It feels like yesterday that your son or daughter was taking their first steps, and last month they walked across the graduation stage! Although college feels like the most likely next step, making sure that they get there safely is often not a priority. Making sure that our new college students have a safe vehicle to travel in puts our minds at ease. Here are some things to think about when purchasing that vehicle for them:
1. Be sure to be informed about the vehicle that you are purchasing. Go in with some research for the vehicle. You can research the competitive prices and information on Autotrader, Kelley blue book, and nada.com. The more knowledgeable you are about your purchase, the less likely you will be to pay more than you need to for it!
2. What will the vehicle primarily be used for? A brand new vehicle for a new college student may not be the best purchase. Remember a vehicle starts depreciating in value the moment you drive it off the lot. So practical vehicles for young drivers would be low maintenance, and dependable vehicles. Trucks don’t make the most ideal purchases since they are bigger and often have terrible gas mileage.
3. If buying used, remember to research the history of the vehicle. Go to the website: VehicleHistory.gov (the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System). Also make sure to read about “lemon laws” in your state. It never hurts to be informed!
4. Make sure not to commit yourself or your student to more than 15-20% of your monthly budget on the vehicle. This includes the car payment, insurance, gas, repairs, registration fees and maintenance. You never want to get yourself into a situation that you cannot afford. So 15-20% of your income is a good standard.
5. Don’t forget that a lot of students may be eligible for good student discounts on insurance plans, and also safe driver discounts. Anyway to save some money, is great!
So enjoy those steps around your now empty home, knowing that you have made smart choices on your new college student’s vehicle. Nothing is better than having peace of mind!