Many students who are gearing up to head off to college for the first time wonder whether or not they need to bring a car with them. A car can be an incredibly helpful way to get to class from your dormitory or even get you to your part time job. In addition, having a car can make it a lot easier when you need to travel home, instead of taking flights during busy holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, having a car will also be a large expense. To make sure that you can afford a car for college, ask yourself the following questions to determine if it is within your budget and truly worth the expense.
1. Will I Have a Source of Income?
The biggest thing to consider when deciding if you can afford a car for college is whether or not you will have a source of income while attending school, especially if you plan on paying car payments each month. If you have secured a full or part time job that will cover the costs of the car payments, then it seems like a reasonable and affordable expense.
2. Do I Have Enough Savings to Purchase the Car Outright?
Instead of paying monthly car payments, there is the option simply to purchase the car outright. This can be a viable option if you have enough money saved to purchase either a new or secondhand car to take with you to college. Before spending the lump sum on a car, consider whether the money might be put to better use in savings, to pay off loans or even to pay upfront for any college tuition costs.
3. Will I Be Living Conveniently on Campus?
In many colleges students live in an area where cars are not required in order to get around. Some smaller campuses have everything within walking distance, making it easy to get from your dormitory to class, the cafeteria or the libraries. You won’t likely need a car in this instance, but might need one if you plan to live off campus or even work off campus.
4. Have I Considered Gas and Insurance?
Although you might calculate that you can afford the car, question whether or not you have budgeted for car insurance and gas. This can be a hefty expense that adds up quickly over time, especially for those college students who do not plan to work while attending school.
5. Can I Drive From Home?
If you live within driving distance of your home, it may be a wise decision to bring a car with you to college. It can save on transport during holidays, reducing your need to fly home. Keep in mind that you may have some long trips ahead of you in the car, even after end of semester exams.
If you have asked yourself each of these five questions, then you are prepared to make the decision about buying a car to take with you to college.
Mary Baxter is a nurse and writer earning her online masters degree in nursing to further her career.