From memorizing the rules of the road to mastering the technical aspects of operating a vehicle, there is lots to learn as a new driver. What’s often not taught, though, is how to manage the extra financial responsibility that comes with earning your license. If you’re a new driver, here are four important financial lessons that will help you save money as you hit the road.
Lesson #1: You might not be able to afford that car after all.
If you’re hoping to buy a new car to go with your new license, you’ll need to be realistic about how much you can actually afford. Sit down and create a budget that takes into account all the costs that come with owning a car: your monthly payment; insurance; gas; maintenance; and potentially parking. Be prepared that it can add up to more than you expected; for the average Canadian, car ownership costs around $9,000 per year. Numbers don’t lie; once you have everything down on paper it will be obvious whether you can afford this big purchase, or if you need to spend some more time saving.
Lesson #2: Although you have to pay for car insurance, there are many ways you can save money.
Different car insurance providers will offer different quotes for the same car, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. Luckily, there are websites that will allow you to compare plans online, making it a relatively painless process. In addition, take advantage of all the available discounts. You could save money by installing winter tires when the temperature drops or completing a driver’s education course. Some insurance companies will even give you a discount for using a device that tracks and reports your driving behaviour, giving you the opportunity to prove you’re a safe driver and pay less.
Lesson #3: The way you drive impacts how much gas you use.
Considering Canadians should expect to pay more for gas this year, it’s important to understand that your driving affects how much fuel your burning. Accelerating quickly, braking hard and speeding all burn more gas than driving at a steading pace – meaning more trips to the pump and more of your hard earned money spent on gas.
Lesson #4: Regular maintenance will save you money in the long run.
Have you ever heard that saying, “prevention is the best medicine”? Well, it’s true for your car too. While you might be tempted to save money by skipping out on regular oil changes or car washes, keeping on top of regular maintenance prevents larger and costlier issues in the long run. If you’re not sure what kind of care your vehicle needs, consult your owner’s manual for your car’s optimal maintenance schedule. Even regular car washes will help prevent scuffs and rust, which can eventually spread and damage vital auto parts – causing an unnecessary expense.
While your top priority as a new driver is being safe and confident behind the wheel, these financial lessons will come in handy when you’re confronted with the costs that come with getting your license. Remember – the more money you save, the more you’ll have to put towards your first car or your first road trip!