Buying your first car can be daunting, but once you find the right one, it will be a vehicle you remember for a long time.
It takes a lot of time to find the perfect first car, and a lot of research will go into it. You’ll be looking into the overall price, the size of the petrol tank, insurance and many other factors before you commit. The financial aspect will definitely make a difference, so we’ve collected our top tips to help you save money on your first car.
Set a budget
Before you even start looking, it’s worth setting yourself a budget, says The Balance. Once you factor in petrol, tax and insurance, your car will end up costing more than this budget, so bear that in mind. It’s important not to blow your entire budget on the car alone because you’ll need an upfront insurance payment and you’ll need to tax your vehicle. After you’ve determined your budget, look into what car you want to get, and find one at a good price with a low mileage.
Buy an older car
Buying an older car doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get one that is over ten years old. Even after one year, a car’s value decreases substantially. MoneySavingExpert explains how the average new car is usually around £28,500, but after one year, it usually depreciates in value by 27%. Each year the car will decrease in value, so you could still get a fairly new vehicle without forking out too much cash.
Get a black box
One of the best ways to save on your car is to understand how to get cheap car insurance. As a first time driver, car insurance can be costly but a black box device that tracks how you drive could see you earn money back as time goes on. The box monitors how you navigate the roads and gives you a score for how well you drive, the higher the score the better the price of your insurance!
Hunt for a car with a small engine
Smaller engines will save you money in the long run, not only when it comes to insurance, but via both tax and petrol costs too. A smaller engine is more efficient for short journeys, burning a lot less fuel than a large engine. However, if you are planning on doing long journeys, it’s worth getting a car with a bigger engine. A 1.0-litre engine should suffice for those just starting out with their first car.
Don’t buy the first car you see, there will be too much temptation to just get a new car instead of thinking it through. It’s important to get a car that’s going to be beneficial for you in the long run, so a lot of time and research should go into it. When you see a car you like, think about comparing the price with a similar vehicle elsewhere, look into mileage and check when the last MOT and service was. Buying a car is a big commitment, so make sure you don’t just get the first one you see.
Your first car is likely to stay with you for a few years, so make sure you look after it while you’ve got it. When you do decide to get a new one, it’s worth selling it on rather than trading it in, you’ll find the financial benefits are better if you’re going private.