When you decide to make the leap and buy a third car for your child who is going away for tertiary studies, you’re going to have to pull off a tricky balancing act.
You’re mostly likely more concerned with safety and reliability, while your son or daughter more pressingly wants to integrate his or her gadgets and drive around something flashy and spacious to entice friends with.
Choosing a model
If you’re forced to finance the student run-around, you’ll be given the best interest rates if you opt for a new vehicle on a motor plan. Fortunately, students are an important market for car manufacturers and you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice.
A good starting point is to look at the entry level model for all major manufacturers (for example Opel Adam, Fiat 500, Renault Sandero, Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, VW Vivo or Move Up!, Datsun GO). Compare all the tech and safety features, such as bluetooth integration and number of airbags before making your choice. (For example, Euro Ncap offers crash test results to compare safety).
Go cash if you can
If you have at least R30 000 cash to spend on a car, even better, because it will save you a fortune in interest. Online advertising sites such as Gumtree are the best places to find cars for sale directly by their owners, but you need to be as cautious with Gumtree ads as you are at second-hand car dealerships. Top tips for ensuring you make a sensible buy are to:
- Check the car for sale’s book value when determining if the price is fair
- Meet the owner at their house to see where the car is kept
- Test drive the vehicle
- Look beneath the bonnet
- Check for a full service history
- Find out how many previous owners the car has had
- Look for signs of previous accident damage
- Choose a vehicle with good after sales dealer support
- Double check that all the paperwork is legitimate and in order as there is a trend in South Africa to steal cars and use the papers of written off vehicles when selling the car
- Ask sellers to verify their identities using Apps such as Thisisme (free to download from Apple stores)
Insurance benefits everyone
Unfortunately, students are known to be irresponsible for a reason. This is the time in their lives when they let their hair down and try new things. While you shouldn’t stifle this freedom, you need to insure that your children and your investment in your children are both protected.
Comprehensive car insurance ensures that you can achieve both as it will pay you out if the car is written off and most policies these days come with a number of assistance services offering night owls and breakdown assistance. Some insurers, such as Santam, even offer Apps (Be Safe) that your children can download to notify their nominee’s of their location on a long journey.
Fitting a third car into your budget
It’s no mean feat paying for all your daily costs as well as another car. First prize, of course, would be for your child to get a weekend job and pay a percentage of the car finance or insurance premium from their own pockets. If not, you may need to make a few cuts on the family holidays in order to fit it into your budget. Lastly, avoid high interest offers such as personal loans in order to finance the vehicle and remember to budget for services and unforeseen mechanical breakdowns as well.
If you need help with planning your budget, the budget planner can assist you.