How To Get A Car While In College
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How To Get A Car While In College

Owning a car while studying in college sounds impossible. Well, it can very much happen. Look around. You probably see a few students coming to college in the comfort of their own cars. While some might have bought that car from their parent’s money, many students finance their own vehicle. We understand that as a student, you may not be too keen on spending all that money on your car, but that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on this great opportunity that can make your life easy and convenient.

This extensive guide is specifically designed to meet the needs of young college students like you. From helping you select the car that’s a good fit for you to ensuring you have enough finances to fund it, we will guide you every step of the way.

Keep reading for more!

How To Find The Perfect Car For Yourself?

The very first thing you need to focus on is the ‘why.’

You need to find out your biggest motivation for buying a car. Here are some of the scenarios that you may want to focus on:

  • Is it because you have to travel through a long route just to reach college?
  • Are you avoiding public transport because of COVID-19?
  • Do you have some work between your classes that you cannot do because of the public transport or carpool service you have currently subscribed to?
  • Would a smaller car work for you?
  • Are you looking for a specific style?
  • Do you need a larger vehicle to carry all your equipment?
  • Will you be carpooling with someone?

When you have your reasons all sorted, it makes it easier to choose your options. There are also various other factors such as fuel efficiency, safety ratings, warranty provisions, and maintenance requirements that you should consider when reaching your vehicles.

Are You Fine With A Used Car, Or Are You Looking For A Brand New Vehicle?

Old or new? It’s all up to you!

While many college students prefer buying an old or used car, there’s a chance that the maintenance cost of a pre-owned car may exceed your budget. Many college students find it difficult to take their used car for maintenance regularly, even it comes with a lower price tag. Regardless, we suggest that you consider a few factors that will significantly affect the cost of your vehicle and will help you narrow down your options.

Replacements & Maintenance

Whether it is tire replacement or any other parts of the car that you need to replace or maintain, you must check out all the costs. Don’t leave anything out. It’s the small things that add up all the time. If you purchase a used car you will want to make sure they have a good warranty like 500 Below Cars who has a 12-Month Unlimited Mile Warranty (at the time of this writing).

Fuel & Gas Efficiency

Whether it’s a small or large car, you also need to check its fuel and gas efficiency. A good idea is to consider the amount of fuel or gas you will have to buy each month or week. Sorting out the fuel efficiency will help you in budgeting your finances for the month as well. If this is something that moves the needle we recommend reading our blog over the Best High MPG Cars of 2020

Car Insurance Rates

Every car has a different insurance premium, so you have several options to consider. When looking for a car, always remember that a car with a higher insurance premium will cost you a lot to replace. While researching, we suggest that you check out if you have a student discount on insurance rates, as this will significantly cut your cost. We also recommend researching prepaid auto insurance to see if that is suitable for you. 

Warranty Information

A big disadvantage with used cars is that they either have a limited warranty or none at all, and this is why it is important to consider the repair and maintenance costs in your overall budget. Since many new cars will provide a warranty for two to three years, it makes it easy to care for all your bumper-to-bumper car needs. As stated earlier 500 Below Cars offers a 12-month unlimited mile warranty

Would You Want To Go For A Lease, Or Do You Want To Buy Your Car?

When you lease your car, you opt to pay for the car in monthly installments, usually lower than the car’s actual price. Signing this legally binding contract, you will be able to afford a new car of your choice as well, making it easy to maintain the car without the hassle of regularly taking it for service. In this contract, you will also be allowed mileage that you can travel. In case you’ve driven over the limit, you might be asked to pay extra to the dealership owner. If you opt for a lease, we recommend taking care of the car like it’s brand new to maintain its condition. Many times, if a car wears down, the owner of the car will charge you extra.

Pro-tip? Read the terms and conditions of the lease very carefully. Ask questions if necessary to clear out all the confusion!

When To Apply For An Auto Loan?

Now that you have all the major things sorted, we are sure that your budget and costs are all set to make a choice. Budgeting helps decide if you want to buy a car, go for installments or opt for a lease. If you don’t have enough savings to afford a car, we suggest that you go for a personal loan to finance the car. It’s also important to remember that you need a credit history to apply for a loan. In case you don’t have a credit history, you can take help from a loan consigner or show your parent’s good credit history.

How To Build Credit History?

As a college student, the idea of building credit history might be a bit intimidating for you, but you don’t have anything to worry about. We suggest that you start building your credit history as soon as possible using our helpful tips and tricks.

  • Make monthly payments on your student loans to show how consistent and responsible you are as a borrower
  • Get a gas card to purchase gas and small grocery items. 
  • Ask your parents or guardians if they can name you as an authorized card user
  • Get a credit card with lower interest rates and payment policies
  • Ensure that you have cleared all your payments and don’t have any unpaid balances
  • Pay for your rent, utilities, and phone bill with your own account to show that you pay your rents on time
  • Analyze your credit history using the FICO score to calculate your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit.

We hope that these tips were helpful and you’ll soon be driving the car of your choice. A total dream come true. Good luck!

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