I will receive commission on any sales made on my blog. To learn more, read my disclosure policy.
I was always told my parents were not going to give me a car, but that I was the one who had to buy my own. That is how they both ended up with cars and that is what they wanted for their children, because it taught them the value of a dollar and what you had to do to earn that dollar.
For a while, I didn’t get it. All my friends had cars given to them, and brand new to boot. The older I got the more I saw that buying my own car would be a good thing, however I had my moments of jealousy. Now I get why buying your own car can be such an amazing thing for a teen/young adult…
I didn’t get my licence until I was 19, because the first driving class I took was TERRIBLE, so I had to take another one a little less than a year later. A car wasn’t really much of a necessity anyways. Wherever I needed to go, I could just use one of my dad’s vehicles, as long as one of them were available and for the most part, it was.
It wasn’t until April 2015 I needed my own car. I took a part-time nanny job, so would constantly be needing a car. The only problem: I didn’t have enough money for a car. I had saved up a large chunk in savings, but not enough to pay cash like I wanted. So I went to my dad and talked numbers. Eventually he could see that I had the income and funds to pay him back and that I indeed need a car.
So I went hunting for a car with a budget. A very tight budget due to my income, but loose enough to find a good one. I went to craigslist, because we believe in buying used vehicles. They can be just as good and very affordable, plus being my first car I didn’t need it to be top-notch. I did have a good-size wishlist, but I didn’t need to have everything checked off.
I saw at least a handful of cars, all of which had some major cost-effective issues and prices would not fit the budget. (I was beyond blessed with a dad who KNOWS cars, so he came with me.) After some talks with my parents we decided I needed to up my budget a bit, so I did with some hesitation. (I don’t like debt, so adding more just gave me stomach cramps). I did have my eye on this one car for a while, but everything sounded to good to be true, so I was very wary. Eventually we went to look. It was the one. It did have a few small things wrong, but for the most part it was in impeccable shape. So my dad negotiated (he is a negotiator king, and I am not) and I bought it that day. I was so in love with MY VERY OWN CAR!
Why you should let your child buy their first car:
*All of these things I’m sharing about why you should let your child buy their first car is solely made on my own personal experiences and the experience of witnessing my brother buy his first car. I’m sure every family has their own standards, so I just wanted to share my thoughts and let you and your family decide what is best for you, your family, and children.
- The value of a dollar
I learned very quickly how valuable a dollar was when I had to put a large sum into buying my first car. It made it seem more valuable to me, because I remember how hard I worked for each dollar. So by having your child buy their own vehicle, they will be learning about how hard they have to work to buy something they have always dreamed of. Nothing is free and when you buy something as a large as a car, it just leaves such a mark on your child that they won’t think that it is “just $50”.
- How to budget
Having a budget was a necessity with purchasing a vehicle, especially when I didn’t have all the funds. I had many of bills to pay for monthly, such as: phone bill, insurance, Busch Gardens membership (yes, I did), gas, food, entertainment, etc.) So I had to make sure I had my car payments in the monthly budget. I had a goal of paying off my car in 6 months, but had lenience for 8 months. So I purchased my car for $3,700 and I put $1,000 down. So I needed to pay $2,700 back. If I met my goal I would need to put $450 a month.(I have always had an understanding of how to budget for a while, because my mom always made it a priority to teach me, so I can do well with the budget for groceries when I am married and a mother.)
- To research within their specifications
I wanted only two types of vehicles: a Chevy Impala or a Pontiac Grand Prix. The reason behind this was because my dad has always owned Chevy or GM vehicles, so he knows how to fix them. I also knew I wanted a car no older than 2002 and no newer than 2008. So I knew what I wanted and I researched them all and presented them to my dad, who gave me a thumbs up or thumbs down. I completely found the cars I was interested in and contacted the people and set up dates to meet. That was an experience in and of itself.
- Examine a car
This is where I needed my dad’s help. If you know someone who “knows cars” ask if they would be willing to go with you and examine the engine and underside of the vehicle for you. This part can definitely make or break your budget with things needing to be fixed. I did examine the inside of the vehicle to see if it met my expectations with clean seats, a working radio, good A/C and heat, windows work, and a few other things. Plus I always made sure the vehicle had been lately inspected.
- Value a vehicle
Now that I own a vehicle I know how valuable it is. Not only in the ability to go anywhere whenever, but in the fact that it is 100% yours. You bought it. It is your first baby. You will do whatever you need to get it fixed or cared for so you can get from point A to point B.
- Care for a vehicle
It might be because I have been washing vehicles since I was about two or because my dad has always had me clean, wash, and vacuum his vehicles, but I can’t stand a dirty car. Like OCD. But caring for a vehicle doesn’t just have to be making sure it is clean, but making sure you change the oil when the time comes, the tires have the right air pressure, there is enough radiator fluid, and on and on…
Having your own car definitely makes you more responsible. You need to make sure you take care of it, make sure it gets inspected and meets legal requirements, make payments, pay property tax, etc.
I would like to note that even if you are given a car that these things can still happen. Being given a car is not bad, but a tremendous blessing! I would not have minded just receiving a car for a birthday, but that didn’t happen. Personally speaking, I feel better off having worked for my own vehicle then I would have been having someone give me a car, but that is just me.I will receive commission on any sales made on my blog. To learn more, read my disclosure policy.