One of the biggest milestones for a young adult is buying the first car. Yes, it’s super exciting and also daunting at the same time.
Finding the right car for you is not as easy as it sounds. You have a wide range of options to choose from. Not to forget the price tags on these vehicles. You need to be well prepared and informed to make the right decision.
You have to keep in mind that no car will satisfy all your desires perfectly. The car you are going to buy may have ninety percent of the things you are looking for. But never 100%.
Looking for a car is similar to looking for your soulmate. You are going to meet different people before you meet your soulmate. And still, your soulmate won’t satisfy all your desires.
For instance, you may want a quiet, comfortable and good looking car that saves on fuel. This means that you will have to sacrifice engine power or a huge trunk.
By reading this guide, you’ll have an easier time choosing the ideal car for you according to your current situations. Buying the first car will be a long process. But the second one will be much easier. Let’s get started!
1. Assess your current situation
Finding your ideal car for students is dependent on the individual’s personality and expectations. Most people see their cars as an extension of themselves. Your car reflects the person you are on the inside. For instance, a student who is driving a Ferrari communicates to other people how powerful or rich he or she is.
On the other hand, a student driving a Honda communicates to other people how economical or frugal he or she is.
It’s all about how you feel and your current needs. You need to consider how many people you’ll be carrying regularly, the driving distance, condition of the road, ideal features, parking space, safety features, and the cargo capacity.
2. Create a budget
When creating your budget, you’ll need to decide if you are going lease, pay with cash or finance the purchase. How much will you comfortably afford to pay for the car each month? In general, your car payment should not exceed fifteen percent of your income.
As a student, you should consider purchasing a used car to reduce your expenses. However, the fifteen percent rule applies here too. If you want to lease a car, your monthly payment should be no more than ten percent of your income.
Also, remember to factor in at least seven percent of your monthly income on insurance and fuel. Having a budget before visiting the car dealer will improve your negotiation skills. If you’ll be paying with cash, you need to have some extra money for insurance, fuel, and maintenance.
3. Should you lease or buy?
Leasing and buying a car for student has its advantages and disadvantages. Your thoughts about these two options will greatly determine the decision you make.
For example, buying a car is quite expensive and monthly payments are high. However, when you pay off your debt, you’ll own the car and drive whenever you want.
On the other hand, leasing requires a low down payment and monthly installments. However, when the lease ends you’ll either rely on your legs, bicycle or public transport to travel.
4. Consider a wide variety of cars
Before visiting the car dealer, chances are that you’ve set your mind and heart on a specific car. However, the car market is changing every minute. Modern cars with amazing features are being brought to showrooms every day.
If you have a specific car in mind, it’s always important to review other vehicles in the same class to avoid missing out on a great deal. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time searching for the best car, it’s important to use Edu Birdie reviews to complete your homework. Thanks to the rapid advancement in technology, you can easily do your research on a wide variety of cars belonging to the same class. Doing your research will help you make informed decisions.
5. Evaluate the cost of owning the car
While two cars may have the same price, it might be expensive to own one than the other. You need to consider the depreciation and insurance costs.
Since you are buying a vehicle to use it for a couple of years, you’ll need to evaluate maintenance and fuel costs too. Individuals can save thousands of dollars by doing some calculations to find the right car for students.
6. Start looking for cars
Today, you need not visit a dealership in person to get an inventory and negotiate. Through technology, you can save a lot of time and money. All you need to do is search for the car you want that’s being sold in your area. Visit different sites to see the price range.
7. Set an appointment
After finding the right car, call or email the dealership to verify that the car is there. After confirmation, you should schedule a test drive and ask any burning questions that you may have. If you are not ready to make the deal, take notes while doing your research so that you can easily contact the dealership in the future.
8. The test drive
After setting an appointment, the car should be in line waiting for your arrival. It’s important to test-drive at least three vehicles for you to have several options. If possible, have a mechanic accompany you while test driving the vehicle.
9. Pick the best car
After test-driving all the vehicles, you should have a favorite. If you can’t choose, take your time. It’s better to wait than choose a car that you’ll later regret having. Again, there will be no perfect car for you.
10. Take the car home
Now that you’ve found the ideal car, it’s time to sign up the papers, make the payment and drive your first car home. Exciting, right?
The thought of buying your first car can be exciting and scary at the same time. The most important thing you need to do is research. The more informed you are, the better your decisions you’ll be. You need to decide whether you are going to buy or lease the car.
Buying and leasing both have their advantages and disadvantages. What are you willing to trade-off? Knowing what you want in the first place will ease your work and save you a lot of time. As a student, you should consider going for a car that will save you money in the long run especially if you have student and credit card loans.
When you find a car that suits your current needs, you’ll need to test-drive it. When test-driving you should drive the car the way you would after buying it.
Test the brakes, handling, and speed. Sit on different seats and take pictures of the cars so that you can take a look at them later before making a decision. It’s always good to test-drive the car with a trusted mechanic to avoid buying a car that will increase your maintenance expenses in the long run.
Connie Elser is an experienced writer and editor. She enjoys sharing her insightful ideas on buying cars and financial independence on her site regularly. During her leisure time, you’ll find her playing with her dog or camping in the mountains.
featured image from Pexels
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