Whether it’s a car, a motorcycle or a scooter, nothing beats the freedom of owning your first vehicle...
But before you rush to pick up the keys, it's important to consider the cost of buying and maintaining your vehicle, or it could turn into a serious drain on your finances!
To avoid disappointment, check out our simple guidelines.
Whether you're planning to buy your vehicle outright or borrow money to cover the initial cost, it's important to stay within your means. We might like to own the flashiest car on the market, but for your first time on the road, something a little more modest might be more realistic.
If you're using financing options to spread the cost of your initial purchase, make sure you'll be able to meet the monthly repayments. Otherwise you could find that your expenses very quickly mount up and turn into unmanageable debts.
The initial cost of buying your car or bike is only half of the story. You'll also need to balance the convenience of driving against the ongoing expense of keeping it on the road. This includes fuel, insurance, road tax, MOT, repairs, servicing and more. These costs can really mount up, so don't underestimate them!
Even if you have a clear idea of the vehicle you want to buy, you might be able to get a better deal by comparing dealerships, or buying second hand instead of going for a brand new model.
Be realistic about what you really need from your car. Could something smaller or more energy efficient do the job equally well? If so, you could save a lot of money - not just in the buying phase but also through long-term running costs.
Make sure you also check out some reviews of the model you're looking at. It may look great on the outside, but feedback from real customers can often highlight issues you might not have thought about.
Once you've chosen the vehicle you want, make sure you check it out in person before you commit to the sale. Contact the dealer to arrange a visit, and remember to bring your licence along with you. Ask for a test drive so you can check that everything works properly and get a sense for how it feels behind the wheel.
If you're buying second-hand, make sure you ask about any potential problems and ask for proof that the car has been properly serviced. There are lots of online guides about what to look for when buying a new car or bike, so be sure to check them out.
Many dealerships offer financing options to help you to spread the cost of buying your vehicle. Before accepting your first offer, compare their interest and repayment rates - it might actually be cheaper to use a credit card or take out a small personal loan.
Once you've found the right car for you, you'll need to make sure you have insurance in place to protect against the costs of any unexpected breakdowns or accidents. This is a legal requirement, so don't neglect to do it or you could end up in serious trouble. Check out our motor insurance products for more information and details on how to get a personal quote.