Going or returning to college involves a huge chunk of money and buying a car might seem difficult to achieve given a tight budget. You don’t want to be over your head with college loans and personal debts, you’ll need to think carefully how to get a good car and work within a budget.
The average price of a new car in the light vehicles category is $36,270 as of January 2018, according to the Kelley Blue Book and it does not take a genius to figure out that it’s a lot of dough. But, owning a car in college can have several benefits. It enhances your mobility especially if living off campus, saves you money on tickets when you go back home and overall, enhances the college experience. There are things though that you need to weigh carefully before signing that contract.
Brand New or a Used Car?
If money is not an object, you would logically aim for a new car. It has the latest security features and technology. But all these come with a hefty price tag and one that you cannot afford as you have major expenses to think of including tuition, books and accommodation. That’s not to say that you won’t find real gems and bargains in the secondhand market. It pays to do your research when shopping for a car and to get an overview of cars to suit your requirements and budget.
You might find a car with low mileage and in pristine condition for a good price. The point is, there are bargains to be had when buying a used car. In addition, insurance premiums for a secondhand car are likely to be lower even if it’s only because the replacement value is not as high compared to a brand new one.
Financing a Car While in College
Your car’s financing can come from several sources. One, your parents might decide to help you pay for its cost. You’ll also probably engage in multiple jobs and save all the money you earned so that you can put a down payment for a car. If savings is not a viable option, you can opt for financing to purchase your new ride.
When going for an auto loan, you need to consider interest rates, monthly payments and so on. Don’t forget too that your responsibilities do not end with car acquisition. Sales tax, registration, and insurance are part of the responsibilities of owning a car. In addition, you need gas money and a budget for servicing & parts replacement. And, if there is no money to do all these, you might just have to wait till you’re ready instead of pushing a purchase.
Purchasing a car for a college student might seem a scary proposition. The best course of action is to be prepared financially to buy your dream car whether you are working jobs to save enough cash or look for soft loans with negligible interest rates from parents or lenders. What matters also is that owning a car does not only give you independence but teaches real responsibility to take care of a vehicle, own up to debts and pay loans.