Having a car when you’re in college can be very handy.
After all, part of the fun of attending college is having the chance to explore the area around your college campus.
Or, if you’re a commuting student, having a car is almost an essential.
Affording that car, on the other hand, can be a little trickier. If you can’t afford to pay cash for a car, taking out an auto loan is your only other option. Affording that auto loan, then, is crucial to ensuring you have your car to utilize for years to come.
Be Wise with Credit
The best way to make your auto loan more affordable is to lower your interest rate. One of the best ways to do that is to have a good credit score and a good credit history. Auto loan companies take a close look at your credit history to determine your ability to pay off the auto loan you’re applying for.
While it can take a while to build good credit, you can ruin it in a hurry. That’s why it’s so important to be wise with credit in other purchases you make to ensure that $.75 candy bar you put on a credit card but forgot to pay off doesn’t end up costing you thousands in interest payments on a car you purchase.
Keep It Manageable
Though driving onto campus in a brand new car might make you feel like a million bucks, you don’t want to end up actually paying a million bucks just for that privilege. College is your stepping stone to allow you to get a high-paying career so you can afford that nice, new car. Until then, stick with something more conservative that will cost less up front, thus keeping your payments more affordable.
Find a Side Hustle
Since the focus of your college years is, or at least should be, learning, you probably won’t have much free time to earn a lot of money to pay for an auto loan. To help earn some extra cash, it’s a good idea to find a side hustle you can do in your spare time, whenever it’s convenient for you. Whether it’s designing logos, taking surveys, or cleaning toilets, just find something that someone will pay you for so you can have the money when your monthly payment comes due.
Sure, that local pizza place in town serves delicious pizza, but indulging in it every few nights isn’t going to leave much room in your budget for a car payment. Though it can be tempting to spend a lot as you get your first taste of true independence, do everything you can to keep your spending in check to ensure there’s always enough left over to cover your car payment. It comes down to asking yourself what’s truly important, and if a stuffed crust all-meat pizza is more important to you than being able to afford your car payment, perhaps you shouldn’t have purchased a car in the first place.
Having a car certainly provides a high level of convenience. If you live on-campus or if your college is in a big city, though, it’s likely you can do without one. If you can’t afford a car but need a ride, there’s always ride sharing apps or simply making friends with people who do have a car. This could allow you to save money to get the car you really want not long after you graduate.
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