Purchasing a car is a big decision, one that needs to be well thought out and fully processed. When I first received my license, I debated for a long time about buying a car. There are quite a few questions that come up when deciding whether or not to purchase a car, what car to buy should you decide to get a car, and whether to buy or lease the car you are purchasing when making said decisions. The questions seem to mount and the idea of what car to purchase seems to get increasingly harder. It’s really hard to make a decision on which car to buy.
The first and most important question to ask yourself is whether purchasing a car would benefit you more than the costs of having the car. To answer this for yourself, you need to figure out what the benefits are for purchasing the car and what the costs above buying the car would be. Here is how you figure out the benefits:
What would I need a car for? How would purchasing this car help me out? Here are a few things to consider when answering the question: If you work for a living or go to school, how do you currently get to work or to school? If it is close enough and the weather is nice enough that you can walk, then buying that new car might not benefit you too much. If you use public transportation, would you be paying more for that or would you be paying more by buying and maintaining this car? How else do you normally get around without a car or are you totally stuck in the boondocks if you do not have a car? You really have to think about these things; they are very important!
What extra things are you looking for when looking to purchase a car? Are you looking to purchase a fast, hot looking car to pick up chicks with? If you are a college student that is looking to get such a car, to try and feel some power behind the wheel, while helping you meet some girls, then you should probably consider leasing rather than buying a car. If you get a really short term lease, then you can get yourself another car of the same type only a year or two after getting your last car to make sure your staying in competition and up-to-date with everyone else. And though you’re a college student now, you will eventually have to grow up and make some monetary considerations and end up buying a car.
Maybe you are a little more grown up and you want to purchase a safer car. Do you have any children? If you do, then I certainly hope you are in this grown up stage because you really should be buying a safer car for them. I am in no way going to encourage you to buy an SUV though (look at “additional costs” below for some more details), considering they are no where near as safe as you may think they are. You would be much better off purchasing a Toyota or a Honda Accord.
After the original fixed cost of leasing/buying a car, there are some additional costs that you should take into consideration. You are going to have to pay for lots of simple things; lets make sure none of them slip your mind. Here are some of the additional costs above the purchase price of your car:
You have to pay for gas. Gas prices have been extremely high lately. The average car owner can pay $50-$70 of gas a week, that is, when gas prices aren’t suddenly skyrocketing because of circumstances our nation may be in. The bigger the car, the more you “hook up” your car with accessories that make your car heavier, and depending on how the car is structured, the worse your mileage can become and the more you have to pay for gas.
You have to get oil changes for your car regularly. Again depending on what car you get, the range of when you might need an oil change is between 3,000 and 7,500 miles. If you are going to be doing mostly small distance driving, then it is highly recommended that no matter what car you have, that you get an oil change every 3,000 miles.
This is how things change according to your preferences:
If you buy a safe, dependable car, then a benefit is that the car will last you for a long time. Whereas if you buy a toy-like figure (and you know exactly what I mean by toy-like figure when you look out into a Porsche dealership and see that bright yellow two-seater that looks about the same size as a toy you bought your nephew last spring for his birthday) that is going to be wrecked within a few years of ownership, your insurance premium skyrockets and you don’t really have too long until you are without a car and have to purchase a new one once again.
If you decide to lease a car instead, you get to constantly be driving newer cars and can always have “top quality,” instead of having “the top quality of a car purchased a decade ago.” While technology is constantly getting better, do you really want to own something that is considered a piece of junk compared to the other cars on the road? Cars depreciate in value, if you own them, at rates you wouldn’t believe. There is a saying that a car loses half its value as soon as it is driven out of the parking lot, and though that is not really accurate, it is scary how close it is depending on which car you buy. Meaning if you were planning on trading in your car at any point after buying it, you won’t be getting much of a return on it.
Additional Facts to consider:
Some people like buying big cars, because they feel like they are more powerful or they look cooler by having a big car, or b) they think they are safer with a big car. If you are indeed one of these people, I strongly advise you to reconsider purchasing a big car. An SUV is probably the worst buy you can buy, especially if you decide to get something like a Hummer, which seem to be popular now. I will not get too far into the argument of why SUVs are so bad, but if you refer to my article entitled “SUVs: get them off the road”, you can get more information about why you should not by any means purchase an SUV.
If you are looking to purchase a car I wish you good look with your decisions and I hope you answer all the questions posed in this article before you make your decisions.