If your teen is ready to buy a car, and you want to know how to help them, then this easy guide is for you.
by Troop Atomic Mommy
This post contains affiliate links. To learn more about affiliate links and how they work, please read our Affiliate Disclaimer HERE.
It’s a rite of passage for teens to want to learn to drive as soon as they’re able to. They want to have a bit of independence and not have to rely on needing lifts from their parents anymore. And that’s something you should try to encourage for them! Being able to drive is a great life skill that’ll take them very far, literally and metaphorically.
But having to buy a car for the first time is a tricky thing. Your teenager probably doesn’t have enough money upfront, and it’s going to take them months to save up for a used car by themselves. So what can you do to support them? Let’s go over some ways you can help your teen buy a car.
Research Cars with Them
They might already have a car in mind, but whether or not it’s actually right for them is another matter. And that’s why it’s best to sit down together and do some research into car models. Seeing as this is their first car, it needs to be on the cheap side, but it also needs to last a long time.
Striking this balance can be tricky. But if you use a site like edmunds, you can enter all kinds of vehicle details to get the stats right there in front of you. In the end, it doesn’t matter if there’s another car they want – there could be a perfectly amazing used car out there that’s half the price and would take them ten times further!
Talk Through All Associated Costs
There’s more than just the cost of the car to think about. The car is going to need regular maintenance, need to be fueled on a weekly basis, be insured, and be outfitted with all the current modcons. At the very least, there needs to be an easy to use toolbox in the trunk somewhere! Think about this on a monthly basis. How much will your teenager need to keep the vehicle running every 30 days? Make an itemized list to work off of.
Make a Budget Together
Now that you know what you’re going to be paying, it’s time to make a budget. Your teen is going to put up some of the cash, of course, but you can also offer to make up the difference of what they can’t afford. Not only does this give you a stake in the car’s wellbeing, but it also helps them to better understand the value of this transaction.
After all, if anything happens to the car, they’ve wasted your money too! So get out a spreadsheet and see what needs to happen. For example, do they need to save a certain amount each month? If you put up a number, how much will they need to fill in? And how long will it take to fill the pot? Put it all in perspective and go from there.
If your teenager wants a car, work out the practical side together. Set expectations and make a budget – it’ll serve them best in the long run.