Many young people are desperate to learn how to drive, but what they forget is that owning a car is an expensive luxury. The costs of car ownership go way beyond filling the tank with fuel, and unless they budget for the additional expenses they’ll face, they could end up struggling to pay for their new car.
If you are thinking of buying a car once you pass your driving test, here are some of the main expenses to budget for.
The Cost of Buying a Car
Cars are expensive unless you don’t aspire to anything better than a pile of junk. It is possible to find cheaper cars for less than £1,000, but be aware that cheaper cars usually need more maintenance and are more likely to break down within 12 months. Paying more for a car might seem like an unnecessary expense, but newer cars with a lower mileage are more fuel efficient and reliable.
Decide whether you want to pay cash or take out some kind of finance arrangement. Make sure you understand how the finance deal works before you sign anything. Some low-deposit finance deals are cheap because there is a large balloon payment at the end of the term. The best type of finance deal is an interest-free one, but they often need a large deposit and monthly repayments are typically higher.
Have a budget in mind before buying a car and don’t let a dealer persuade you to spend more than you can comfortably afford.
Budget for Annual Costs
There are some costs of car ownership that you can’t ignore. Road tax is applicable to most cars. Only vehicles registered before 1981 are exempt, along with some EVs that produce zero exhaust emissions. How much road tax you pay for your car will depend on its emissions. Cars with bigger engines and diesel vehicles fall into a higher road tax category.
All vehicles must be insured for use on public roads. Shop around for the cheapest insurance, as costs vary significantly according to how old you are, the type of car you have, where you live, etc. New drivers can reduce the cost of insurance by agreeing to have a black box fitted, but this has some disadvantages.
An MOT is another compulsory expense of car ownership. It is illegal to drive a car without a valid MOT. Don’t assume you can get away without one, as ANPR cameras automatically check vehicles against national databases, so you will be caught. Check when your car’s MOT is due and book it in for an MOT Birmingham before it runs out.
Have some money set aside to cover maintenance costs, such as new tyres, brake pads, and other things that will inevitably need replacing over time. The older the car, the more likely it is that you’ll need to replace parts as they wear out.
This covers the main expenses you need to budget for before you buy your first car. Set aside some money each month for unexpected bills and you won’t be caught out.