Save money with Bangernomics
Image © Volkswagen
In case you hadn't noticed, running a car is a costly business. Comprehensive insurance premiums are at their highest levels for a decade, car servicing is both unsatisfactory and expensive, and car values have fallen faster than ever in the last few years.
But it does not have to be this way. There is another way: Bangernomics. Some are calling it a new religion, although far more reckon it's just the commonsense way to go motoring. But what exactly is it and how do you put it into practice?
Read on to find out how to save money by following the 10 laws of Bangernomics...
Bangernomics is green
Image © James Ruppert
According to some eco-fascists, car ownership is irresponsible because of the pollution they cause. However, the Bangernomic approach amounts to recycling because the natural resources and energy used in building a new car is phenomenal.
Prolonging the life of a used car and disposing responsibly of it is very green indeed. Why throw away a car that still works? You wouldn't demolish a house just because you've moved elsewhere. If there is life left in it, sell or give it to someone else. Essentially, you're recycling an entire car - brilliant.
Bangernomics isn't for everyone
Some people must have brand new cars and good luck to them, especially if they can stomach the massive depreciation they will suffer after a few years.
So those poor, image-conscious people who spend most of Sunday with a bucket, sponge and polish will hate trying to make a decade-old car look new. If you simply can't bear to be without the latest registration and model, then Bangernomics is not for you.
Bangernomics is for petrolheads
Image © Mercedes-Benz
No, really. Although the money you save could be spent on lots of other things, such as new kitchens and holidays, you could also buy that classic you always promised yourself, or that hardcore track day sportscar for some downtime fun.
Oh yes, and if you can't afford a new Jag, BMW or Merc, you certainly will be able to stretch to one that's 10 years old.
Bangernomicists don't borrow
Always pay cash and never borrow money to finance the car. This ensures you are spending what you can afford. Imagine if you borrowed money to buy a heap and it stopped working soon afterwards - you would then have that entire easy payment period (be it 12, 24 or 26 months) to regret that decision.
Spending what you can afford concentrates the mind wonderfully, ensuring that you will buy the best possible car you can.
Bangernomicists never drive a complete shed
Image © BMW
Bangers are a lot better than they used to be. Cars built in the last decade are tough, reliable and cheaper than ever. The ideal Bangernomics vehicle will be simple, possibly a little dull, but never down and out. Automotive downshifting has never been less painful or more financially sensible.
So what could you buy for £1,000 or less? Take a look around you. Ford Mondeos that are nice to drive, but cheap to own and fix. Then there are Volkswagen Passats that look very classy and Toyota Corollas that don't, but which won't break down. And If you want to indulge in some automotive snobbery, 90s' Mercedes, BMWs and Audis are very cheap, durable, might be a liability when they go wrong, but they do look very cool.
Bangernomics is all about commonsense
If it goes crash-bang-wallop, looks wonky and the person selling it looks like someone you wouldn't touch with two barge poles lashed together, best not to buy it.
The Bangernomicist looks and listens carefully and is never rushed into making a hasty decision.
Bangernomics means never being fussy
Image © MG
By all means choose a car you really like, but remember it should all be about the bottom line.
Cars can cost less because of the way they look. So don't be fussy about the colour: white, non-metallic greens or browns are always going to be less popular and therefore cheaper. Small dents and damage may actually improve the looks of some cars, but mostly getting het up about cosmetics or a lack of alloys wheels can be utterly pointless.
Avoid too many luxuries that could go expensively wrong, such as electric windows and air conditioning. And if you can afford the higher road fund tax, go for larger engined cars of 1.6 litre and above, which are less stressed than smaller engined cars.
Bangernomicists must always beware of the dog
There's no excuse for buying an unroadworthy heap. Used car values are on the floor and it is perfectly possible to acquire a sound vehicle with a full MOT for less than £1,000.
The car should ideally have had few owners, some recent history such as service bills and not be recorded as an insurance write-off or stolen. Before buying the car it should be MOT'd to guarantee roadworthiness and to discover whether anything needs fixing. If it does and the seller won't compromise, then the Bangernomicist always walks away.
Bangernomics makes life simpler
Image © Audi
The purist Bangernomicist prefers basic models, avoiding catalytic converters (which are expensive to replace) and aiming for mechanically simple motors that they can look after themselves.
Insurance will be the lowest possible cover: just third party fire and theft. The peace of mind of not worrying about a vandal's scratch or car park dent inflicted by a careless driver is very liberating.
Obviously there comes a point when a car is uneconomic to repair, so the Bangernomicist simply buys another. Without worrying about outstanding finance payments or depreciation they sell the old one for spares, or drive it to a salvage yard and start again.
Bangernomics makes you cooler and cleverer
Not only is Bangernomics easy, it is mostly fun. Changing oil, plugs and filters is within all our capabilities, given a Haynes manual from the Oxfam shop.
However, finding a good local mechanic rather than paying through the nose for a franchised dealer charging loads an hour is the key if you don't fancy getting your hands dirty. Meanwhile, the MOT helps to ensure that the car is safe.
Yes, you learn some skills, waste less money and have a new topic of dinner party conversation, because Bangernomics is a way of life.