When our children are very young, the milestones come thick and fast. Their first steps, words and teeth all follow quickly after each other. Once they start school, things start to slow down a little and milestones like a first adult tooth, exams, first kiss, and moving schools are fairly far apart. This doesn’t mean that they are any less important or worth celebrating. One of these later milestones is buying their first car. Your child learning to drive is probably something that terrifies you but helping them to buy a car is a great way to offer them advice, make sure they are safe, and maybe even help them with the financial burden. Here are some tips to help you.
Agree on a Budget
Whether you are buying your child’s first car for them as a gift, helping to pay, or they’ve saved to buy it themselves, you’ll want to make a budget with them. This is probably the biggest purchase of your child’s life so far, so even if it’s their money, you should help to set a reasonable budget, making sure they don’t spend more than they need to, and that they take their time to look for the best value for money.
Budget for Safety and Extra Features
In brand-new cars, there are generally plenty of safety features included. But your child’s first car might not be as high-tech. Make sure you budget for extra safety features that aren’t included as standard, as well as things like private DVLA number plates that your child might like to include.
Think About Tax and Insurance
The car itself isn’t always the biggest financial burden of driving. There’s tax and fuel and for most young, new drivers, the cost of insurance can be far more than the cost of the car itself. Safe, reliable, and family-type cars are often cheaper to insure than other models. Make sure you know what your child can afford and that you find a car with lower insurance premiums.
Consider Their Needs
When looking for a car with your child, it’s important that you think about their needs, and not yours. Do they have a hobby that means that they’ll need lots of storage space? Will they be driving in the city, or out in the country? Will they need lots of legroom?
A reliable car means that your child will pay less for insurance and that they will be safer out on the road. They might be tempted by something speedy, but reliability is more important.
Encourage Good Habits
Use shopping for a car to encourage good habits. Talk to your child about the importance of driving sensibly and taking care of their car. Helping them to find a vehicle that they love will help them to care more about it.
Buying a first car is a big step. It’s one of the ways that your child gains independence and is part of their finding their own way. After this, things start to change rapidly. Helping them to make this purchase gives you peace of mind that they are safe on the road.