Many of us spent our childhoods dreaming of one day owning a car, but today’s economic climate is quite different. With the cost of living hammering UK households, car ownership is an increasingly remote possibility for many people.
We all know the benefits of owning a car. Yet we shouldn’t let the tail wag the dog. As with any expense, you need to consider car ownership in the context of your overall budget and ensure that you keep your finances in order. But to do this properly, you need an accurate idea of what you’re dealing with.
What are the main costs?
Of course, owning a car can eat up your money in many different ways. But here are the main costs you’ll need to consider when weighing up whether you should get a car.
- Purchasing: A new car is one of the most expensive purchases you’re likely to make in your life. In the UK, city cars have an average price of £13,600 – and that’s the cheapest category.
- Finance: For those who don’t buy their cars outright, finance payments are by far the costliest regular expenses that come with having a car.
- Insurance: The next most expensive cost to consider is that of insuring your car. It’s common knowledge that this is most expensive for new drivers and especially those in the 18-25 age group.
- Fuel: You also need to consider the costs of running your vehicle. With petrol and diesel prices currently sky high, this is likely to take up a sizeable chunk of your budget.
- Maintenance: Servicing and MOTs are significant expenses, as well as any repairs that result from them. Some people even go as far as to take on debt to pay for these, with younger owners being the most likely demographic to do so.
Is it worth owning a car?
Well, it’s difficult to give a straight answer. It’s going to depend on your personal situation. For instance, the viability of owning a car is very different if you live in the inner city instead of the suburbs, or if you live on your own or with a family.
Owning a car comes with an array of pros and cons. So, what are they?
- Greater freedom
- Option to take road trips
- Ability to work further away
- Higher cost of living
- Greater exposure to traffic and road rage
- Larger carbon footprint
Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to decide whether the potential benefits outweigh the unavoidable costs.
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© Jen Hopps 2022