoing monthly expenses that many new car buyers may not foresee. These include ERP charges, parking fees, fuel costs, maintenance fees and car insurance. While we will not argue that owning your own car is expensive, there are definitely ways to help you reduce the monthly expenses you spend on your ride. Here are 5 ways to help you save at least $100 each month!
1. Make use of credit cards and fuel memberships
Financially-savvy drivers will know that having the right credit card can help you save a substantial amount on your fuel expenses. In Singapore, there are several credit cards and fuel memberships you should use to help you save some 20% off your fuel spending. Do note that some credit cards do require that you meet a minimum spending amount before you get the full rebate, so remember to read the fine prints.
Some of these cards include:
- Citibank Cashback Card – up to 25.18% savings and 8% cashback for Shell
- OCBC Plus! Visa Credit card – up to 18.5% fuel savings + earn 2.4% Smiles savings at Esso
- BOC Zaobao Credit card – up to 30.7% petrol savings for Shell and SPC, including respective membership
- Standard Chartered Visa Infinite card – Up to 25% savings on Platinum 98 at Caltex
Since petrol expenses will be a recurring expense every month, drivers really should consider getting one of the above cards/membership to help you save on the costs. Based on a monthly expense of $120 on petrol, a simple 20% discount will already help you save $24.
2. Practise safe driving
Now, nobody wants to get into an accident on the road. But other than staying safe, do you know that maintaining a safe driving habit can help you save money as well? If you are a new driver, you might not have heard of the no-claim discount, or NCD.
A No Claim Discount (NCD) is a discount on your car insurance premium if you haven’t made any claims on your policy during the current period of insurance. You may still be entitled to a No Claim Discount even if you have made a claim, provided you are not liable for the accident. Each your you maintain a clean driving record your NCD increases by 10%. And if you maintain your clean driving record for 5 years and hold NCD50 for 2 years, you could enjoy NCD60 with DirectAsia, the only car insurer in Singapore to offer a No Claim Discount above 50%.
If you hold a Certificate of Merit (COM) from Singapore Police Force, this will entitle you to an additional ‘Offence Free’ discount on your vehicle insurance premium. So let’s say you pay about $1,500 per year for your car insurance. By having a safe driving record for at least a year, you will already be entitled to a 10% discount the following year, which works out to $150.
Imagine saving up to 70% off your car insurance that cost $1,500 per year – $900 cash savings that equals to $75 per month!
3. Learn to maintain your own car
Regular maintenance of the car is crucial to extending the vehicle life and avoiding huge repair costs down the road. While you might leave the more complicated maintenance and changing of car parts to the experts, you can always learn simple car maintenance skills, such as changing blown headlight bulbs and installing new air filter systems. Also, by washing your own car and cleaning the insides, you can practically save about $10 each time.
If you do need to send your car to the workshops, consider that third party workshops come at a much cheaper rate compared to authorised dealers. The price difference is between 20 to 40%, though you really should consider some of the risks taken if you use a third-party workshop.
4. Refinance your car loan
Much like your mortgage loan, you should look at the possibility of refinancing your car loan in order to reduce the interest rates you are paying. Typically, a car loan from a bank is seen as more transparent compared to those offered by a car-dealership. While the latter may promise lower monthly rates, they might charge higher one-time fees or longer loan terms, which may not make economic sense in the long run.
As such, you should re-look at your current car loan to see if there are refinancing opportunities to lower your monthly loan repayments.
5. Do some research on parking fees
If you drive to work every day and you work in the CBD, you’d understand how expensive it is to get a parking space in the area. Average season parking fees around the CBD are at $340 to $420 per month. Doing a little research may be able to help you save some money, if you are willing to park somewhere cheaper and walk a little.
The office buildings listed above are within 10 to 15 minutes walking distance. Say if you work at Capita Green, would you mind spending 12 minutes walking 900m to your workplace from Twenty Anson and save $78 per month?
Before you regret your car purchase decision after realising how much it cost per month to maintain it, perhaps it’s time to think about whether you are doing your best to reduce the monthly costs as well. Ready to reduce your car insurance price? Find our best quote here!