Driver’s Training: $800

My ex-husband propositioned me yesterday. Here’s the pitch: send the girls to driver’s training, and get their license this summer.

The program he has his eye on is in Barrie, where he resides. They spend 20 hours or so in a simulator, then another number of hours in the classroom and they’re expected to spend time on the road as well. The whole session takes a week and promises to position their students in an excellent position to get their license upon completion.

Like any other driver education program, the completion certificate is also a savings with car insurance, even though girls aren’t nearly as expensive to insure as boys are.

If the program didn’t sound good enough, he also reminded me how important it was for girls to have their independence, how some adult women without licenses are isolated, etc. I don’t have to be convinced of any of this. I’ve had my license since I was 17. I was lucky enough to have driver’s education in high school. The cost, if I recall, was about $60.

The closer is this: “I’m happy to have the girls up here, one at a time, enroll them in this program, take them out driving every night and arrange their test if you’ll split the cost with me, it’s $800 each.”

I don’t need any convincing that a driver’s license is an essential asset. Just because we don’t have a car doesn’t mean I don’t drive. I’ve seen my 67 year old mother shy away from driving over the last decade, and it saddens me that she’s shortened her radius of driving comfort. If something ever happened to my step-father, she wouldn’t be driving to Toronto to see me, that’s for sure. That’s not the only issue, it’s simply the freedom to go wherever you wish, when you wish is a great liberty.

When I said to the ex “I don’t know where I’m finding $800” I think he thinks I’m putting him on. Although I just put new floors in the rental property, and I don’t know where that money is coming from either, it was just something that had to be done, so it got done.

So, at some point this week, I’ll have to review the budget and see what’s possible. I don’t think there’s any fat in there at all anymore. I’ve reviewed and revised enough times already this year. If anything, the budget for the remainder of the year is too restrictive in the other direction.

In my past world, I likely would have just said “yeah, that’s an awesome idea, thanks for stick handling all that” and taken it from my line of credit. That’s how I started the year with more than $13K in the hole with my line of credit. While I may do that again, I’m so proud of the way my line of credit statement looks for 2010; only deposits and interest – no transactions in the other direction. (I’m not counting the GIC for the rental mortgage issue).

The only con to this arrangement is the money. It’s a great summer for them both to take this on. They don’t have any big plans to travel. None of them have work commitments, at least not yet. If at such a point in time I do invest in an electric bike, at least they’ll both know how to think like a driver if they ever take it out, which is really important. They’ll get to learn to drive with their Dad, which will (hopefully) be pretty cool.

I pondered putting through the eldest this year, then waiting for the youngest next year. The eldest already has her G1, and it may be set to expire soon. If she lets it expire, it’ll be another $120 to write it again. The youngest is planning (and saving for) a trip to Italy and France next year. I’m doing anything I can to encourage her to go. I’ve never been on a trip like that, and there’s no reason she shouldn’t go. So, thinking about one more big “to do” for the summer of 2011 may be a bit overwhelming.

What would you do if you were in the driver’s seat?


2 responses to this post.

  1. wow that is very expensive. My son got to take it at school during his noon hour for a few weeks. They did the practice road tests and arranged for the vision tests for their learner’s licence. The cost was $0. I can’t imagine having to spend that much for driver’s ed training. wow.


  2. MCM, I’d check out a couple of other places – they’re not all priced the same and you should be able to get something cheaper (like through an adult ed place that’s affiliated through a school division) – plus there’d be HST on that so add on another $100?

    The savings on insurance here in AB is $100 which is negligible – but you never know, by the time your kids get their own vehicles, they may have had their licenses for a few years and get reduced rates because of that. At the very minimum, I would ask if they wanted it, that the kids cover half since they’ll be reaping the benefits down the “road” (no pun intended), not you. IMHO, it seems like more of a luxury right now than a necessity.

    I paid for driver’s ed for my oldest but he didn’t end up getting his license later, until he was 20. He’d been in a bad car accident as a teen where he was driving with my brother and got T-boned on his side by a truck. He was spooked and had zero confidence behind the wheel. I hoped the driver’s ed would help, but it didn’t seem to.

    OTOH, it looks like driver training would be a good business to get into!


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