The affordable way to learn to drive

You’ve got your L plates and you’re dying to get behind the wheel. But before you pay for a costly course, have you got the best deal you can?

A single driving lesson usually costs between £20 and £30 and you’ll need a fair few to pass your test. There’s also your provisional license and theory test (not to mention the car and insurance, if you choose to get one) to pay for, so any savings are welcome. Follow these tips to bring the price of learning down…

Buy in bulk

Like supermarket shopping, buying a block of driving lessons up front can save you cash and many driving instructors offer bulk deals. The British School of Motoring sometimes offer discounts on their driving courses. The AA are also offering £40 off 10 driving lessons for new learners. Save money by looking out for bulk deals before you start your lessons.

Hunt for deals

It’s also a good idea to look out for driving lesson vouchers. Check out voucher websites like Hot UK Deals, Wowcher and Groupon for these. Students can also use their NUS cards to get lessons for a bargain. Just ask your driving school if they have any discounts on offer.

Swot up online

There’s so much info available on the web that practising for your theory test can be done on the cheap. The government’s website is a great first stop and offers a free practice test for learner drivers. You can also read the entire Highway Code for free on their site. For further practice, road sign information and quizzes, there’s an Official Highway Code iPhone app available for £3.99. You can also check app stores for other (sometimes free) apps, but make sure they give you the full information you’ll need.

Learner tips

There are other ways to cut learning costs. The more practice you get between driving lessons, the faster you’ll progress and the fewer paid lessons you’ll need. Is there a friend or family member who could help you practice? They just need to be over 21, have the correct licence for that vehicle and have held their own licence for three years. Check you are covered by their insurance if you drive their car. Another helpful tip is to book two-hour driving lessons – you’ll have more time to drive on a wider variety of roads, which will speed up your progression.

Keep insurance costs down

You’ll probably want to buy a car after passing your test, but running costs can be off-putting. Save money on your car insurance by finding the best premium for new drivers on comparison websites like uSwitch and Compare the Market. The AA suggest buying a car in a low insurance group and making the insurer aware of how secure you’ll keep it. If you have access to off-road parking or if you’ll keep your car in a garage overnight – this can lower your insurance costs. Young drivers and learners can also get a black box fitted to their car and pay insurance based on that.

The black box monitors your speed, and when and where you drive. Your insurance company then uses this data to calculate how much you pay. It usually works out cheaper but if you do a lot of driving or drive at night you might not save much at all. Make sure you shop around and check out Money Saving Expert’s tips on black boxes.

You will be on the road to freedom in no time at all.