Make the most of your car

Drivy car
You can rent your car out when you’re not using it

Cars are expensive to run, but you can make some money back from yours by renting it out.

With the average car costing £1,849 a year to run – and steadily depreciating – many of us are looking for ways to keep our car costs down. The good news is there are ways you can turn your car into a money-spinner.

Firstly, most of us aren’t getting a lot of use out of our cars. Most cars are parked up at home 80% of the time, according to breakdown company RAC. So one way of making more of your car is to rent it out to your neighbours. Peer-to-peer car sharing sites such as Hiyacar, Drivy or Turo allow you to create a listing and rent your car out in return for a share of what you earn.

You could earn up to £800 a month from hiring out your car, according to Drivy. Clearly, how much you make depends on the make of your car and how often you are prepared to rent it out. It must also be insured, taxed and have a valid MOT, and each site has different requirements relating to the age of your car. Note that when your car is hired out, it is covered by a fully comprehensive insurance policy provided by the rental firm.

If you don’t like the idea of strangers driving your car, another – rather unusual – possibility could be to turn it into an advertising billboard, where you get paid to have an advertisement on your car. Register free of charge with Car Quids, and they’ll contact you if there’s an advertiser interested in using your car. You could earn £200 to £300 a month from this.

Finally, an option that won’t make you money, but which can cut down costs is commuter carpooling. Both BlaBlaCar and Car Quids’ carpool option will connect you with people in your local area wanting to travel to the same place.

You upload your journey and the site suggests a price (to cover your fuel costs) and then you can scroll through the people looking for a ride. BlaBlaCar verifies members, who pay through the site, and provides breakdown cover.

As long as you aren’t making a profit from carpooling – other users should just be contributing to your fuel costs – your own car insurance shouldn’t be affected.

Premium Bonds minimum investment cut

The minimum investment for Premium Bonds has been slashed for the first time in 63 years. The government-backed National Savings and Investments (NS&I) will now allow you to start saving with just £25, compared to the old minimum of £100.

NS&I hopes the change will encourage customers of all ages to invest small sums on a regular basis, with regular standing orders for £25 now permitted.

Premium Bonds have long been the nation’s favourite choice for cash savings, with £79m currently invested and 21 million of us holding bonds. That’s despite the fact that you earn absolutely no interest on your money. Instead, your bonds are entered into a draw to win cash prizes of between £25 and £1m each month.

The average investor should win enough prize money to equal a 1.4% return on their investment. However, the risk is that you win nothing at all. With inflation currently at 2.1%, your money will be shrinking in spending terms. If you’d prefer the certainty that your money will grow, Al Rayan Bank has a one-year bond paying 2.17%.