When it comes to driving, you want your child to have a safe, reliable vehicle. However, you also don’t want to spend a fortune purchasing a car for your teen. Most of the time, parents seek to purchase used vehicles for their teens to use until they can purchase their very own car in their young adult years.
You may have a high schooler who is in the midst of obtaining their driver’s license, and perhaps you’d like to teach them some financial responsibility so they can purchase their own first car. If you purchase the car, having your teen pay you back or at least chip in half can be a great way for your child to appreciate the vehicle they have, the privileges that come with driving, and to possibly have a purchase in their own name. Here are five steps that you and your teen can follow.
1. Figure Out a Price Range to Stick to
First and foremost, you and your teen need to figure out a proper price range to stick to while you’re shopping for vehicles. This price range will likely depend on the average prices of used cars in your state, the minimum wage in your state, and car insurance prices. If you and your teen have determined that you will purchase a vehicle and that they will pay you each month, then this payment must be attainable for your teen to make each month. Figure out how many hours a week your teen can work, what they would be paid, and essentially what they’d be able to swing every month.
You and your teen will also need to determine who will pay the car insurance for your teen’s vehicle, for car repairs, and for routine maintenance. Weather, negligence, fender benders, and high-speed collisions are the four main causes of auto body damage. Be sure your teen is aware of how costly repairs can be if they drive recklessly or fail to take care of their vehicle.
2. Help Your Teen Find a Part-Time Job
Next, help your teen find a part-time job. Here are a few common positions your teen could apply for in your town or city:
- A cashier at a local grocery story
- A salesperson at a retail clothing store
- A busser at a restaurant or diner
- A babysitter and/or pet sitter for neighbors, family friends, or a family in your community
- A tutor for young children
- A gardener
- A dog walker
- A caregiver at a daycare
- A pharmacy technician
- A lifeguard at a community or school pool
- A worker at a food or ice cream stand
Help your teen craft a resume and apply for positions that interest them. If your teen likes to work with young kids, working at a daycare or as a babysitter could be a great opportunity. If your teen wants to go to college for business after high school, perhaps a job in retail or in the food industry would be a good starting point. Be sure your teen finds a position where they can work enough hours to make payments as well as having some spending money.
3. Think About the Kind of Vehicle You and Your Teen Should Look For
The two words to describe the vehicle you’d like your teen to drive are safe and reliable. When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, you should look for a few things:
- A reliable vehicle brand
- The size of the vehicle
- All-wheel drive
- Safety features
- Gas mileage
- Number of miles
- The vehicle’s history report
- The vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book Value
- The salesperson or seller’s price
Based on a vehicle’s features, the value and price should match. A survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that nearly nine out of 10 people (88%) surveyed said they were worried about their financial situation. This is certainly not what you want to happen to your teen. Be sure to find a reliable vehicle that has a matching price when it comes to its quality, age, and safety.
Once your teen has secured a part-time job, you can both start looking. When it comes to shopping for a used car, there are essentially two options: purchase from a dealership or find a person who is selling their own used car. Have your teen do the bulk of the shopping, as they are the one who is essentially going to be paying for the vehicle in the long run. Help your teen utilize filters to limit searches to a particular vehicle brand, price range, number of miles, and year the car was released.
5. Make the Purchase
Once your teen has found a vehicle of their liking in the proper price range, help them schedule an appointment to look at it. Go for a test drive if possible, and be sure to inspect all aspects of the vehicle. Have your teen prepare questions ahead of time to ask the salesperson or seller. This way, they’ll feel more involved and responsible in the car-buying process.
Once you’ve made the purchase, go over some safe driving tips before your teen is officially on the road. Discuss distracted driving when it comes to cell phones and other electronics. Be sure to go over the dangerous results of drinking and driving, as alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. This way, your teen will have a proper understanding of how important safety is when driving, especially when it comes to their very own vehicle that they are essentially financially responsible for.
By having your teen pay for and be fully involved in the car-buying process, they’ll be all the more responsible when it comes to driving. They’ll also appreciate the vehicle and be more likely to take care of it properly. Financial responsibility is best to teach your kids as young as possible, so utilize these steps and tips to help your teen through this important process.