Do's and Don'ts of Buying A Car In Your Twenties
There are a lot of great things about being in your twenties. A time for adventuring into the adult world and figuring out how to land that plane. One of the many adult things we get to do is buying a car. I know, super exciting.
Maybe for some.
For me it brings on a load of stress and "what if's" with a healthy (or maybe not so healthy) dose of "Will I make the right decision?"
Either way, it can be at least a little daunting, even for those excited folks. Most of us in our twenties don't know that much about cars except how much money we can maybe afford for one. So since it can be a little overwhelming at times, and since I may or may not have to be doing this exact thing real soon, I thought I would put together a little do and don't list for buying a car in your twenties. Read through these tips and be on the right track for your next vehicle purchase! ;)
Do's And Don'ts of Buying a Car in Your Twenties
- Go with someone. Ideally you would go with someone who knows at least a little bit about cars, or can at least have an idea of what something is worth. But if you don't have someone like that you should still take someone with you. You won't feel like the pressure and focus is all on you from the sales staff and the friend can be helping by Googling while you are looking.
- Save up. Spend time building up a separate savings for a car. Don't buy when you don't have the money or just depend on your old car getting sold. If you don't have the money in hand, you shouldn't be buying a car.
- Buy used. Give me a break, there is no reason, no reason, anyone needs a brand spanking new car. Unless you are the youngest CEO in your company making bank, you most likely can't afford a new car in your twenties anyways. (Which is perfectly okay!) So don't buy one.
- Do research. Figure out what kind of car you'd like, then figure out what kind of car would actually be a good fit for you. Be honest and realistic. You don't need a sunroof, or electric windows. But you might need good gas mileage if you commute far. Be more mindful of the important things. Buy smart.
- Get a safe one. As much as I don't think you need a brand spankin' new car, I also don't think you should necessarily buy a junker just because it's cheap. When you were sixteen you had that car. Nowadays you want something a little bit more reliable since you most likely have a job where you need to get to and from. You can't have a car constantly crapping out on you.
D O N ' T:
- Take on a car payment. It will never, ever, end in your favor. Even IF you pay it off faster than expected, you still are paying more for that car (that has already lost value) in interest.
- Borrow money from a friend to buy it. Really just borrowing money in general. Going into debt, putting any of it on a credit card, or a car payment are big fat NO's! Cars, even new ones, are not guaranteed, to work perfectly 100% of the time. They will need repairs. How can you pay for that when you are still paying someone or some company for the vehicle in the first place. Plus, never mix money and friends. That's just a solid rule.
- Buy the first one you see. That works sometimes if you stumble across a great deal, and if you've done the previous steps of doing research and taking someone with you. But most of the time it doesn't. Speaking from experience it can be easy to feel pressured to buy right away. You drove all the way out there, the person is taking time to be meeting you, or the car dealership guy has been helping you for an hour, etc. But ultimately this is your purchase and one that is going to come out of your hard earned savings. Don't feel guilty or pressured to make a quick decision. Take your time, and do your research.
- Buy for looks. Looks don't matter when you are stranded in the rain on the freeway because your car is doing a weird stalling thing. Trust me. Stick with a good reliable car, for a good and fair price. It doesn't have to be a beater, in fact half the time those will end up costing you more with repairs. But it doesn't have to turn heads. No one cares what your car looks like. In fact if they did a survey on "What people notice most about other people." I'm pretty sure cars would be at the bottom of the list. Don't buy for others, buy for you.
- Assume it won't have problems. I know it can be exciting to have a new-to-you car. It can feel nice and clean and free of worry like maybe your other car had. But know that that car will have issues too. I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but the better you prepare for these things the better your parade will survive in that rain. Buy the car with some money to spare that way if any unexpected fixes come up, (they will, it's a car) you'll be prepared and your day won't be completely ruined.
Well I hope I've helped and not scared you away of this experience. It can be a lot, but following my advice, researching, not going into debt, and expecting the unexpected should put you on the right track for one of the more "adult" purchases in your life! Besides you know, a house. ;)