There is no doubt that family living can be expensive. Wonderful, rewarding, and all the other amazing things – but expensive.
There is also no doubt that having a car makes many aspects of family life much easier. You can ferry your kids to different sports practices and after-school activities; you can bulk-buy at the grocery store and know you can carry everything home. But if you put these two things together – the expense of raising a family and the usefulness of a family car – then they are immediately in direct competition. Cars as expensive in and of themselves, with their upfront purchase price by far the biggest outlay.
Due to the above, parents are often tempted to make a series of bad decisions to try and stretch their finances to a vehicle. Given the importance of both financial management and getting a car that’s safe, this is a decidedly bad idea. If you’re in the middle of contemplating a new (or replacement) car purchase designed for a family, then you need to know the errors – so you can avoid falling into the same pothole.
Mistake: Buying secondhand because it’s cheaper.
Can secondhand cars be decent buys, reliable, worth your time? Yes, they can. But if your only concern is purchase price, then you could be storing up problems for later. If you don’t do your due diligence on a car before buying it as your eyes are too fixed on the perceived bargain before you, then you’re going to be in trouble. At best this scenario results in expensive repair bills; at worst, you drive away with something cheap but dangerous.
Rectify: Always treat a secondhand purchase with as much scrutiny as possible. Be skeptical; ask questions; ask for receipts of any work the seller claims has been done. If you don’t get satisfactory answers, then walk away.
Mistake: Assuming you can’t afford a new or good quality car.
Why do people take risks in the first place? Because they assume, based on their circumstances, their credit history, or a potent combination of the two, that they won’t be able to afford a new car. Pushing yourself into a bad deal on an assumption is not worth it.
Rectify: Do your research and be sure you can’t afford a new car before you do so. There are various schemes and deals available to offer financing even if it’s problematic for you; if that sounds attractive and you want more information, you can check it out and decide for yourself. New cars are more reliable and more protected against manufacturer fault.
Mistake: They don’t know what they’re looking for.
If you’ve just driven a car before without much attention to the mechanics of it, you might not be the best-qualified person to make a decision on whether a car is roadworthy. There’s nothing more dangerous than thinking you know something when you don’t.
Rectify: Consult plenty of tips like those found in this video to make sure you’re on the right track.