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Owning a car offers convenience and freedom, but it also comes with its fair share of expenses. From record-high petrol prices and maintenance to insurance and pesky unexpected repairs, the cost of car ownership can quickly add up.

However, with some careful budgeting and smart financial management, you can navigate these expenses while staying on track with your important financial goals – and you don’t necessarily have to start taking the bus! 

Let's explore some practical tips for managing car expenses within your budget.

Establish a car budget

Before diving into the nitty gritty of specific expenses, it's essential to establish a dedicated budget for your car-related costs. Consider all the different aspects of car ownership, including your loan or lease payments, vehicle registration, insurance premiums, fuel costs, and maintenance and repair expenses.

By allocating a portion of your weekly, fortnightly or monthly income to these things, you can ensure that you're adequately prepared to cover them. That means you’ll be able to avoid putting any extra strain on your other everyday finances.

Why not keep your car budget separate from your other money, with a dedicated bank account? You can open multiple & Transaction accounts with us, give them nicknames so you know what is what, and ensure you don’t spend your car funds on your grocery shop.

Track your motoring expenses

Keep a close eye on your car-related expenses by tracking them regularly. You can make this an easy task by using a dedicated budgeting tool, like our mymo app.

By monitoring how much you're spending on petrol, maintenance, repairs, and other car-related costs each month, you’ll be able to identify any areas where you may be overspending.  Looking at all your car costs in one place will help you assess your transportation needs and allow you to make necessary adjustments to ensure your stay within your budget.

Minimise fuel costs

Fuel expenses can quickly eat into your budget, especially if you have a long commute or frequently drive long distances. Add to that the high petrol prices currently being experienced in Australia and Perth’s fuel cycle and you could soon be out of pocket.

To minimise fuel costs, there are few things you could do. First up, get friendly with the Fuel Watch website. Wherever you are in the state, you can see the current petrol price at your nearest fuel station and what it will be tomorrow, so you can avoid ‘fill-up regret‘ and save some dollars. Top tip! 7-Eleven app users can avoid price rises by locking in the best local fuel price for a week.

The major supermarkets of Australia offer reward discounts at fuel stations across the country. If you’re a Flybuys or Everyday Rewards member, you can access cheaper petrol thanks to your weekly grocery shop.

Other things to consider include carpooling with family members or colleagues, using public transport more often, or investing in a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Ideally, you should be practicing fuel-efficient driving habits every time you’re behind the wheel too. That means gentle acceleration, maintaining a steady speed, and avoiding excessive idling.

If you’re interested in upgrading your car to enjoy the long-term savings that greater fuel efficiency offers, check out our car loan. It could help you finance the change.

Be prepared for maintenance and repairs

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your car running smoothly and preventing costly repairs down the track. Ensure you budget for routine maintenance tasks like oil changes, bulb replacements, and car washes, as well as any unexpected repairs that could arise.

It’s recommended that your car should be serviced thoroughly by a mechanic every 10,000km (or six months). By keeping an eye on your car’s distance gauge and keep on top of servicing, you can limit the chance of having to deal with costly unexpected issues that need to be fixed.

Choose your insurance wisely

Insurance is a significant ongoing expense for any car owner, so you should obtain multiple quotes before purchasing. Make sure you also compare the different policies side by side (by reading the PDS documents in detail) so you find the best coverage for your needs, at the most competitive price.

We have three levels of motor cover for you to choose from, and you’re able to nominate specific named drivers to help keep the cost down. When taking out car insurance through P&N Bank, you also have the option to pay for your policy in instalments, instead of one lump sum.

Plan for depreciation

Remember that the value of a car decreases over time, so you’ll need to make sure you factor depreciation into your budgeting calculations. Consider the long-term costs of ownership, including the potential resale or trade-in value when you’re budgeting for a new car purchase. By choosing a reliable vehicle with a good resale value you can help mitigate the impact of the vehicle’s depreciation on your finances.


Managing car expenses within your budget requires some careful planning, tracking and prioritisation of your financial resources, but it can be done! By establishing a dedicated car budget, tracking your expenses, minimizing costs where possible, and regularly evaluating your transportation needs, you can navigate the expenses of car ownership while staying on the road to your financial goals.

Banking and Credit products issued by Police & Nurses Limited (P&N Bank) ABN 69 087 651 876 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 240701. Any advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Read the relevant T&Cs, before downloading the app or acquiring any product, in considering and deciding whether it is right for you. The Target Market Determinations (TMDs) are available.