Family life often comes with part and parcel with a tight budget. Whether that’s making money stretch to feed more mouths or splashing out on emergency school supplies – these things add up. And yet, with 1 in 4 UK adults at financial risk following the pandemic, it’s never been more important for families to stick to budgets.

This is not good news if you’re due a new family vehicle. However, luckily if you’re looking for a car that’ll help you sail through family life, there are some ways to keep the costs down. To help you decide on your next purchase, we’ve put together some top-tips to save money on your next family car.

New vs used?

The age-old debate of new vs used continues. However, unless you are insistent on having a brand-new car, get a used model. Choosing a used car over a new will save you money and is a great way to get the car you want on a budget. New cars depreciate the most over the first few years, so buying a car that’s a couple of years old will help you to save money whilst avoiding the biggest depreciation of the car.

Petrol or electric?

A modern debate when buying a family car is choosing between petrol or electric. Fully electric cars have a lower carbon footprint than petrol, however, they can sometimes be more expensive due to them being newer model cars. Getting a petrol car is less beneficial to the environment due to petrol being derived from fossil fuels, however, they can be cheaper if you buy an older model car.

You could meet halfway and opt for a hybrid car. But what exactly is a hybrid car? Automotive dealers Fords of Winsford define them as “a car that has more than one source of power. It combines a conventional fuel source such as petrol or diesel with an electric motor to power the car. Hybrids have many benefits such as high fuel economy and low CO2 emissions compared to standard petrol and diesel engines.”

How should I finance my new car?

You’ve decided on your chosen car. Now you’ll need to decide how to pay for it.

If you can afford it, buying a car outright will save you money in the long run as there is no interest to pay. However, if you don’t have that amount of cash saved up, then you may need to consider finance options.

Although you may be able to get 0% finance on some cars, usually car financing comes with hefty interest. Therefore, financing a car will allow you to pay in smaller, more affordable instalments, but the trade-off is that it will cost in the long run. In fact, it’s estimated that those who have a car on a finance deal spend an average over £2,000 more per year on their cars than those who don’t.

Where possible, it’s best to buy a cheaper car that you can afford outright to avoid being stung with interest.

Used car variables to bag a bargain

When you’re searching for a used car, there are some sneaky ways you can bring the cost of your new car down. Changing variables such as the below can help you save money.

  • Engine size – If you don’t need as much horsepower with your new car, buying a smaller engine size will be cheaper.
  • Mileage – Buying a car with mid-high mileage will be cheaper. However, high mileage cars will be more likely to need costly repairs, so it could be a false economy!
  • Age of the car> – Buying an older model car (even by a year or two), can save you money on the total cost of the car, which is great if you’re able to buy the car outright.

The bottom line is that if you’re due a car upgrade, the good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to do so. From only buying what you can afford, to purchasing the car outright, you too can save money on your new car. Now all that’s left to do is choose your favorite!