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Saving money when buying a car

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If you have recently passed your test, buying a car is the first step in a whole new way of life for you. For those of you who have always relied on public transport and others for lifts, the idea of having your own method of transport is exciting and it can be life changing.   You now have the freedom to drive wherever you want, whenever you want.  It can even be money saving when compared to the cost of some modes of transport such as train travel, especially once you are a more experienced driver and your insurance costs come way down.

There are lots of outgoings though when you first buy a car, so it’s important to budget wisely and learn the best way to buy a used car.  It’s also something that can get cheaper over time.  For example, when I first learnt to drive and had a small second hand used car my insurance was a whopping £1000 per year!  Fast forward 15 years and my insurance this year is only £160!  So the costs definitely improve over time once insurers know you are a safe driver.

Buying the car itself can also be expensive business.  There are ways to make the car cheaper though which we will look at below.  We all know that buying a car is a big investment and there are many costs to consider when buying a car such as insurance, breakdown cover and tax. It’s important for us to be able to manage our spending and make the right decision to start our driving career.   This might mean making a more sensible choice when it comes to the actual car itself and what you’re willing to spend.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can save a bit of money when buying a car. 

Saving money when buying a car


When buying your first car there are a lot of things to consider such as the way that you are able to pay for it. As much as you may want a big car as your first, it is often going to be expensive to run and insure, and for a first time driver it may not be a smart choice. Consider a smaller car for the first year or two of driving and you can always make a change later down the line.  There’s no point in wasting money on a huge car if you don’t need all that space.  You’ll literally be throwing money down the drain for space you don’t need or use.  Make a conscious choice to purchase a car that fits your needs rather than being greedy or trying to show off!

Buy privately 

When looking for your new car it’s tempting to head straight for the dealer to find your ideal vehicle. While this can be handy and help you to have peace of mind for the purchase, it is often more expensive because the dealer will need to make a profit margin on any vehicle they sell. This is why looking at AutoTrader and similar sites for private listings can be helpful as often these won’t show inflated prices.  It’s always more pricey to shop at a dealer, but do weigh up the pros and cons.  We have regularly purchased second-hand cars from private sellers on AutoTrader and even eBay; they are much cheaper, but they do come with a risk of not knowing any issues and having nowhere to return them to.  Many dealers will offer a three month warranty on major faults so you are paying more for that piece of mind.

Don't be too picky

It is tempting when you come to buy your first car to be picky on things such as the model, colour, and features. If you have been learning to drive for a while you will likely have thought about your dream car over and over again, but when it comes to buying it might not be realistic. Be sure that when you buy your first car that it is reliable, cheap to run, and reasonable to insure. After that, you can start to be a little pickier with things.  Even just getting through your first year or two of insurance with a run-around will help to save you money on the car cost and insurance costs, then you can look to upgrade once you’ve built up some no claims discounts.

Don’t over accessorise 

Getting your own vehicle is an incredibly exciting time and you may be tempted to get a personalised number plate, tinted windows, and the works right away. However be aware that these small costs do build up and they aren’t really necessary in the present. Just focus on getting used to your car and you’ll be able to save a lot of money.  Ask yourself if you really need that personalised number plate, or is it a luxury you simply can’t afford right now?  Look at your budget and be sensible.

Final word

There are so many different ways to save money when buying a car and these small tips should help you find the best deal possible this year. Go out and enjoy the car hunt and be sure to think about savings all the way.  Being new to car ownership is expensive, but by making sensible conscious choices you can keep the cost low and by being a safe driver, you will reduce your car expenses each year.  Make sure you maintain the actual car too so you can get the best possible price when it's time to sell your car and buy a new one.  Check out the below blog posts for even more tips now you're on your exciting car ownership journey!