How many of us have, at some point, ended up with a car that doubles up as a financial vacuum? It happens all too easily: without a conscious effort to maintain low motoring costs, budgets for cars can be found creeping up at every turn.

The cost of running a car can be unexpectedly high, particularly to those who are new to motoring. Fuel costs, road tax bills, car maintenance, insurance, MOTs… They all add up, often coming when you least expect them. And when you don't expect something, you're likely not prepared.

This is not what anyone wants. But by following these tips, you can keep your expenses to a minimum in the long-term, and avoid wasting your time and resource on unnecessary outgoings.

1. Research your seller

While there isn't a hard-and-fast rule to follow when it comes to the best place to buy your car, we do suggest fully researching the best way to purchase. This will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of car you're looking to buy, the age of car you're searching for, and whether you're buying outright, financing, or part-exchanging your old vehicle.

If you're buying second hand and paying up-front, the cheapest option in the first instance will likely be to buy from an independent seller, rather than a sales garage or dealership. However, with little mid- to long-term protection on independent buys, the savings you lose from not having a warranty or consumer protection may be much greater. It's important to bear the longer term in mind when buying a car, and not be distracted by immediate deals. To help you choose, this guide has further information.

2. Choose the most efficient car

Car Engine (PD)If you discover that your existing car is not as fuel efficient as you would have liked, it is important to review your options quickly and conveniently. One of these more well-known sell your car services, can be found here.

On the same note, going for an upfront cheaper model could also prove more expensive in the long-term. Remember to check your car's reputation for fuel efficiency, and the cost of simple but necessary items such as road tax and replacement parts. Some brands of car are known for being significantly more expensive to repair than others – this is true of cars of all budgets.

Insurance is another killer. Ensuring you find a good deal on your car insurance can be the difference between your car being affordable or not, particularly for new drivers.

3. Don't scrimp on servicing

While a free MOT may seem tempting – after all, it's just a regulation, right? – it won't seem that way when you're stuck with a car that's just failed. Some providers are known for quoting problems that aren't make-or-break for your car, just to make back their bills. If servicing bills seem too good to be true, they often are.

The best way to approach servicing is to find a trusted service agent, who can be relied upon to not change quotes and bills halfway through. Loyalty is valued amongst reputable car agents, so finding one you can trust will more than pay off in the future. Speak to friends and neighbours to see who they can recommend in your local area, or check out Motor Codes for an approved garage.

4. Do maintenance yourself

Little things, like looking after your wipers and getting windscreen chips fixed as soon as possible, all add up to a longer-lasting, better value car, much quicker than you would expect.

Have you got any tips on getting value from your car? Now is the time to share! Let us know.

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