Learning to drive is something everyone looks forward to. Finally, a chance to drive your own car and get around more independently. No longer will you have to rely on parents or friends for lifts, and the smelly old bus rides will be a thing of the past. We all approach learning to drive with the same enthusiasm and high expectations. The only thing on our minds is making sure we pass as quickly as possible.
As such, we set on a journey where we learn to drive and spend a few months getting to the finish line. Then, we get our license and are free to drive around as we please. The sheer joy of sitting behind the wheel and being in control is unrivaled. However, there soon comes a time when we realize things aren’t quite as amazing as we might think. Most people hit this point a few months into owning their first car, where they notice things can be very expensive. Everyone tells you how much fun driving can be, and it is, but no one talks about the costs.
Owning a car can be unbelievably expensive, particularly when you take everything into account. Once the initial cost of buying a car is done, there are still plenty of things that nibble away at your finances. Today’s piece is all about these shocking costs, and the strain a car can put on your finances. As a bonus, there will even be some advice on how you can cope with everything, and make car ownership more affordable.
As mentioned, there are many things to take into account when thinking about the costs of owning a car. This section will run through them all, to help you get a clearer perspective on how much car ownership actually costs.
To start things off, you can’t discount the costs of learning to drive. If you want to own a car, then you’re going to have to get your license at some point. I’ve decided to group all of the learning costs into one heading, just to make life easier for you. Firstly, you have the costs of driving lessons which can end up totaling over $1000 before you pass. Then, you have a couple of small fees you have to pay to take your tests. Normally, all the fees total up to around $20 or so, which isn’t too bad. It’s mainly those expensive driving lessons that eat away at your finances.
Of course, one of the biggest expenses will be your car itself. Now, this is a tricky cost to calculate as the car you buy depends on your wants and needs. A lot of new drivers look for a cheap, used, car to get them on the roads for very little money. However, if you’re an older new driver, then you may need something more expensive and something more family orientated. No matter what, a car is going to set you back anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a big investment, and need to be prepared to splash the cash.
Arguably the worst expense has to be paying for fuel. It’s one of the most costly and tiresome things you’ll have to pay for with regards to car ownership. Cars need refueling every couple of weeks or so, which means plenty of money can be leaving your bank account regularly. It’s a particularly tricky issue for people that actually need to drive their car quite a lot, be it to and from work or to and from school. You could easily spend close to $100 dollars a month on gas, and that works out at a whopping $1200 per year. Remember, this is something you will be paying for as long as you drive your car. It’s not just a one off $1200 payment, this is something you could pay every year until the day you decide to stop driving.
Naturally, you also have to pay car insurance to make your vehicle road-legal. Again, it’s hard to calculate the exact costs as it depends on the driver and the car. Typically, young male drivers in fast cars will have to pay the most insurance. Insurance is normally paid once per year in a lump sum on a certain date. In that sense, it’s not something that has to play on your mind throughout the year, like fuel costs. However, it can still be incredibly costly if you’re not careful.
Finally, we have all the little maintenance costs to consider. This includes things like paying to have new tires fitted, paying to check tire pressure, paying to replace windshield washer fluids, paying for oil checks and replacements; the list goes on and on. Plus, think about any repairs you will have to make during your life. I can guarantee your car will need something fixed at some point, and it probably won’t be cheap. Maintenance costs are ongoing and can be very annoying as they slowly eat away at your money.
After seeing all these costs, you may be wondering if you can even afford to own a car. Don’t worry, you can, but only if you consider some of these tips to help:
Buying a car can be made a lot more affordable if you look for alternative finance options rather than just paying the full price there and then. Things like car or installment loans can help you pay for an expensive vehicle without damaging your finances too severely. Then, there are leasing options, finance plans, and even the used car market that make buying a car a lot more affordable.
An easy way to lower the yearly costs of fuel is to be a more economical driver. This means you drive your car in a way that uses up less fuel. Consequently, you’ll need to fill up your tanks less often, meaning you save loads of cash every year. Plus, in theory, driving economically will make you a much safer driver too. You won’t be reckless and keep your foot on the gas pedal, which should prevent you from getting into accidents. Consequently, safer drivers are rewarded with lower insurance costs. Also, the safer you are, the less likely your car is to get damaged and need expensive repairs. So, a simple change in your driving style can help you save loads of money.
To combat the ridiculous costs of professional driving lessons, you should just avoid them altogether. Get your parents or a friend to take you out and help you drive. There are many people that have received their full license after spending no money and learning to drive in a parking lot with their parents. Granted, it might take you longer to pass your test as your lessons will fit around your parents/friends schedule. However, it’s worth waiting longer to save as much as $1000 on lessons.
On that money-saving note, you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article. I hope you’ve gained a lot of valuable information from reading this piece. It’s important to know that owning a car is very expensive, and you should ideally prepare for it before you start learning to drive. However, there’s no reason to be afraid if you follow the tips mentioned and start saving money.