Planning Ahead For That Car

redheaded woman pumping gas

You can see yourself behind the wheel, smiling as you cruise down the road, music playing, not
a care in the world…but wait! Before you make a move toward getting your first car, take this quick quiz; simply answer yes to no to the following:

  1. Do I need a car?
  2. Can I afford to buy a car?
  3. Can I afford to keep a car running?

Let’s review, especially if you weren’t sure about some of the answers.
Do I Need A Car?

This is a very different question from “Do I Want A Car?” We all know the answer to that one. But first, ask yourself if you really need your own transportation:

  1. Do you have a job you need to get to?
  2. Do your extracurricular activities keep you at school after the buses leave?
  3. Is there a shortage of vehicles in your household?
  4. Is there any other reason you need your own wheels?
  5. If the answers to these questions is yes, getting your own vehicle may be a practical choice. But there’s more to consider.

    Can I Afford To Buy A Car?
    We’re talking thousands of dollars here. Where is it coming from? Consider savings, income from a job or a loan. How much can you afford to spend? A car is probably the largest purchase you’ll make until it’s house-buying time. If you put a lot of money into a car, how much will realistically be left for all the other things you like to buy – music, movies, clothes, eating
    out, and all that other good stuff. And remember, once you have the car, the expenses continue to add up.

    Can I Afford To Keep A Car Running?
    Registration. Insurance. Gas. Oil changes. Inspection. Repairs. Tires. Tolls and parking. The freedom that comes with having your car certainly isn’t free. Research vehicle ownership costs online and make a budget to see if a car works with your finances. Even if you’ve been saving up to buy your car, it’s easy to overlook the ongoing expenses that come with owning and maintaining it.

    If you haven’t been scared away yet, congratulations! Buying a car may make sense for you. We’re here to help you understand your auto loan options. Stop by and see us! We’ll help you navigate the traffic jams and get you closer to your dreams of the open road!

Choosing The Right Kind of Car For You

Young woman driving car

The time you’ve waited for so long is finally here – you’ve passed your driver’s license test, and it’s time to pick out a new (or used) car. So how will you decide which car is the one for you? Of course, shopping for a new car depends on your budget, and also on whether your parents/guardians will lend you money – plus a host of other factors. There are many different makes and models of cars, so if you have a choice in choosing a car of your very own, you may want to think about which type of vehicle will work best for your needs.

Sedans are the typical “family car.” They have four doors (as opposed to sportier models, which generally have two) and usually have plenty of room for friends and other light necessities. Some examples of good starter sedans, according to Consumer Reports, are the Ford Focus, the Honda Accord, the Hyundai Elantra and the Kia Soul. Other examples can be found on the Consumer Reports website; just search for “Cars for Teen Drivers.”

Sports cars are generally not recommended for those without a lot of experience on the road, mostly because they have a higher rate of accidents every year and much higher insurance rates.

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and large pick-up trucks have much more space to carry whatever you need to take with you – but again, these are probably best for more experienced drivers, simply because of their size. You will want to practice driving with a parent or friend first before you go out on the road in an SUV or truck, and even then a sedan may be a better choice for you.

Other considerations are how old the car may be. Obviously, newer cars have better safety features than older models, but you may not always be able to afford the newest car on the block. That’s okay! New cars lose much of their value the minute you drive them off the lot. Buying used is your best bet when you’re searching for your first car. Safe travels!

The Real Cost Of Owning A Car

Young group of friends in car taking picture

If you’re like most teenagers, daydreams about getting your license do not involve driving a beat up clunker, struggling to pay for gas or begging your parents for the cash to pay for repairs. However, unless you prepare in advance, that’s often the reality of the situation. Before you get behind the wheel, make sure you won’t get behind the 8-ball financially. Consider the real cost of owning a vehicle and your individual needs and calculate how much should you save up beforehand based.

Cost Of Vehicle – On Average About $2,000 and $10,000 In most cases, a used vehicle is the way to go, so that is what we will discuss here. However “used” does not necessarily translate to “cheap.” The price of a used vehicle fluctuates but even a very used vehicle can come at a pretty hefty price tag. You want something reliable, so be prepared to fork out at least $2,000 upfront. If you don’t pay that much upfront, you may end doing so on repairs in the long run.

Cost Of Insurance – $1,200 To $4,900 Of Added Premiums Per Teen Driver The average insurance premium for teens is $2,171 per year as of 2009, according to’s research service, RateWatch. That translates to approximately $180 per month. Don’t forget, the newer the car or the worse the driving record, the higher the premiums.

Cost Of Fuel – $2,000 Annually, Per 15,000 Miles With average gas mileage of 25 miles per gallon on many used cars and gas prices at $3.00 per gallon, if you drive just 15,000 per year, you’ll spend approximately $2,000 a year in gas. Of course, that amount rises with the cost of gasoline – not to mention if those road trips add up and you go over 15,000 annually.

Dealer Financing Isn’t Always A Deal

Young couple buying car from dealership

When you are getting a new – or gently used – vehicle, sometimes excitement takes over and a fast-talking salesperson can pressure you into making a not-so-great decision. The way they talk, it may seem like dealer financing is your best option, but it’s not always as affordable as they make it seem. The promises made by dealers generally fall under the “Too Good To Be True” category. Often you find out that lesson when it’s too late.

First off, less than 10% of applicants actually qualify for the 0% financing dealers advertise. They certainly don’t tell you that! Those slick salespeople earn their reputation. In most cases, the rate you qualify for will be much higher. Once the financing process is started, many people just go with what the dealer has to offer.

More shockingly, however, is even if you did qualify for the 0% financing, it’s probably not the best deal. How’s that possible? How can you beat 0%? Easy. When a vehicle is sold, it often comes with a rebate. If you take the rebate, you are financing the vehicle at a lower purchase price. Check with your credit union, and get pre-approved. Chances are a rebate and a rate from your credit union will result in lower payments each month. With the extra cash in your wallet each month, you’ll have enough to gas up your new ride!