How to Get a Car for College
Cars can be incredibly expensive, no matter what you want to buy. It is hard enough to pay for a car when you have a steady career, let alone when you’re dealing with a college budget. Nevertheless, there are some simple ways to adjust your spending so you can have the ride you need to get on campus. Here are some tips to help you pay for a car when you have no money.
Save Your Financial Aid
If you get money back from school each semester, try to put some of it away. You’re not technically supposed to use scholarship money for this, but there is no harm in doing so if you already have your school costs covered. Don’t take out a new student loan just to put a down payment on a car because you will have to pay that back after graduation. Just put back a little extra money if you can.
Get a Steady Job
If you’re still living on your parent’s allowance money, you need to think about getting a job. This may be hard to do between classes, but it is something you’ll need to think about if you want a car. You could get a job tutoring or writing online, and that would save you from having to leave the house when you go to work. Any extra income you get can go toward the car fund.
Avoid Financing the Vehicle
It may be tempting to finance a car in college because you don’t have to come up with the money all at once. This is an option, but it is one that you must think about carefully. If your job isn’t steady enough to support a car payment each month, you shouldn’t put yourself in that situation. You could destroy your credit early on if you start missing payments, and that will only lead to problems later on. You will also have to carry full coverage on your car if you finance it, which will raise your insurance payments each month. Do you think you can handle all that?
As a disclaimer, we will say that getting a car financed will help you build credit, which will help you if you want to get a better car in the long run. From a savings perspective though, you want to stay away from getting a loan on a vehicle.
Settle for Something Cheap
You probably won’t be able to afford the Bentley of your dreams on a Ramen Noodle budget, so don’t set your expectations too high. If the car has four wheels and a reliable motor, it should be good enough for now. You can always sell it later on and buy something better, but this will at least get you around until you can afford a bigger, better ride. Don’t get in over your head.
Follow the tips above as you start looking for a car in college, and you will hopefully find something you can afford.