Learning to drive is an exciting time, giving you the freedom to explore the world in a brand-new way. However, it is also an expensive time, and many new drivers forget to budget for the expenses they will need to cover once their driving lessons come to an end.
To help, we’ve shared an overview of all the costs you need to consider as a future driver – take a look and start saving today!
Paying for Driving Exams
Once your driving lessons are nearly at an end, you will need to book and pay for your driving tests. In the UK, you have to complete a theory test and a practical driving test before you are able to get your licence, and you will need to have your theory completed before you can take your practical test.
A UK theory test costs £23 per sitting, meaning that if you do not pass the first time, you will need to pay the fee and sit the test again. The practical test fee is from £62-£75 and can be booked up to twenty-four weeks in advance.
As with the theory test, if you fail your practical test, you will need to rebook and pay again until you pass.
Buying a New Car
Once you have successfully passed your driving test and have your driver’s licence, you will want to think about purchasing your first car.
There are plenty of choices out there, including second-hand cars that are sold privately, second-hand cars that are sold through dealerships and brand-new cars from dealers all over the country.
Before you agree to buy a car, you will need to think carefully about what you want and need. Getting a powerful, fast car for your first car is not always a great choice financially as you will need to pay more for insurance and petrol.
Picking a smaller car with a 1.2-litre engine may be the ideal step into car ownership as it makes the upkeep cheaper and keeps you safer. Cars will cost anywhere from £3000 for a basic model to £9000 for a quality first-time car.
Arranging Car Insurance
After buying a car, you will then need to think about arranging car insurance to cover you when you drive it.
New drivers in the UK – especially if they’ve only just passed their test and are under 25 – can expect to pay anything up to £2500 to cover themselves from accidents, and this fee will slowly reduce each year as you become more experienced. However, if you do have an accident, your premiums will go up on renewal.
It’s wise to arrange a fully comprehensive cover as this will not only cover third-party claims but also cover damage done to your car and any people that are injured in an accident.
Shop around and get lots of different quotes before agreeing to an insurance plan, as some insurers provide better quotes if you are willing to have a black box installed.
Don’t Forget About Car Tax
You will also need to get car tax for your car before you can start driving it around. Car tax is actually called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), and every driver is liable to pay it unless they are exempted by a specific Government scheme. The money raised from car tax goes to the Government and is held in a central fund that is used to pay for road repairs and other projects.
Some smaller cars that are eco-friendly will qualify for a car tax exemption, and large vehicles that release emissions of more than 255g/km will need to pay nearly £2500.
Before you buy a car, take the time to check the tax rates for it and remember that you can pay for your tax by monthly direct debit if that helps you to budget better.
Scheduling Your MOT
Once you’ve got past all the initial costs associated with starting to drive, you then need to consider how much you will have to spend on keeping your car in good, road-worthy condition. One of the most important aspects of this is arranging an annual MOT for any car that is over three years of age.
An MOT can cost up to £54.85 to perform, but many garages offer discounts when you buy your MOT alongside other products such as servicing. If your car passes, you will be issued with a new MOT, but if not, you will have to pay for the required repairs and have the cat retested before you can take it on the road again.
Filling Your Car with Petrol or Electricity
Another ongoing cost for many car owners is fuel, whether that is petrol, diesel or electricity. The price to fill your car will depend on the power of your engine and the number of miles you can drive per gallon of petrol.
The cost of fuel has soared in recent times, and many petrol and diesel car owners are paying around £60-80 to fill the tank of a small car, a price that only increases with the size of the car you drive.
To lower the cost of filling your car, only drive it when necessary and avoid over-revving the engine as this guzzles fuel.
Keeping Your Car in Good Condition
No matter how new or well-looked after your car is, you will still need to factor in the cost of upkeep if you want it to last as long as possible. Investing in regular servicing helps to keep your car healthy and will allow you to discover small problems before they become bigger ones.
If your car is relatively new, you can arrange a service plan with your local dealership and even include the price of your annual MOT in the monthly plan you agree to.
If you have an older car, you can arrange to have it serviced in a local garage, helping you to keep it ticking over for as long as possible.
Remembering to Budget for Your Car Needs
With so many expenses to consider, you may feel a bit daunted about owning a car. However, the benefits of being able to drive yourself around far outweigh the financial implications.
Remember, budgeting for your car and car care is the best way to keep everything in good working order, saving you from any expensive surprises along the way!