Tips for College Students Buying their First Car
Buying a car is a big first step for a anyone, but especially for a broke college kid. As as fellow college student that’s gone through the process myself, I wanted to share a few tips that I think can help make the process less painful and less prone to mistakes and regret. Hopefully following these tips you can get rolling, while they hatin (and still keep a few dollars in your pocket):
Tip #1 – Always Buy Used
This might be an obvious one to everyone working with a budget, but it also has some legit reasoning behind it. When you don’t care about 10 years down the road, buying a new car is throwing money out the window. For someone that just needs A-to-B transport for the next 4 years, a good used car is fine (and will cost you 80% less than new).
Tip #2 – Shop Around (online)
The next tip I can give is to make sure you don’t just walk into a dealership. Used car salespeople’s sole purpose in life is to close the deal before you walk out the door, and you don’t want to put yourself in that position. When I was looking to buy used cars in Miami, FL, I made that mistake and it took me about 90 minutes to get out of there. I eventually just needed to walk out.
Use the Internet to see what the market price is around your area, what kind of deals there are, and what kind of mileage/age you’ll be looking at. You’ll be much better prepared to get a great deal and negotiate if/when you decide to walk into the dealership.
Tip 3# – Make Friends with a Trained Mechanic
Understanding that not everyone can get this tip, it’s still a huge advantage. Even if you need to pay a mechanic for an hour or two of their time, it may be worth it. You’ll want them to inspect the car before purchase, to make sure you aren’t getting a lemon. Factor it in to the price of the car, an extra $300 to make sure you aren’t get ripped off is a pretty good deal in my opinion.
Of course, if you are buying a $800 dollar car, it’s not worth it. You can expect to get a few good months out of it before something goes wrong. In this case, you might just consider Uber’ing around.