Owning a car in Singapore is costly – the most expensive in the world even. There has been estimations and assumptions that you'd need to be earning at least $7,500 a month to be able to afford a car in Singapore. That might not necessarily be true. There are ways to lower the costs of owning a car.
Even though car ownership comes with high costs, having your own set of wheels provides undeniable conveniences, such as having mobile storage and zero-waiting time during peak hours when you are in a rush. Not to mention, if your lifestyle requires you to be on-the-go all the time, like if you are in a sales role or are a family with kids or elderly parents, you would appreciate this convenience even more.
After making your decision to own a car, here are some tips you can adopt to reduce the costs of car ownership.
1. Go second-hand
One of the easier ways of owning a car for less in Singapore is to look at the used-car market, with second-hand cars costing up to 70% less than a brand new car. Although you might require slightly more car-savvy knowledge to assess the value and condition of the car in comparison to its asking price, the huge amount of savings does make for a very attractive alternative. That said, even if you have purchased a second-hand car, there are still many unavoidable costs where many are recurring in nature. More information will be covered below.
2. Pay for car loan and season parking with your credit card
Use your credit card and pay for your car loan and/or season parking. The cashback earned can help to offset your spendings. In an ideal world, you would be able to make all payments through your credit cards to maximise your rewards earned, such as miles, cashback and points. However, these costs are normally only payable through bank transfers or cheques, with credit card companies typically excluding such payments from earning rewards.
You may, however, opt to pay for your car loan or season parking through CardUp’s online platform. On CardUp, you get to make existing payments using your credit card, even if cards are not accepted. This allows you to earn credit card rewards on payments that you already have to make. Combine this with a credit card that earns you optimal rewards, and you could be earning over 18,400 miles in a year with a $1,000 monthly payment, or earning cashback to offset your monthly payments!
Want to find out if you can generate any cashbacks on your car payments with your credit cards? Try calculating it here.
3. Carpool to save on car-related expenses
Being a carpool driver everyday, can save you a fair bit of cash. Social carpooling application GrabHitch is a popular option. It does not require carpool drivers to own a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) nor commercial insurance. Carpooling even allows you to meet new friends while earning cash.
With a limit of 2 carpool trips each day that you would already be making to and from work, the average earnings of $8 to $12 each ride adds up to a nice sum of $600 a month to cover your car-related costs!
Furthermore, driving GrabHitch also qualifies you to their newly-launched loyalty program Hitch Club. You could get even more savings with exclusive discounts off petrol, auto insurance, car servicing and more!
Note: Carpooling also does good in many other ways — reducing carbon footprints, encouraging car-lite societies, as well as saving on petrol costs.
4. Compare car loans
There are many different financing options in the market to help ease the strain of this sizeable purchase. Be sure to check out comparison sites such as BankBazaar or Value Champion, where they have compiled comprehensive information all in one place — such as each bank’s and finance company’s car loan eligibility, interest rates and documentation needs. While low interest rates are an important factor,, make sure that you also pay attention to the other factors that may change the cost of your loans — the repayment period, principal costs, and ultimately, choosing the loan most suitable for your financial position.
5. Compare car insurance
Car insurance is a mandatory cost that makes up on average about 10% of your total car costs over the 10 years of car ownership. With many insurance options in the market, how much each car owner pays depends on many factors, such as the coverage you seek, the type of car you own, as well as your driving history. Luckily for consumers, there are many comparison sites such as iMoney that will help you look for the most suitable insurance policy, and providing a clearer look of the different packages and premiums at a glance.
6. Use the best petrol credit cards
Petrol costs are unavoidable when owning a car, so you might as well get additional savings on them. Start with identifying the petrol company you’ll frequent the most such as the stations nearest your home or workplace so you don’t have to make detours to fuel up. Based on the petrol company(s) you’ve selected, choose the petrol credit card that gives you the best discounts. With many credit cards vying for the title of the ‘Best petrol credit card’ it can be confusing — comparison sites such as MoneySmart make it easier to identify the card most suitable for you. With the right card, you enjoy instant discounts on top of other discounts such as loyalty cards or station discounts, just be sure you take note of card terms such as minimum spending requirements to enjoy the discounts.
Here are many ways you can reduce the costs of owning a car in Singapore that makes it more manageable. In addition, it’s always good to keep an eye out for ongoing promotions or collaborations between some of these services, which can net you even greater savings!