Buying, running and maintaining a car isn't cheap. However, there are some tried and tested ways of minimising spending on your first car.
Fuel-efficient driving techniques
These 5 techniques can help reduce your fuel consumption and CO2 emissions:
- Accelerate gently.
- Drive at a steady speed.
- Turn off your rear window heater, demister fan and headlights if you don't need them.
- Slow early for traffic lights or when approaching a queue.
- Try opening your windows at low speeds and save your air-con for high-speed driving.
Careful driving can save you hundreds of pounds every year and help protect your car against wear and tear.
Finding cheap petrol
Finding affordable places to park
A bit of planning ahead can work wonders, especially if you're using our app. Just set the filters for the type of parking you want to see, and we'll show you all the prices and times for places nearby.
If you're looking to find cheap parking without your phone, try parking outside of the city centre. Many cities operate a Park and Ride scheme where a bus takes you into town from a nearby car park.
Car maintenance and servicing
You might think you can save some money by skipping regular servicing, but that's a big mistake. Keeping your car properly maintained can help you avoid the possibility of a much bigger problem (and much larger cost) later on.
You can carry out some basic car checks yourself, which could minimise visits to your local garage. But when the time does come for some service or repair work, shop around for the best deal using the AA Garage Guide. Plus, read our tips on getting the best from your garage.
Depreciation and the cost of your car
Depreciation is the difference between what you paid for your car and what it's worth when you decide to sell it. New cars are especially susceptible to depreciation - they lose value as soon as you drive them off the forecourt. And by the end of the first year, a new car will have lost around 40% of its value.
This should be an incentive to take good care of your vehicle. Making sure your car is well looked after will reduce its rate of depreciation and extend its life - ultimately giving you the best value for your money.
In terms of saving money overall, a secondhand car is the best choice. You'll pay less upfront, and when it comes time to sell it, you'll avoid the depreciation of a brand new car.
Breakdown cover for new drivers
Even if you do keep on top of your car's maintenance, the unexpected can happen. Thinking ahead and signing up for a reliable breakdown service could help you avoid the greater expense of paying for a local garage to rescue you.