Saturday, May 22, 2010

You Need A Car? A Student’s Guide

Owning a car can be a very tempting prospect for a college student, as it offers an incomparable sense of independence. However, one's own car is not just about the price, but also about long-term, routine costs like gasoline, auto insurance and maintenance. Insurance, particularly, does not come cheap for students, so some research on whether a car is really needed would be worthwhile.

The first step would be to list out the possible expenses involved in owning a car, both routine and one-off. Figure out how much it will amount to over the duration of your studies, and consider how you would finance it. Incurring debt at this stage is not wise as college tuition costs are pricey as it is.

Another important check is with regard to parking and traffic levels. Ideally, you should not have to pay to park your car. Neither should you be spending more time on your commute after buying your own car. Many campuses offer free parking as well as transport facilities for their students. If the latter is reasonably reliable, it could be a more economical choice.

Biking or walking should be considered in case distances are not too great on your regular route. Not only is it good exercise, you would be doing your bit for the environment too. Of course, this is not a good idea if you are studying in an area known for poor weather or poor law and order conditions.

Assess all of these factors to decide whether you really need a car immediately. If the answer is yes, give some serious thought to buying a used car as opposed to a new one. It is always better to err on the side of caution in matters like these, as the financial implications of choices made during college can be very far-reaching