Have a new teen driver under your roof? It'a a bittersweet time in every parent's life when their 'baby' becomes a licensed driver. They've grown up right before your eyes, and now they are ready to assume the huge responsibility of driving on their own. While it's likely to cause anxiety for parents, all the teen wants to do is to get out on the road, preferably in their own set of wheels. Both parents and teens have an idea about what the teen's first car should be. Rather than winding up in an argument with your teen, think about what type of car you think would be a wise choice for your new driver, and be ready to have a conversation with your child to help them understand your reasoning.
Will your teen be driving the family car? In many families, there just isn't extra money in the budget to buy the teen a new/used car. If the teen will be sharing the family car, talk about the reasons why. There's nothing wrong with showing your teen how much it costs to own and maintain a car. Let them see payment stubs from past car payments, as well as insurance bills. Keep records of any maintenance and repair bills, visits to car washes, and also show them a monthly total for gasoline. Your teen may be very surprised by how much money is spent every month on just the family car.
Do you have an older car that your teen will inherit? Some families will use the new driver's milestone as a reason to upgrade the parent's car or family car, and pass the older car onto the new driver. This may be the better way to go, if it's an option for your family. Chances are, the family car is safe, reliable, and is one that your teen is already familiar with, especially if they have learned to drive in that car. Your teen may not love the family car, but passing it onto them is better than them having no car at all. Plus, it allows mom and/or dad to go car shopping and upgrade to something a little newer.
If you do have the funds to purchase a car for your teen, get ready for the possibility of an argument from your child. They probably have a list of 'dream cars' that they'd love to be seen driving, or cars that some of their friends might have. Be ready to have an open discussion with your teen. Listen to their ideas, and go through their list of cars with them, one by one. List the cars from highest to lowest in price, and then rate the cars for safety. Add your own cars to the list, and talk about them with your teen. Doing this will help to open your teen's eyes to the expense of the car, and will help them understand the importance of choosing a safe car. It'll also give them a taste of what it's like to shop for a car as an adult.
Take your list to the dealership, and let your teen look around, with a number in mind, as well as a good idea as to what you're looking for in safety and features. There's no rule that says that parents have to buy a car for their teen drivers, so stick to your budget, and your guns when it comes to safety. Allow your child to voice their opinion, and try to come to a fair compromise on style, budget and safety.
If the car that your teen really wants is out of your range budget-wise, help them come up with a plan to save for the car they really want. Offer an older car in the meantime, and encourage them to work hard to meet their savings goals for the car they really do want.
Brought to you by Junction Auto Sales.