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    Cost-effective tips for buying a car

    When it comes to major life purchases, there are few more exciting than a new car. Whether you’ve just passed your test and you’re searching for that first set of wheels or you’re a true petrolhead who’s seeking the latest addition to your collection, that feeling of anticipation never goes away.

    And it seems there are plenty who agree. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveals there were more than 1.3 million new car registrations by the end of October 2020. Of course, that figure does not take into account any second-hand vehicles that may have changed hands. Meanwhile, the overall number is down more than 30% on the same stage last year – a discrepancy that can be attributed largely to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown.

    There’s no denying that buying a new car represents a major financial commitment, but there are ways you can mitigate that cost and perhaps save yourself some significant sums of money.

    Shop around

    As with any large purchase, it often pays to weigh up all your options, rather than plump for the first model you see. There are many different ways to buy a car – privately, through a dealership, online or at an auction – and you need to work out which is going to offer you the best deal. It may also be worth widening your search in a geographical sense, as there may be greater value to be found in neighbouring towns or cities.

    Buy second hand

    This may not be desirable for everyone and it might seem an obvious point. After all, a used Audi A3, for example, is going to be thousands cheaper than a brand-new model that’s just rolled off the production line. But there is great value in buying second hand because new cars tend to see their value depreciate rapidly and you could soon find that your wheels are worth a fraction of what they were when you first made the purchase.

    Think green

    Beyond the initial price, you also need to think about the bigger picture and the other running costs associated with owning a car. When it comes to fuel, for example, you might want a model that tops the efficiency charts. That way, you’ll get more miles for your money when you fill up and it’ll be better for the environment too.

    Consider insurance

    There’s no denying that for younger drivers, insurance premiums are often higher because they’re deemed a greater risk. But there are steps you can take to try and reduce the price of your cover. Choosing a less powerful car, taking extra driving certificates, adding a black box and including other named drivers can all assist you in securing a slightly cheaper policy and ensuring the whole car-buying process is more cost-effective.

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