5 Things You Should Know About Buying Your First Car

Back when I bought my first car (I was 17), I was fortunate to have a family member who sold me her used vehicle for an amazing price.

I paid $1,000 for my first car, it was in great shape, and I never had to put much money in it.

My first car, a 2002 Chevy Malibu.

My first car, a 2002 Chevy Malibu.

This first car lasted two years of high school and two years of college. I probably could have squeezed more life out of it, but I wanted something a little more reliable as I started to travel more frequently.

If you're buying your first vehicle, you want to score a good deal! I understand, buying your first car is exciting but it's also confusing. There are so many options, and sometimes it can be hard to determine the "best decision." My advice is, if you can find a low-cost deal from a family member or close family friend, go for it because here is the thing about your first car....

1. It's not going to be the car you'll have forever. Your first car is your tester. It's your segway into the car world. Chances are, you can't afford the biggest and best right out of the gate, so it's worth waiting a few years until you can afford what you want.

2. Your first car will have reliability, not looks. I know that looks matter, but for your first vehicle, try to overlook the aesthetics. Trust me, I get it. My old car was tan and hideous, but as long as the car functions and won't require constant maintenance, you've probably found a good deal.

3. Your first car is an introduction to loans and payments. Are you ready to fork over payments every month? If not, you might reconsider the cost of your car. If you take out a loan, you may need a cosigner as a back up in case you can't make a payment. This is often a family member, or a trusted adult.

Having a loan is a great way to start building credit. Even if you take out a small loan, making regular monthly payments on time will help you establish good credit. In the future, you'll have more buying power and you'll have greater chances of getting approved for your next loan.

4. Your first car will teach you how to save for your second car. Your first car is your introduction to financial responsibility. For most people, it's their first major purchase. You'll quickly find out that having a down-payment will lower your monthly payments. This means that you'll be saving money for a down-payment and putting money aside on a regular basis for your next vehicle.

5. Your first car shows you what you want, and don't want, in a car. Having a car is a learning experience. You might find out that you don't want a super expensive vehicle after all. You'll discover how much car ownership really costs when you have to pay for the registration, regular maintenance, inspection, gas, and so on. It's a huge financial responsibility, and after your first vehicle, you'll discover what works best for you and your travel needs.

Now, I'd love to hear from you!

What was your first car-buying experience like? Or, what are you looking for in your first car? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments!

Take care,

Mallory