How Can I learn to drive on a Student Budget?

So, after your first week at university you have revamped your wardrobe, made some friends, emptied several crates of beer, cider and spirits and possibly lent a little cash out to those poor souls who haven’t received their student loans yet. The problem with testing out how many lectures and hours of sleep you can miss in the first few weeks of higher ‘education’ is forgetting the effect it has on your bank balance.

For most, the novelty of having over £1,000 in their account for the first time tends to over excite. But know this – for every luxury item purchased early in the term during your half-hearted impression of DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street, that’s another bowl of dry pasta at the end of term you’ll be forced to eat.

Instead of feasting and then borderline starving while you see who can avoid calling their parents, why not budget out your money early on?

Think about everything. Food, clothing, stationary, text books, library cards, phone bills, toiletries, alcohol, and most importantly the freedom and independence that comes with learning to drive. One of the downsides of being away at University is being so far from home; the inability to simply pick up and pop home for an evening to be pampered by the parents or indulge in the long needed catch up with friends.

The average new driver will spend around £1,000 on gaining their license, which is why it is crucial to budget, plan, scrimp and save to make sure the funds are there to complete the learning to drive process. Becoming a fully qualified driver is one of life’s ‘right of passages’ much like gaining a degree or buying your first home. It is one of many things that can see us grow and gain the responsibility and freedom that any young adult longs for.

But, when living on such a strict budget, how is learning to drive even possible?

Block book lessons

Most driving instructors and driving schools are aware of the financial plight of students and will create deals and offers which means driving can be affordable. Booking lessons in bulk will dramatically bring down the price per lesson.

Practice makes perfect

If you are a natural driver or someone that is able to practice outside of your lesson time, you will be able to reduce the number of lessons you need, obviously saving in overall costs.  Friends and family members are the perfect resource with this and are able to practically support you through your learning to drive process. There are also some great free online learning resources available to help you on your way to passing your theory test without having to spend a fortune on books.

Use your student discount

Students are notorious for having restricted finances and a distinct lack of funds which is why the student discount is crucial throughout the university years. If you have a discount, then use it. Most driving schools will accept it and although the discount may not seem a large amount it will make a difference in the long run.

Be financially savvy

Don’t just accept the first costing’s laid out to you, instead ring around the local and reputable driving schools and really barter with their prices. It is in the best interest of driving instructors to be competitive; after all they want your business.

Crash course?

For those confident in their driving ability the crash course could be the ideal solution to the considerable costs of learning to drive. The intensive, week long course can cost around £300 – £800 and is not a guaranteed pass, but should you gain your license at the end of the program you could have send hundreds of pounds compared to the more traditional route of learning to drive.

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