Great Ways To Cut The Cost Of Learning To Drive Hunt

MSE_Martin Posts: 8,273
First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
Money Saving Expert
What's it about?

I think it does what it says on the tin. Learning to drive can put a tremendous burden on the cost of getting on the road for young people. I'd like to tap MoneySavers' wealth of knowledge to cut the cost.

What should you do?

From spending on theory test manuals to shelling out for lessons, if you've a tip on how to lower the cost click reply to let others know.

My Starter

Let me start the discussion off. If you're a Tesco shopper and have a collection of their Clubcard vouchers, then you can use these towards cheap driving lessons.

As I always say, never spend Clubcard vouchers instore, as they're worth four times as much if spent on Tesco Clubcard 'Deals' in the special brochure

So collect £15.50 in Clubcard vouchers and you can exchange them for a 1- hour lesson learner pack including theory books.

Collect £60 in vouchers and you get 6 1-hour lessons, books, a CD-rom, L plates and 2 hours on a simulator.

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • blackmidnight
    blackmidnight Posts: 13,296
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    If you have an NUS card, BSM will give you a discount (i think it's about 10% an hour although the exact price varies in every city). I found that this made them cheaper than the AA or some of the private instructors.
    Booking blocks of lessons also makes it quite a lot cheaper for most companies.
    2008: £783.12 - 2009: £6,401.15 - 2010: £4,230.61 - 2011: £8720 - 2012: £2,041.89
    2013: £134.96
  • pavlovs_dog
    pavlovs_dog Posts: 10,194
    Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    a lot of companies will give student discount if you ask, although not all companies offer it.

    make sure you ring around/email etc to get quotes - the most expensive is not necessarily the best, nor are the cheapest necessarily the worst. that said, it is important to have an instructor who you trust and feel safe with. it also makes a huge difference if you have a good rapport with them - makes it much easier to cope when things dont go as smoothly as planned!!!

    generally, it does work out cheaper to block book lessons, but make sure you work out what the cost per lesson would be after any discount for the block booking - is the offer really as competitive as it seems? take advantage of any special price first lesson offers - whatever you do, dont block book until you know for sure that you and your instructor get on :eek: :D

    resources for the driving theory test are readily available at bargain prices on ebay. (if you are new to ebay, dont forget to register via a cashback site to make the most of your spend). i also got my L plates from there at a fraction of what the shops were charging. it is important to make sure you get the most up-to-date copy of the highway code/test questions, and a cd rom is almost essential to be able to practice the hazard perception questions. (and dont forget you can sell your stuff on again once you have passed).

    if you have friends who are also looking to start learning, recommend your instructor to them - as a bonus, many companies will offer you a few free lessons as an incentive to drum up new custom. (or vice versa, if you know someone who is already learning, see if they recommend their instructor - positive word of mouth is always a good sign :beer: )

    beware instructors who answer phone calls during your lesson, or make student A pick up student B at the end of the lesson, and student B drive student A home. for the amount they charge per hour, you are well within your rights to demand their full attention!

    duration of lessons - each insturctor works differently, but when you first start learning, you really seem to benefit from 2 hour lessons. this is because it takes a while to get into the 'swing' of it all, and with a 1 hour lesson, by the time you have found your feet the lesson is over again, slowing down your progress.

    try to get as much practice on the roads as possible with friends/rellies (remember they have to meet special criteria, ie hold a license themselves for x no of years), as this will eventual make a big difference to your confidence on the road, and in lessons. dont try to rush things - learn to drive, not to pass the test - it is a life long skill, and always a positive addition to a CV for example.

    thinking of joining the armed forces? they will pay for your tuition etc. (although this is probably not the best reason for wanting to join up ;) )

    dont buy the "driving starter set" things that promote the fact that they contain the (free) driving license application form as a benefit. why pay for something that you are entitled to for free?!

    when getting the photos taken for your license application, try to use a digital photo booth (the ones that let you re-take the photo is you dont like it). like passports, the DVLA are very strict about what they will and wont accept. try and get it right first time - those photos arent cheap (and make sure it's a good one - that photo will be on your photocard license for a long time to come :D ).

    on the same theme, dont pay someone to be a countersignatory on your application. the DVLAs rules about who can countersign applications are rather vague, and therefore subject to some interpretation and flexability. there was thread on the topic a while back - i will dig out a link if anyone is interested.

    dont let anyone pressurise you into taking your theory or pratical tests. they are not cheap, and re-sits are a bitter pill to swallow when you know you have already paid through the nose for them once. it is possible to re-arrange them without penalty so long as you give them a certain no of days notice (they will tell you all this when you book), so dont bury your head in the sand. you will feel much better if you know you have a fighting chance of passing the test first time.

    once you have passed, consider doing a pass plus course. for £100 , you get a series (i think 6) of lessons covering more extreme/dangerous driving conditions - night time, motorway, bad weather etc. as well as making you better equipped to deal with all the road can throw at you, it has the added bonus of bringing down your insurance premiums too :money:

    on a final note, some people take to driving like a duck to water. for other people, it takes more time. dont put yourself under the pressure of passing by a certain date, its something you need to take your time over and do properly. i started learning last june, and have had to postpone lessons and tests until this coming june, because i have so much uni work, not to mention paid work, that i dont have time for driving lessons at the mo. choose a sensable time to start (ie, if you are a student, the long summer holiday is ideal).

    apart from that, all that remains to say is good luck (and warn the rest of us when your lessons are so we can stay off the roads :D )
    know thyself
    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
  • bylromarha
    bylromarha Posts: 10,085
    I've been Money Tipped!
    Would appreciate any info people have on weekly intensive driving courses which are cheap, but work!
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • aliwatts
    aliwatts Posts: 651
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker

    Yes me too, I can drive but my husband can't, I can't believe how the prices have risen so I am told. Approx about £20 per lesson. Its very hard to find a good instructor I am also told. My husband has failed twice on different things and now his Theory has ran out, does he have to pay for that again aswell?

    Any clues as to how much a crash course would be?


    :hello: Laugh and smile everyday, it keeps you healthy ! :wave:
    Thanks for everybodies help on here, what a great community !
  • hamid_3
    hamid_3 Posts: 8 Forumite
    im afraid so, after 2 years of passing your theory test you have to pay and pass the theory again.
  • borntoshop
    borntoshop Posts: 2,177
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Anyone know if the Tesco clubcard deal is just for six lessons maximum or can you get more after?
  • Dread
    Dread Posts: 34 Forumite
    Where do I start!

    Cheap driving lessons are a anything else you get what you pay for but there are some routes to reducing the cost or, as importantly, decreasing the time from starting to passing your test.

    I'm an AA driving instructor, an ex Cop and a RoSPA qualified driver and these are some trade secrets to be going on with.

    Rule 1. This is your test, your instructor has a vested interest in you learning slowly so think about it, if you do some homework, reading, theory etc. then you will only be helping yourself.

    Rule 2. The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) require driving instructors to give you a briefing which will last 10 minutes or so at the beginning of your lesson and a de-briefing at the end of your lesson, another 10 minutes so one hour lessons give you 40 minutes of driving. Instructors are not trying to con you by suggesting 2 hour lessons; the DSA and the AA have evidence to prove that you pass your test faster using them.

    Rule 3. Arrange some driving practise with a friend or relative (make sure they are insured) as it takes an average of 40 hours for a learner to pass their test WITH EXTRA TUITION. Rely on an Instructor and it will take 50 or 60 hours (at least).

    Rule 4. Use a 0% interest credit card to book a block of lessons (You listening Martin?) and look out for vouchers for free introductory lessons as well as recommending friends to your (AA) driving instructor for some more free lessons.

    Rule 5. BSM allow their instructors almost no room for individual price negotiation because of their sky high franchise fees. If you go directly to an AA instructor (not via the call centre) or an independent instructor (not another franchisee) you can negotiate a lower rate or perhaps a free lesson as AA instructors pay a £30 fee to the AA for your custom, go direct and you may be successful.

    Rule 6. Pass Plus helps reduce your insurance, the cost of it will probably reflect the cost of your first year’s insurance premium saving, the second year’s insurance saving is then a bonus. Better still, after your Pass Plus go to RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and you will find links for their advanced driving courses. I paid £20 for a years membership and had a course of lessons that cost me NOTHING, ZERO, NADA, ZILCH and I get further discounts from my insurance. Different RoSPA areas may charge differently but this is the foundation of Police driving and WILL keep you alive, furthermore it is not a pass or fail situation, you qualify for Bronze, Silver and Gold, much more sensible. Advanced lessons for nothing, you would have to be mad not to!

    I’m hopefully going to be writing a book on learning to drive shortly, not the dry stuff you get from WH Smiths but stuff like how to use buses to your advantage, how not to be intimidated by other drivers and what road signs and markings really mean.


  • shengen
    shengen Posts: 20 Forumite
    I am surprised to read an ADI saying that there might be 2 meanings to a road sign , if you check the highway code or the yellow book of road signs the meanings are clear and explicit. I agree with some of what he says being an ADI myself yes there is scope for negotiation, on price but pupils do pay for having those new cars every 6 months and all the back room boys wages and advertising. A good private instructor passed on by word of mouth is the strongest VFM route to getting that pink licence. Oh and another book cluttering up the shelves of W H Smith on driving written by an expert we need like a hole in the head. Instructors have a vested interest in you passing 1st time not quickly( my instructor put me in too early), very few people pass quickly but if you learn properly and pass 1st time you will tell everybody.

  • al_yrpal
    al_yrpal Posts: 339 Forumite
    £60 of Tesco Clubcard Vouchers used as a 'Deal' gives you 6 BSM driving lessons supposedly worth £240.
    Survivor of debt, redundancy, endowment scams, share crashes, sky-high inflation, lousy financial advice, and multiple house price booms. Comfortably retired after learning to back my own judgement.
    This is not advice - hopefully it's common sense..
  • gazza1988
    gazza1988 Posts: 46
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ive done a search and i cannot find the link you are talking about pavlovs_dog. i need to send off for my provisional but i dont know anyone who can sign.
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