Finance mini-cooper-auto-model-vehicle

Published on June 18th, 2018 | by Jones

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How to manage your “first car” expectations

Buying or receiving your first car isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. Students whose parents pay for their first car may not really have much of a choice and even people who are able to pay for their first car won’t have a wide range of options either.

The costs involved in buying a car are greater than many people physically or mentally budget for. It’s not only being able to make payments if you choose to finance your car and pay it off, but it’s saving up for a deposit or the full amount of the car. And the costs don’t stop there, but we’ll get to that.

If you’re in line to own your first car, you need to manage your expectations and maybe rethink what your dream first car is.

Don’t have a car in mind

If you can help it, don’t think about the car you want as your first car. This is the greatest expectation that has an equally great disappointment waiting for you on the dealership floor. If you have a car in mind, you’ll be expecting nothing less than that specific car. Then you get an idea of what your car budget is and car browsing doesn’t seem so exciting anymore.

After that, you’ll just find yourself saying no to every other decent car on the floor and ruining the independence-building experience of buying your car. And that’s not cool. This is still an exciting time and you’ll always be able to find a decent and reliable first car, even on a budget. It’s not to say that you should expect the absolute worst piece of rust on four-ish wheels but, like we said, manage those expectations.

But, if that’s really not an option for you and you have your heart set on an Audi A1 or you’ve seen an Audi A3 for sale somewhere, for example, then you need to put in the extra hours to make up for the missing cash, not your parents. That will either get you the car you want or make you appreciate how much you’ve already been given with your car budget. Either way, you’ll learn about the value of money.

If you already do, prepare for used

So, the first bit of advice to manage your expectations is to not have a car in mind but, if you do and you’re open to suggestions (besides finding the rest of the money yourself), you should prepare to look for a used version of that car. And possibly an older model.

It’s easy to find an Audi A1 for sale when you search online but, if you look closely, you’ll notice that most of them are used cars. For a first car, you’re going to want a used car anyway. They’re definitely resilient, reliable, more affordable and you won’t feel like it’s the end of the world when you get your first parking pole souvenir scratch on the side of your car.

And the best part about used car dealerships is that you can, likely, get the car you want… just in an older model and possibly with fewer luxury gadgets than you imagined. But that’s still okay, this is only your first car after all and all you need it for is to get you from point A to B in one piece.

Don’t underestimate the cost of cars

We’ve already touched on this subject but this is the more to “costs don’t stop there” that you need to understand. When you buy a car and choose to finance it, you’re not only paying off the total of the vehicle itself, but the accumulating interest of the loan as well – making it more expensive than it’s worth.

On top of that, you need to pay for car insurance and petrol on a monthly basis as well as regular services every 15 000 km. And services are important if you ever want to sell this car for an upgrade one day. Cars are expensive, so when your parents present you with a budget to look for a vehicle, don’t take it for granted. They are preparing themselves for a world of extra costs for a good few years until you move out, get a stable job and are able to undertake the costs by yourself. Don’t ask for more and don’t be smug if your first car isn’t what you expected.

Be grateful

All you should be is grateful. Even if you’re paying for the car yourself and can only afford a secondhand vehicle with a good couple of kilometres on the odometer. You have a car and you have the opportunity to exercise your independence and do the things you want to do when you want to do them. You have every reason to be grateful despite your initial expectations.

If you work hard enough, there will come a time where you can own and drive your dream car every day

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