Driving on a budget: tips for the student driver

Cars can be very expensive to run and driving costs have continued to rise in recent years with fuel and insurance becoming even more costly. For the student driver, this can be hard to keep up with.

From searching for the best insurance deal to the most inexpensive ways to look after your car, this guide looks at how you can get the most out of your vehicle.

Buy a sensible new car

Buy a sensible new car

When you are looking for a new car from a Ford dealership you should do some research and pick out a model that would be cheapest to insure. Faster cars are generally more expensive to insure than slower vehicles.

This is something that Michael Dinich from the finance site Your Money Geek highly recommends doing.

He said: “The best way for student drivers is to consider a sensible car if possible. Car insurance is costly for new drivers, your driving record will factor into your rates as well as the vehicle you drive. Vehicles like the Ford Fusion consistently rank as one of the least expensive cars for teen drivers to insure and can save you a considerable amount of money each month.

“Selecting a car that is low in miles and that has the latest safety features helps ensure that you qualify for the most amount of insurance policy discounts. As part of shopping for an insurance policy be sure to ask your insurer what discounts they offer and discuss with them the different models of cars you may be considering.”

Search for the best insurance

Search for the best car insurance

Young drivers in the UK are statistically more likely to have an accident and make a claim. As a result, this means that their car insurance can skyrocket and getting cheap insurance can feel impossible.

Fiona Hawkes runs an award-winning personal finance blog called Savvy In Somerset and she shares some tips young drivers can follow when insuring their car.

“When it comes to being a new driver, insuring your car is going to be by far the most expensive part. To ensure you get the best deal, set aside some time to do a really thorough and comprehensive search online. It's worth checking several different comparison websites and then getting further quotes from insurers that only offer policies directly.

“It may be a little bit time consuming, but it could end up saving you thousands over the course of the year, so it is time well spent. Going forward, it's also wise never to auto-renew your car insurance. Around three weeks before your policy is due to expire is generally the cheapest time to purchase - as most websites save your details it should be much quicker second time around!”

Get money back on fuel purchases


Fuel is the dearest part of motoring and you can often feel like you’re filling up your tank every five minutes, but one great way to save some money on fuel is to use a cashback card when purchasing your fuel.

As you are filling up your engine regularly you may as well earn a little bit of money whilst you are doing it. There are lots of cashback cards on offer and whilst they only offer a small return and in some cases for a limited time, it does add up.

With the Morrisons More Card you can earn points per litre of fuel you buy at the supermarket and this can then save you money on fuel or a food shop. There are other cards such as the American Express Platinum Everyday credit card that pays 5% cashback on all spending up to £2,000 for the first three months.

Buy economical tyres

Buy economical tyres

While it might seem natural to buy the cheapest possible tyres, this can be a mistake in the long run as not only do they not perform as well, but more expensive tyres are more economical when it comes to fuel consumption and they do not need to be replaced as regularly as cheaper ones.

Another thing that drivers should be aware of is the EU tyre label as all tyres that are sold are fitted with one. This includes the fuel efficiency rating of the tyre and an ‘A’ rating means the tyre decreases the energy lost through the tyre, while a G rating is the worst performing and can see CO2 emissions and fuel consumption increase.

Research has found that an energy-saving tyre could save the driver around £50 on fuel every year.

Drive smoothly

Drive smoothly

By accelerating smoothly and by avoiding using the throttle too much or too harshly, you can save money on fuel.

Today new Ford cars and models boast engine electronics that regulate the car starting procedure, so you don’t need to use a little gas when starting the car like you always used to have to do.

Ease off the accelerator where possible to lower the amount of fuel you use during a journey. It is recommended that you keep the revs between 1,500 and 2,500rpm (petrol engine) and 1,200 and 2,000rpm (diesel engine).

Something else to consider is that cars are least efficient when they are cold so you should avoid driving quickly straight from start-up as you will just be redoubling the wasted fuel and will be wearing out the engine at the same time.

Claim for pothole damage

Pothole damage

The Potholes.co.uk website says that as many as one in 10 mechanical failures on UK roads are caused by potholes, which costs an estimated £730 million every year.

If a pothole causes damage to your car, you will be able to claim compensation, depending on whether the pothole has been reported as councils cannot be held liable for a defect they are not aware of.

Therefore you should always report a pothole if you see one as the council are likely to repair it as soon as they can.

Wash your car yourself

Wash your car yourself

Virtually every garage now has a car wash and there are hand car wash centres popping up as well. This on the surface seems like a great idea as you can pay just a few pounds and it saves you the effort of doing it yourself.

But if you wash the car yourself you can save yourself a small fortune as even a £5 wash every two weeks can see you having to shell out around £120 a year.

If you are a student driver or are someone just looking to cut down on the cost of running your car you should follow these tips so you can save yourself some money. To recap, here are some recommendations for driving on a budget.

- Buy a sensible new car

- Search for the best insurance

- Get money back on fuel purchases

- Buy economical tyres

- Drive smoothly

- Claim for pothole damage

- Wash your car yourself