While being extremely frugal, there are certain cases where I live by the motto: “the cheap is expensive.” When it comes to owning a car, that is certainly the case.
There are many reasons why investing in a car is a wise decision. After all, taking alternative transportation can be costly in terms of time and reduced opportunities.
College students often wonder if they too need a vehicle. For many students, leaving the car at home, particularly during freshman year, could be the right decision.
But for many others, having a car on campus is important and necessary.
If you’re on the fence about buying a car, here are some ideas that may encourage your decision.
Freedom, flexibility and convenience
There’s no question that owning a car provides freedom and flexibility that public transportation and alternative options cannot offer.
Rather than be bound to a small zone or waiting in bus stops for an endless amount of time on a day-to-day basis, a car-owner has the privilege of moving about as necessary.
After all, students still have numerous responsibilities and tasks beyond studying.
Whether it’s buying groceries, exercising at the gym, or even visiting mom and dad, these tasks become less daunting with a car at hand.
Affordable payment options
Students don’t need to buy high-end cars that cost more than their tuition. A simple, safe car that runs properly is enough – there’s no need to go overboard.
An affordable option is to buy a used car rather than spending on a new model. There are even student-centric strategies to find a good deal and finance a car.
A car that is two or three years old is ideal: the price is lower, but it should have a reasonable amount of miles while running almost like a new car.
Car insurance will also be lower for a used vehicle, bringing down the overall cost of owning a car.
Discounted car insurance
Students can be wary about buying a car because of insurance cost concerns, but there’s no need to be hesitant.
There are many ways for students to save money on auto insurance. There are numerous companies offering discounts to college students that are not available to others.
There are also great tips on how college students can save on car insurance, and some may be surprising.
For example, Geico and Allstate offer discounts for high-performing students with great grades, while other companies will provide a discount for taking a defensive driving class.
Opens up rental possibilities
Often times, living in dorms can be less convenient and more expensive than alternative options off-campus.
However, living off-campus can often require a vehicle as university campuses are large and at times located far from residential areas.
By owning a car, a student can look into alternative living arrangements and potentially pay lower rent, balancing out the added costs of the car.
Carpooling apps to split gas payments
Gas costs are always a concern for students – the costs can pile up depending on the engine’s fuel efficiency and mileage.
Fortunately, there are apps today to help split gas costs through carpooling.
There are numerous students who need rides to campus and back and many would be happy to cover their share of gas in exchange for the rides.
Students can also find carpoolers manually, whether it’s by putting up flyers in university campus or publishing on Facebook groups.
Increases work opportunities
Many college students work to cover their expenses. As a matter of fact, nearly 40% of undergraduate students and 76% of graduate students work, with numbers increasing year to year.
Not having a car limits both their availability to work and the opportunities accessible to them.
Without a car, a student needs to consider the added time investment taken up by public transportation and the proximity of the place of work.
Owning a car also opens students to other independent possibilities, like driving for Uber, taking pets to the vet for pay, or delivering packages.
Whether students are working in retail or taking on gigs as freelancers, if they require employment, buying a vehicle is the wiser option.