If you're a teenaged driver (or the parent of one) it can be an extremely frustrating proposition. The cost of learning to drive alone can be a daunting prospect for a young driver with a limited budget. Then there's the cost of testing and, eventually buying a car of your own. Not to mention the king's ransom that younger drivers can expect to pay for insurance. While we have some tips here that will save you money on buying a car, this can be the first of the myriad expenses faced by young drivers. And if you don't learn to box clever and be proactive when it comes to savings, you could find yourself paying way over the odds to keep yourself on the road.
The unfortunate truth is that driving can be prohibitive to younger and less experienced drivers. But while it may be a little harder to make meaningful savings, that certainly doesn't make it impossible. Perhaps you're a student driver desperately trying to make your motoring match your limited budget. Or maybe you're a parent who wants to keep their teenaged son or daughter on the road but not at the expense of your income and savings. In either case, a little diligence can go a long way.
Here are some great money-saving tips that will help young drivers to get the freedom and independence they need and deserve for less
Be wary of the false economy when choosing a driving instructor
When you're first learning to drive, the right instructor can make all the difference. If you're on a limited budget, you may be tempted to opt for the instructor with the most affordable hourly rate. However, this may prove a false economy. There are many qualities that you should look for in a driving instructor, but one of them is a proven track record of getting students to pass the first time. The bigger names like BSM or RED may charge a slightly higher hourly rate than other drivers in your area, but they have very exacting hiring and training standards for their instructors. As such, you may be likely to pass faster and pass the first time which could save you way more in the long run than you'd save with a cheaper but less proven instructor. And don't forget to flash your NUS / TOTUM card to get discounted lessons.
Be prepared to go out of your way to get cheaper fuel
When you first get behind the wheel, you may be surprised at just how quickly you burn through fuel. Yet, while you can reduce the amount of fuel you consume by changing your driving style (more on that later), you can also save yourself a considerable amount by being smart about where you fill up. You'll likely have a petrol station or supermarket near you where you can fill up. But you may be paying for the convenience of being able to fill up near you. Driving just a little further out of your way to fill up may well save you way more than you spend in fuel to get there.
As with most things, there are apps to help you to find the cheapest fuel near you. Petrol Prices is a free app that compares prices in real-time from almost 8500 stations covering 98% of the UK.
Stop wasting good money on premium fuels
Speaking of fuel, if you drive a petrol car you'll likely be given a choice of regular or premium-grade fuel when you fill-up. These more expensive fuels are marketed as helping you to get better performance and economy from your engine. But the truth is that you'll only get any gains if you're driving a performance vehicle. Which you almost certainly aren't if you're a young driver. Even for these vehicles, the gains are likely to be pretty marginal. So, save your money and buy the regular stuff.
Saving money on insurance? Who says it can't be done
One of the most common complaints shared by new and young drivers is the truly eye-watering cost of car insurance. The good news for those who are just starting on their driving journey is that insurance premiums have come down in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. fewer cars on the road mean fewer claims which mean savings for you.
Still, there are lots of other ways in which you may be able to save money. There are actually insurance providers that specialise in young driver insurance. These providers may be able to get you a better rate than you might be able to get from the better-known providers. You can also save a great deal after you've passed your test by doing a Pass Plus course. This will demonstrate to insurers that you represent less of a risk and may, therefore, be able to get a cheaper premium. You may also be able to save money by installing aftermarket security measures like an immobiliser, or by adding a telematics device that allows the insurer to monitor your driving.
Keep a close eye on your tyres
Going out of your way to finding cheaper petrol or diesel isn't the only way you can save money on fuel. You can also ensure that you use less fuel by ensuring that your car isn't overloaded with possessions and by keeping a close eye on your tyres. First of all, you should keep checking that your fuel pressures are correct in line with your manufacturer's guidelines. Under inflating by as little as 15psi can increase your fuel usage by around 6%. And that quickly adds up. Likewise, excessive wear on your tyres means lost traction and less energy (and therefore fuel) efficiency.
Take the lead out of your foot (especially when starting up)
Finally, finding your vehicle's biting point is one of the most fundamental skills a driver at the start of their motoring journey can learn. However, don't make the mistake of pouring on the gas and revving your engine when starting up your car. Do this every time you get behind the wheel and you might as well be throwing your money out the window. Taking the lead out of your foot will inevitably result in fuel savings that quickly add up as the months go by.