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  • Simona Kalachov

Expectations VS Reality: Your First Car 🏎️

Ready to hit the road in style with your first car? We know the excitement of owning your four-wheeled freedom machine is at an all-time high, but let's take a pit stop and talk about the expectations vs. reality of car payments and how to navigate this wild ride without veering off course. We all have those "dream cars" that we've drooled over since childhood – those sleek sports cars or luxurious beasts that seem to be ripped straight out of a movie. However, for most of college students, our first car is more likely to be a trusty, budget-friendly compact car. And guess what? That's absolutely okay! These little gems are not only reliable but also pocket-friendly when it comes to monthly payments

Don't fret, though. Just because you can't rock that supercar yet doesn't mean you won't get there someday. Start with a practical choice that fits your current budget, and who knows, maybe that dream car is just a few promotions away!

  1. Practical First Car: Honda Civic 🚗 Average Cost: $20,000 Down Payment: 10% ($2,000) Loan Term: 5 years (60 months) Interest Rate: 4% Monthly Payment: Around $350

  2. Budget-Friendly Choice: Toyota Corolla 🚙 Average Cost: $18,000 Down Payment: 10% ($1,800) Loan Term: 5 years (60 months) Interest Rate: 4.5% Monthly Payment: Approximately $320

  3. Unattainable Dream Car: Lamborghini Aventador 🏎️ Average Cost: Whoa! Around $400,000 (or even more!) Down Payment: 20% ($80,000) - for argument's sake Loan Term: 6 years (72 months) - since it's an extravagant dream Interest Rate: 5% - because supercars can come with higher rates Monthly Payment: An eye-watering $5,300 (approx.)

  4. More Realistic Dream Car: Ford Mustang 🐎 Average Cost: $35,000 Down Payment: 15% ($5,250) Loan Term: 5 years (60 months) Interest Rate: 4.5% Monthly Payment: Around $600

While that shiny sports car might seem like a showstopper, getting buried in debt is far from ideal. Opt for a car that fits comfortably into your budget and focus on saving money for those future "dream car" goals.

TIPS to Stay on the Right Track 🛣️

  1. Save Up for a Down Payment: Put some cash in the tank before starting your car-buying journey. A down payment can significantly reduce your monthly payments and save you a load of stress down the road.

  2. Budget Wisely: Make a list of all car-related expenses and stick to it. You don't want to end up living on ramen noodles just to keep your car afloat!

  3. Research and Negotiate: Shop around for the best deals on cars and insurance. Don't be afraid to haggle; it's part of the car-buying game!

  4. Avoid Long Loan Terms: Opt for shorter loan terms if possible. A longer loan might seem tempting with lower monthly payments, but you'll end up paying more in interest.

  5. Carpool and Car-Sharing: If your college campus offers car-sharing programs, take advantage of them. Carpooling with friends can also save you money on gas and parking.

By choosing a practical first car, planning for expenses, and staying budget-savvy, you'll be cruising confidently and responsibly toward your future "dream car" goals. Remember, the road ahead is full of adventure – just make sure it's an adventure you can afford!

Safe driving and happy cruising! 🚀


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