Personal Finance: My priorities when buying a car.

When people go to buy a car, there are lots of different reasons for doing so, which means different models and types of cars will be chosen. Some people want cool cars with high speed and luxury features like sun roofs and stereo upgrades. Some people want big, powerful diesel cars to pull heavy materials or a trailer. Others want big vans with lots of seats so they can take their entire family or group of friends in one vehicle. Still others want hybrids or electrics so they can silently shout out, “Save the planet!” And there are some people who just want a car to take them places, even if it means getting a 5-year-old four-seater with little or no features. Here are some of the things I would consider (or will) when I buy my first car.

  1. Cheap up-front costs. I am a 13-year-old with not very much money to my name, and I would like not to have to spend 10 years paying $4,000 a year just to pay off a loan. I am willing to sacrifice storage space, seats, and extra features because of this and because my parents already own a 15-passenger van.
  2. Reliability. Similar to the above, but long-term instead of short-term. I do not want to have to keep sending my car into the shop to repair this or that. A used car is usually a better deal than a new one, but I do not want to buy a really cheap used car only to find it breaks 5 times a year.
  3. Fuel economy, though important, is not as big of a concern as the above two. Gas prices are currently very low, and I would rather spend less on a car up-front than get an expensive one with good fuel economy.

This said, I believe the primary difference between my reasoning and that of most teens is that I am 13 and do not quite yet know exactly what I need yet. Other than that however, the main difference is that I do not want to have a big loan, and am willing to get a smaller and cheaper car in exchange for less trouble over debt.

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