I was 18 years old when I bought my first used, but new-to-me car. I was so proud of that little car: it was black, as all good cars should be, and what made it even more exciting was the fact that I paid for the car myself. I didn’t know that other 18 year old weren’t buying cars - I just thought that was what young adults did: Get a job. Buy a car. Turns out, people go their entire lives and never have enough money to buy a car, as you may well know. But if buying your first car is on your to-do, here are a few tips on how to save money to buy your first car.
The first thing you want to do is do some research on what kind of car you want to buy: new or used. I started looking at new cars at first because they were shiny and smelled good inside, but when it came down to dollars and cents (and sense!), used was the way to go for me. Back then (yes, I am old enough to say “back then”), we didn’t have Craiglist or Kijiji to just look up cars that were for sale. I spent hours driving around used car lots looking for the perfect car. If you are looking for some advice on a good quality car, check out Richard Hammond’s website. You know, the guy from Top Gear? He knows his stuff.
Once you know whether you are going to buy a new or used car, determine your budget by breaking down your weekly take home pay (net pay, after taxes and deductions), and determine how much you can set aside each week toward the purchase of your car. You might want to start a separate bank account just for your car money so you don’t spend it when it’s starts to get to an amount that can be inviting to you. I gave my money to my mom so I wouldn’t spend it.
Get a second part-time job if you need to. I worked extra weekends and evenings for an entire year to save enough money to buy my car. I had a part-time job already, but because the option for full time wasn’t there, I went out and found another part-time job. Together, the two part-time jobs gave me a full time income. And, obviously, I was living at home with my mom because I was 18 - so my bills were not that much to begin with. But as you know, when you are 18, it is easy to just blow through your money. I wanted a car more than I wanted to spend that money on other things.
The other thing I did that helped me save quite a bit of money was sell some of the things I owned. I was able to accumulate a few hundred dollars, which was enough to cover the cost of my licence and registration - which people tend to forget when they are pricing their vehicles. Again, before the time of Craigslist, selling stuff was not easy. Now it’s so easy.
So, set your sights on a car you like, determine your budget, get a part-time job if you need to, set up a savings account, commit to saving for the car, and sell some stuff if you need to - that car will be yours before you know it!