Considering learning how to drive? Chances are, it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done. It gives you so much freedom and independence, it’s great for your social life and can even improve your job prospects. However, the costs won’t have escaped your attention, and it’s fair to say that learning to drive is expensive. The best thing to do is to see it as an investment in yourself, a skill that will serve you well throughout life and all in all something that’s so worth being able to do. Saving up some money ahead of time, and being aware of what you’ll need to spend can be helpful- so here’s what it will cost- from the beginning.
Your provisional license
You can’t book driving lessons or get out onto the road until you have a provisional license. It costs £34 if you do it online, and if you already have a passport it’s relatively hassle free. You can use the digital photo and signature from your passport so you don’t have to send any in or fill in forms through the post. If you do need to make a postal application, it costs a little more at £43, plus the cost of your passport photos.
You can start your practical lessons without taking your driving theory test, and can actually take it any time you like as long as it’s been passed before you do your practical test. But getting it out of the way early makes sense and you can then just focus on your driving. A theory test costs £23, but you’ll need to budget for any resits you might need if you fail. You’ll also need to buy revision material to study since you won’t find all of the questions online for free. The DVSA theory test kit including the DVD rom with multiple choice questions and hazard perception practice costs around £20. But you can often find it cheaper second hand on eBay. There are apps you can buy too, just make sure you’re purchasing an official one which contains all of the material.
The cost of driving lessons will depend on lots of things. Whereabouts you live in the country will affect the price, and your own skill level and how quickly you pick things up will determine how many you need. As a rough guide, the DSA suggests 40 hours of practice with an instructor plus 10 hours of private practice, but this can vary wildly. Make sure you budget for your lessons, and ask your instructor about savings for booking in blocks of five or ten.
A driving test costs £62 on a weekday, or £75 on evenings, weekends or bank holidays. You will more than likely need to pay a driving lesson on top of this cost since you’ll be using your instructors car for the hour. Don’t forget to budget for any re-takes you might need, the vast majority of people fail first time.
Buying a car and running costs
Finally, the cost of the car once you’ve passed will be a big expense, it’s worth putting a little money away for this each week when you’re learning to drive. Hopefully you’ll then have enough to buy outright, or at least put down a decent deposit if you’re planning on getting finance. Used car companies like Ron Skinner often have good deals that are perfect for first time drivers. Insurance is a huge thing for new drivers, so make sure to run quotes before purchasing your car so you know you can afford it. Once you have the car, you’ll need to budget for road tax, fuel, breakdown cover and any repairs and maintenance.
This can seem like a lot, but once you’ve passed your test and purchased the car, it does get easier from there. The insurance will go down each year, and the costs become more manageable. Despite the expense, it’s so worth doing.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.