How to Afford a Car if You Are a College Student

a guy in a tiger shirt is thinking about a car

Many students decide to buy their first car while studying in college, especially the ones who don’t live on campus or need to get to their work every day. However, is it really necessary considering how much it costs? Eventually, you have some other things to pay for, including your tuition. If you are considering whether you should buy a car or not, you should read this article where we share the best tips on how you can afford and pick your first car without struggling.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Car in College

Of course, when talking about such a big purchase, we should start with the pros and cons of it. So, here is the list of things that might help you make a decision about whether you should buy one or not.


  • Getting everywhere you need. The ability to drive yourself to and from campus, choose the job depending on the perspectives and career, and not because it is near to where you live – these things are much appreciated when you have them and very missed when you don’t.
  • Being a driver and owning a car is something that might really help you establish a better relationship with your college mates and give you high status. It might also allow you to attend various parties and events, help you with your job a little, or even give you a promotion. In other words, owning a car gives you a lot of opportunities.


  • Always being a driver. That’s what many car owners experience, especially through their college years – they are always expected to drive their friends. It’s not that big of a deal if your friends can split the gas bill, but if they take advantage of your generosity and it makes you uncomfortable, you should definitely tell them how you feel. What makes a situation even less pretty is that you, as a driver, should always be sober in a company of drinking friends – that’s sad.
  • It’s not cheap. Buying a car is not the end – you will need to spend a lot of money every month. Gas, insurance, spare parts – the costs depend on the car that you buy, but they are always there when you need to care about your automobile.

Tips on Buying a Car as a College Student

Of course, buying a car is a big step for anyone, especially for a student with all the bills to pay and all the tasks to manage at the same time. However, if you made a decision to buy a car and feel that you will really benefit from this purchase, there are ways to make your dream come true. Here are a few tips on how you can afford a car while studying in college.

Start Saving as Early as You Can

This is the tip for everyone who considers buying a car later in their college years. Start saving now if you haven’t started yet. Just like with your tuition payment, the earlier you start saving, the faster you get rid of the loan. It might seem like a huge sum to manage, but with a meal plan on your hands and some self-discipline, you will be able to do it much faster than you think.

Choose Wisely

When choosing the car to buy, pay attention to these factors:

  • A used car. There are multiple options for a college student to choose from when buying a car, but what remains the same – a used car is probably the wisest choice. It costs significantly less than a new car, and you can find some really good deals on the Internet. You can also check for some pre-owned cars to buy at a dealership.
  • If it’s a new car that you are buying, make sure to check the financing options that you have. It’s best to choose the one that you can put as much down possible, considering interest charges that you will need to pay later. When buying a new car, you have an opportunity to negotiate a loan or a lease, which will make the purchase much more affordable.

  • Pay attention to its efficiency ratings. The price of gas might not be the things that you are thinking about now, before buying a car, but when you own one, it matters a lot. Choose the car accordingly to its EPA mileage ratings and avoid buying gas-guzzlers as they are much more expensive to fill up compared to gas-sipping vehicles.
  • Size and mobility. This is also one of the most important characteristics of a car. If you need a car to drive to your campus or classes, you should avoid buying big cars that will be a problem to find a parking spot for or maneuver in traffic.

Search for a Cosigner

Having bad credit or no credit score at all might be a problem when negotiating loan options. Finding a cosigner is a way to make you get approved faster. Talk to your parents or friends is they can be a cosigner for you in this deal. Remember that this person will have to take a risk, so you should make sure you stay on top of your payments and don’t ruin their credit score.

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