Saving money for a car

Find out our tips on how to build your savings and help lower your interest payments. Saving for a bigger deposit can cut the cost of your next car by hundreds of pounds.

Why save?

Saving up a deposit can knock hundreds off the cost of your car.

For example, borrowing £7,000 for a car could mean repayments of £265 a month, bringing the total price to £9,500.

By saving up a £2,000 deposit, you borrow less, cutting the repayments to £190 a month, and the total cost to £8,800 - a saving of £700.

Step one – Weigh up your options

There are lots of ways to pay for a car:

  • take out the dealer’s own finance
  • get a loan from a bank or building society
  • opt for a personal credit plan or hire purchase
  • or even choosing to lease a car instead of buying.

But, whatever option you choose, putting down a bigger deposit can slash the cost of your car.

Some deals, such as 0% finance, are only available if you have a large deposit.

What you pay back when you borrow £1,000

If you could borrow at an interest rate of 7% a year, for each £1,000 you borrow over three years, you’d have to pay back £1,108.

If you saved up an extra £1,000 towards the deposit, it would knock £108 off the cost of the car.

If you had to pay a much higher interest rate of 19% a year, each £1,000 you can put down as a deposit would save you £292 if you borrowed for three years and £508 if you borrowed for five years.

How much you personally save on the cost of your next car depends on the interest you’re charged.

The higher the rate, the bigger your payback from saving for a deposit.

Step two – Work out how much to save each month

If you’re still making monthly repayments on your current car you might be wondering how you can afford to save as well.

But starting to save even a small amount now means you’ll be able to borrow a bit less next time, which will cut the repayments on your next car.

Then you’ll be able to afford to save a bit more towards your next car, and so on. Before you know it, you could be a cash buyer with no repayments at all.

The size of the deposit to aim for depends on the car you want to buy.

But be realistic – if you set your savings target too high, there’s a danger you’ll give up.

It’s best to set your target at an amount you feel comfortable saving each month and you can always top this up whenever you can afford a bit more.

Step three – Get started

You’ll want to earmark these savings especially for your car.

Maybe you already have an online bank account letting you set up separate pots for different goals.

Otherwise, open a new separate savings account.

You could opt for an instant access account. But, if you’re looking to buy in a year or two’s time, you could also look at accounts that limit withdrawals for an amount of time but can offer better interest.

Price comparison websites

Comparison websites are a good starting point for anyone trying to find a savings account tailored to their needs.

The following websites compare savings accounts:

Remember:

  • Comparison websites won’t all give you the same results, so make sure you use more than one site before making a decision.
  • It’s also important to do some research into the type of product and features you need before making a purchase or changing supplier.

Step four – Watch your savings grow

Check your progress regularly.

Remember, every £100 in your account could be £10, £20, £50 or more off the total cost of your next car.

Review your savings account at least once a year to check you’re getting the best rate of interest. Interest rates can go down once you’ve had an account for a while. Set yourself a reminder to switch accounts for when the interest will be lowered.

What to do next

  • Open a savings account if you don’t already have one – go online or pop into your bank or building society.

Set up a regular payment into your savings account every month. Find more information in our guide to Direct Debits and standing orders

Was this information useful?
Thank you for your feedback.
We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing.
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
0800 011 3797* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
0800 138 7777* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us live for money guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat:8.00am – 3.00pm
  • Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 2 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp
+44 77 0134 2744

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts, credit questions or pensions guidance. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or Telephone.