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7 Tips For Teens Saving To Buy Their Own Car

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After passing your driving test and taking your parents’ car out for a couple of spins and errands, the time has come for you to finally have your own car, your own set of wheels, your own password to freedom, independence and adulthood. And what’s when it hits you: cars are expensive. The good news is that there are things you can do to make sure you don’t break the bank when you’re ready to purchase. Here are 7 tips for teenagers saving up to buy their own car.

1. Matching Funds

It’s unrealistic for anyone to expect you, as a teenager, to be able to afford your own car by yourself. Talk to your parents about meeting you halfway: if you can raise $5,000, for example, they can provide the other $5,000, and now you’ve got $10,000. As with anything in life, the more you invest, the more you get back.

2. Elbow Grease

And how, precisely, do you get that $5,000? No prizes for guessing that the answer is simple, old fashioned, hard work. You can’t get something for nothing in this world, and whether it’s flipping burgers, walking dogs, babysitting or mowing lawns, someone out there needs something to be done, and they’re willing to pay money for it to happen. That’s where you come in.

3. Don’t Waste Time

It’s tempting to think that there’s never enough time to get anything done, but you’re not going to raise any money to buy a car if you don’t get to it right away. It means sacrificing your time doing the things you want to do, but it also means vital work experience that will come in handy when you have to apply for “real” jobs, and extra dollars in a bank account for when you have that conversation with your parents about buying your own car. You won’t have either if you wait.

4. The Car Is Just The Beginning

Everyone get sucked into the idea that once you buy the car, that’s it, you’re gold. They all forget the details like insurance, gas, car maintenance, and the other things that creep in once you’ve got a few miles on the clock. If you own a car, it’s your responsibility to take care of it. Don’t just save up for the car itself – save up for the regular servicing, the exorbitant gas prices, and the monthly insurance bills. This may mean having to settle for a cheaper car, but it’s better to have a cheaper car you can actually drive, than a more expensive car you can’t even afford.

5. Do Research

Buying a car is a complicated issue, and for a good reason: you have hundreds of options, all with their own pros and cons. It doesn’t make sense to put down your hard-earned money for the first car you see, so take time to research. Find out what cars you can afford, what their insurance rates are, safety ratings, gas economy, eventual resale value, etc. This isn’t the fun part of buying a car, but carefully choosing the right car will save you lots of money down the road.

6. Be Frugal

There are more things to saving up for a car that aren’t as fun. As much as your hard work and part time jobs will consume all your time, the money you earn can’t be used for luxuries. Concerts, movies and vacations will have to take a backseat – you’re not going to be able to afford your own car if you spend the money you should have been saving.

7. Open A Savings Account

All that money you saved to buy a new car isn’t going to go very far if you blow it at the first temptation that comes your way. Talk with your parents and your bank about opening a savings account, where your “car money” will not only remain off-limits, but will accrue interest over time.

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