A lot of us buy our first car in high school after getting the freedom of a driver's license. We hope that that the fifteen year old Toyota Camry we cruised around in high school lasts through college, but sometimes it just can't make it another day and we find ourselves having to go through the buying process in college, broke. Here are a few short tips every college student should have when on a budget
When you're living on a $10 per hour part time job and paying for school expenses, buying a brand new car is not a good use of your limited funds especially since the value of a new car drops significantly as soon as you drive it off the lot. So check out used cars around two to three years old (after that time period the value of a car greatly depreciates).
Bonus, the car insurance for a used vehicle is much less expensive reducing your overall cost of owning a car.
- Buy From a Dealer or Mechanic
Some people can buy straight from the owner and have a great experience, but it is more risky. Sometimes you can buy straight from the owner only to later put thousands of dollars of work into a car later on. You can sometimes get a great deal from an owner, but its not really something you want to risk in college when your cash flow isn't regularly coming in.
Whenever you can pay cash for a car, and not take out debt, do. Ultimately, when you finance a car you end up paying more for it. If you pay cash, you pay less. Even if you can't pay cash now, it may be a better deal for you to hold off until you can.
If you have to finance, make sure you shop around and know your options.
- Bring a Keen Eye or Get a Report Before You Buy
Google what to look for when buying a used car, there are a lot of great articles out there that can help you learn what you should be looking for. Additionally, if you know someone who has experienced eyes–bring them along! Older folks have usually bought a car before and know what to look for from their previous experience and mistakes. So whether its a dad, mom, uncle, aunt, friend, grandmother or grandfather ask them to come along and give a second opinion.
Don't go broke buying a new car to get around in during college. You can splurge once you get that degree. Remember, you can look just as good in an Audi as in a sedan.