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Hauling 5-kilo textbooks across hour-long commutes to and from uni can be a bit of a hassle. However, considering buying a car can introduce a new, comfortable way to tackling student life and it is not as daunting as it may seem. These easy steps can assist you in making the smartest purchase, ensuring a safe and comfortable ride to uni classes, work shifts and weekend adventures.

Main Points:

  • First point of call is to do your research: know what’s available and what you actually need in your car.
  • Safety comes first.  Hint-hint: the safer your vehicle, the cheaper the insurance.
  • Style:  Factors such as car size and fuel efficiency capabilities can save a lot of time and money in the long-run
  • Cost:  Setting a budget and factoring in ongoing costs is essential 
  • Get Advice:  Getting an older friend or family member to check out your final choice can give you a guarantee that you’re making the right decision. 

Step 1: Narrow down your options:

As a student, it may seem a bit of a stretch to want to buy the latest in luxury cars. So to start off in the right direction, ask your fellow uni friends or peers for their advice, as well as online forums. For P-platers the go-to brands are usually a second-hand Hyundai, Toyota or Honda. 

Make sure you’re researching your options by figuring out what you need more than what you want. Features like GPS and traffic monitoring systems aren’t really needed as most of us now use our phones for that.  At the same time, don’t lean towards run-down sketchy cars affected from flood damage or previous serious accidents.  Avoid cars older than 10 years old or with a mileage in the six-digit range. 

Make sure you prioritise safety features such as airbags and emergency brake capabilities.  This rewards you in the long-term as insurance rates would be lower, the safer the car is. Going for a smaller car comes with a lot of perks with cheaper prices and less petrol consumption, not to mention easy accessibility in the busy maze of uni parking. 

Step 2: Stick to your budget

Unless you’re majoring in Finance, I doubt this process seems thrilling for you; however it is easier than you think with the help of the internet. There are easy to access comparison tables that summarise general car running costs from registration, insurance and average weekly upkeep costs that make the budgeting process much easier and understandable.

Once you’ve got your basic budget, look for used cars within your capable price range. As a student, paying everything upfront may not be a realistic option, but don’t fret because there are special loans available specifically for students buying their first car. The budgeting process is the easiest way to shrink down your extensive car option list, allowing you to make a decision quicker, leading you one step closer to the finalisation stage. Getting your finances sorted before you head to the car yard can add another level of confidence to the whole process.

Step 3: Get the final thumbs up

You’re almost there, getting nearer to the purchase day can be exciting, however it’s important not to rush this part of the process. Asking advice from an experienced car owner is essential to knowing you’re making the right decision. You’d be surprised to find that there were small things you overlooked that others can point out for you. Having someone inspect the car and ensure there are no loop holes in the paperwork for the car or insurance is essential as it may all look like gibberish to you. For a last minute checklist and other factors to consider, the NSW Government has provided an in-depth car buyers guide to help make your car purchase.  Once you get the final OK, it’s all systems go without a single worry, knowing that a trusted advisor approves your purchase. 

As a student, there are many factors that can add to your stress levels, so buying a car to help ease this stress is not a luxury, it is a necessity for some. The regular commute with public transport especially in rural communities is not a reliable source. With your own car, you can reduce the high-priced fares, have more flexibility with uni or work schedules and have no limits on your weekend getaways.  With these simple steps, the process can be made easier; allowing you to be confident your first car has got your back through your student life experiences.

Important information

Information on this website is general and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this information is suitable for your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on the information provided.