With the cost of fuel hitting the headlines again this morning, along with warnings about how rising costs are savaging small businesses, we thought it appropriate to include a few tips on how to save reduce costs.
- Is your journey essential?
Most of us would love to do without a car - if we had 48 hours in each day and just a couple of miles to cover in our daily lives - but when you're juggling a business and usually a family as well, it's not practical to do without. But are there any journeys you can cut out, or combine with other tasks?
- Buy a fuel-efficient car
I'm not going down the SUV / Chelsea tractor argument; and in snowy (picking Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh as random examples) or rural areas, an SUV might be considered essential. But if you're using an SUV for short, urban journeys a fuel-efficient car will save a lot of money.
- Share journeys
We can't compete with the USA yet when it comes to dedicated fast lanes for pool cars, but it can work for some. For commuting or long distance travelling, always think if you could share the journey with other people.
- Sharp accelerating and speeding
A car has the greatest fuel efficiency at about 60mph. If you accelerate hard from 60 to 80, there will be a big % increase in fuel consumption. I'm not advocating sticking to 60mph on the motorway, but anything over 80mph will see your fuel levels drop pretty quickly.
- Work from home - and help your staff to work at home too
We're fortunate here at Microsoft to have the technology and the permission to work at home a fair bit. This not only significantly reduces travel costs but goes a long way to increasing loyalty and job satisfaction. The technology is easily available and need not be expensive. At a basic level it could simply be paying for telephone costs and/or broadband costs. Or even having a couple of 'company' smartphones for general use. If you have 5+ PCs you could consider subscribing to Microsoft Online Services - did you know for example, that you subscribe to web conferencing (Office Live Meeting), from £3.02 per user per month? This will not only save you time and travel costs it will also boost your green credentials. You can get a free 30-day trial of a web service too.
- Spot the cheapest petrol stations
The price of petrol varies widely from town to town but we're creatures of habit and generally fill up at the same garage. It's worth noting prices on your journeys to see if you can buy cheaper elsewhere. And always avoid filling up on motorways if you can.
- Maximise car efficiency and reduce weight
Dieting is one option of course, but have you checked what other excess weight you may be carrying? What's in your boot?
Improve aerodynamics by taking off empty roof-racks.
Incorrect tyre pressures won't help your fuel consumption either - make sure your tyres are at the recommended levels.
- Buy online
Depending on delivery charges it may be cheaper to buy groceries /ink cartridges / office stationery online. Some supermarkets have 'free' periods when you don't have to pay delivery. It's worth weighing up delivery charges against the petrol and the time you would spend by getting in the car to go to the supermarket / retail centre.