It’s not easy buying a decent and reliable car on a tight budget, especially when you’re already taking the plunge into a world of student debt. However, with a few pointers you should be able to get something which will help make your university life that little bit easier.
Although tempting to want to look good to others, affordability, safety and reliability should be at the top of your priority list, not design, colour scheme or any other less important factor. It might be that you can get a better deal with a less popular colour. Green, for some reason, is not a very popular choice and so more likely to be cheaper. Clunky saloon boots are less popular than family-friendly hatchbacks, so again you can opt for something a little less popular and save money.
Cash is king
If you’re looking for an older but still reliable, smallish car, and the bank of Mum and Dad is willing, try to pay for your car outright, in cash. Being a student you’re unlikely to have the necessary credit to take out a car loan. In any case, you’re probably going to be already tied up with a hefty student loan. With cash, you’re likely to get a healthier discount on your vehicle because the dealer is taking less of a risk on you. Be sure to get your reg checked from Just Car Checks before you buy!
Being young and male will go against you in terms of insurance; it’s based on statistics and that demographic presents companies with the biggest risk. Other factors such as size and model of engine, horsepower, age of vehicle are also factors; another reason for choosing a modestly sized and aged vehicle rather than something more eye-catching.
It’s not only the short-term but the long-term costs you’ll have to consider. Replacement tyres and brakes are usually a bi-annual running cost, while an oil change, MOT (MOT history check), car insurance and road tax are yearly affairs. Then there’s the petrol, not to mention accidental damage such a replacement windscreen or spent bulbs. You have to be ready for this.
Dealer or no dealer
There’s no doubt that purchasing a vehicle from a private individual is the cheapest option out there – the most likely way for you to bargain a little and put in a respectable but healthily lower offer. However, if you go to a reputable mid-sized dealership, you’ll have that extra piece of mind. They’ll usually offer you a minimum of a three-month warranty as standard and will have thoroughly vetted the car before originally purchasing and placing it in their forecourt.