Once your teenager embarks on the rite of passage that is learning to drive, expenses can soon rack up. Driving lessons, insurance, the use of a car to learn and practice in and the costs of the practical and driving theory test and learning materials can amount to a considerable sum that requires substantial withdrawals from the Bank of Mum and Dad.
It might sound daunting but there are ways of saving money while still making sure your teen gets the best chance of passing their test first time.
The importance of driving lessons
Don’t be tempted to sidestep official driving lessons by teaching your teen yourself. A qualified driving instructor knows the latest demands of the practical and driving theory test and can help your teen pass.
What could help is to get your teen used to the basics such as clutch control and changing gear smoothly before you book lessons. This can take place in large areas such as quiet car parks ‘out of hours’ or other similar ‘safe’ open spaces where you can hone the basics without impacting on other road users.
When you do book driving lessons observe the following cost saving measures and choose your instructor wisely:
Reduce number of lessons – if you or a knowledgeable friend can go out with your teen and practice what they’ve learnt between lessons this can reduce the number required.
Cheap studying – plenty of practice for the driving theory test can be undertaken using online resources such as this one – avoiding the need for purchasing expensive study material.
Driving lesson deals – check with a few local driving schools what their prices are and whether they offer package deals. Perhaps they’ll offer some or all of the following:
• Discounts for paying in advance for a block of lessons
• Reductions for booking a series of lessons
• A reduction if you use your own car for the lessons rather than the driving instructor’s
Intensive lessons – If your teen is up to it, then a course of lessons close together might be worth considering to save costs.
Shop around and haggle – it’s likely you’ll be approaching a driving school based on reputation, so cold blooded ‘shopping around’ may be more difficult. What you can do is check prices with local driving schools and see if your preferred choice will match them. If not, you have to decide how important or worth the extra it is to use the recommended driving school.
Experience from friends – if you know someone who has recently passed their test, ask if you could borrow things like their L plates and copy of the Highway Code. Also, get them to talk to your teen about what they find difficult/easy and share any pearls of wisdom they may have picked up along the way.
Reducing the costs
While spending money on learning to drive is pretty much unavoidable, it’s definitely possible to make savings if a bit of effort and planning is made. The cost of learning materials can be virtually eliminated by making use of what is freely available online and by searching out items that can be leant or donated to your teen. Beyond that there are opportunities to chip away at each of the big costs involved by shopping around and working out cheaper alternatives.
With these tips, the Bank of Mum and Dad should be able to avoid a bail out…even if your teen inevitably won’t!