Our roads are congested, our air polluted but there’s no sign yet that we’ll be doing without cars anytime soon.  It’s a fact of life that if you don’t have a driving licence, your employment prospects are going to be limited.  Ideally you want to be leaving university with a first-class degree and a driving licence, but how on earth are you going to afford it?  There’s no getting away from the fact that you’re looking at upwards of £1,000 in expenses, but there are things you can do to keep costs as low as possible.

Choose your driving instructor carefully

Read online reviews and get personal recommendations.  On average, passing your test takes 45 hours of lessons so your choice of instructor is crucial.  Does the instructor give you their full attention or are they on the phone organising lessons?  Do they get you to pick up the next student as part of your lesson?  Do you feel that your instructor is really doing everything they can to help you pass first time?  You may feel that you can get away with fewer lessons by getting some practice with a friend or parent.  Although this seems like a good idea, it can be a mixed blessing.  It’s a different car to get used to and you’re not with a qualified instructor.  You may pick up bad driving habits which could cost you the test or you may find the experience so stressful that it actually makes you less confident behind the wheel.  So, it’s probably best to stick with an expert.  Shop around for free or introductory lessons and if you block book lessons in advance you could save up to 15%.  Consider whether you’d make best progress by having two-hour lessons.  You might even consider an intensive course which prepares you for the test in one or two weeks.

Pass your tests first time

Easier said than done you might think, but really there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pass your theory test first time if you prepare properly.  Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the theory test, and don’t assume that because you’re studying astro-physics you’ll pass without preparation.  You need a bit of luck to pass the practical test first time, but don’t waste money by putting yourself in for it before you are ready.  If you book your test for a week day before 4.30pm you’ll get it slightly cheaper.

You don’t have to buy the Highway Code

You can find the Highway Code and practice tests online, and if you stick a note up at uni you’re almost certain to find someone who’ll let you have their old copy.

Register your provisional licence online

If you get your licence by post it’ll cost you £43 but if you get it online it’s a mere £34.

Shop around for insurance

Being a learner driver means you’re not going to have the cheapest insurance, this is because you lack the experience which shows you can be safe on roads. Even so, you shouldn’t just go with the first insurance policy you find, compare insurance deals in order to find the best and cheapest one for your situation.