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A car provides freedom like nothing else; there’s no better feeling that being able to step into your own vehicle, grab a map and simply drive until your petrol tank runs dry, going wherever the wind takes you.

However, there are many bridges you have to cross before being able to enjoy this freedom, including the ever daunting and highly anticipated time of learning and passing your driving test. Upon saying goodbye to the green of your provisional licence and stepping into ‘adulthood’ you need to start considering what car you are going to buy, and whilst you may have always dreamt of the sporty convertible that you can show off to your friends, realistically you may have to scale down those dreams.

Where to start? Don’t be overwhelmed when buying your first car, it can seem like  daunting experience as you see the amount of choice you have, and they might all look the same; four wheels, an engine, varying price tags, the only difference you can tell is the colour right? Well, help is on hand….

Set a Budget

Ok, so it sounds boring but the first thing you need to do when shopping for anything, especially something as big as a car, is to set a budget and define what you can, and maybe more importantly can’t spend!

Be realistic here, if you’ve been saving for some time you have may have a lump sum sat in your bank account, and whilst it may be tempting to go out and spend it all on a flashy car, you need to consider the on-going costs that you have when owning a vehicle. (It may be worth holding some of this back to help you through your first year!)

If you’re baffled by budgets and aren’t sure how yours is going to break down then don’t be afraid to write things down; grab a piece of paper and draw yourself a mind map, as this will then give you a visual indication of how much money you have to play with and what you can afford to spend on what.

What Car?

This is the biggie! Now you know how much you can afford, you can start the fun bit… choosing your car! Start by thinking about what the car is going to be used for, which will give you a clear indication of what car you need, and you can start to narrow down this huge choice.

Think sensibly about the features that you need in a car, whilst sports suension and a spoiler might seem like a good idea, in reality they won’t add anything (apart from cost) when you just need a car to get you around the local town.

Consider the kind of journeys that you are going to be making too, if you think you’ll be driving long distances regularly then you (and your bank balance) will benefit better from an economical vehicle that runs on diesel.

Once you’ve chosen the car and have your budget firmly set in stone you can head off to find it. Don’t be afraid to barter, and always take someone with you that knows cars; they’ll be able to identify any problems and sift through the sales spiel that you’ll be given on the forecourt!

Written by Sally Powell, for Insure4aday; a leading firm in the insurance industry. If you hold a full licence and you are looking for temporary cover, whether short term car insurance or 1 day cover, there’s no better place to go.