I remember when I turned 17 and couldn’t wait to learn to drive and get behind the wheel of a car! I was very much into cars at that age (I suppose I still am now – to an extent) and as an eager beaver teen who had worked hard in my weekend/After school job at the Chippy to save up £250 to be able to buy a Vauxhall Nova, I couldn’t wait to start driving it. I loved this milestone in my life and being a car owner felt mint.
I believe that diving is such an important skill and even now as a mum with 3 nutty kids in tow, I am so incredibly grateful to be able to drive and have a car. I expect that every parent will want to encourage their child to learn to drive one day, as it can provide them with so much more confidence, independence and freedom. Although for many of us this seems like such a far off concept, I know that some of my readers are in this stage of life, and either way, it is important to be aware of how much it is likely to cost and some ideas of how to cut those costs where possible.
As driving is an expense that most parents will need to plan for in advance. Here are the main areas that you will need to think about when it is time for your child to learn how to drive.
I am proud to say that I paid for all of my driving lessons myself. There was this one man that gave a student discount which many of us jumped at. We only paid £10/hour and whilst he yelled at us all at some stage, it created good banter in the common room at school!
Lessons are, of course, a crucial part of the experience and you will probably want to find a high-quality instructor that your child feels safe and happy with (and that doesn’t feel justified in yelling at them because he’s only getting a tenner). The real amount spent on lessons will depend on how quickly they take to driving, but they say the average is around 20 lessons with the cost usually being around £24 per hour. Shop around and look for package deals or student discounts – some will give one or 2 free when you buy them in bulk!
Its evident by my first car only costing £250 that I was destined to be a thrifty living lass! However these days (and im feeling old now) this price is probably unrealistic. Having your own car cuts down on the costs of driving lessons if you can practice with a parent outside of them. You may want them to have their own vehicle to practice with, or when they pass, so that they can use it as they please. This is, of course, is likely to be the biggest expense (especially if you purchase this as a present). It is always best to purchase a small, less powerful vehicle in the used car market from somewhere like FOW as this will be so much cheaper to buy, run and insure.
I would also suggest them saving a chunk towards it and contributing the petrol costs – this helps them learn the value of money and appreciation for things.
Speaking of insurance, this is a huge and ongoing cost and particularly for young drivers who are deemed “higher risk”. You can get deals and if they are paying for it, can have it spread over the year. But the average cost is around £1,422 per year. The key is most definitely to shop around to find the best deal, to purchase a vehicle that will be cheaper to insure or by adding an older, more experienced driver as a named driver (they cannot be the main policyholder).
I see cars as a bit of a black hole – sucking your finances! Whilst I love them and have always been grateful to have one, they do require a lot to run. Aside from fuel and road tax, there are MOT’s and general maintenance to keep it safe and smooth. How much this costs though will depend on the type of vehicle and how often they use it, but these costs can quickly add up as we have discovered!
With all if this in the mix and once their instructor believes that they are ready, they will then be able to take the theory and practical driving tests. These will cost £141 even if a learner passes both on their first attempt (which hopefully they will!) it is still a cost to consider. But you know – many pass 3rd time too!!!!!
As you can clearly see, learning to drive is an enormous expense and unfortunately this is starting to deter many teenagers. Some parents will be in a position to pay for their child, but it could always be something that both parent and child pay for together as it is such an important life skill and I think as a parent, it can be helpful to encourage them to get a job and start saving towards this too. Also it is helpful to plan for this in advance so that you can set money aside and not be caught off guard when they turn 17! But finding deals with instructors, purchasing a quality used-car and finding affordable insurance all go towards reducing the costs involved in getting your teens on the road!
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