Now that your family is growing, it’s time to get a car that will better suit your needs. However, rushing to get a new car when you’re not financially ready could do more harm than good, especially when the cost of raising a child is steadily increasing each year. But with careful financial planning, expectant parents can set themselves up for success. Here’s what you can do to make sure you don’t overspend on your first family car.
Touch Up Your Old Car Before Selling
The better shape your old car is in, the better its trade-in, or resale price, will be. While any major repairs should be left to the pros, you can do small fixes yourself to save serious dough. This includes washing your car, replacing headlamps, changing fluids, replacing damaged wipers, and touching up scratches.
Touching up a car yourself may seem daunting, but some DIY brands are making the process fool-proof. Feedback on AutomotiveTouchup illustrates just how manageable these jobs can be; the most challenging step is color-matching, and if your car has its original paint job, this can be as simple as locating your car’s paint code. By doing this job yourself, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars, which means it’ll be easier to afford the car that’s perfect for your growing family.
Cheaper Isn’t Necessarily More Affordable
Many car buyers make the mistake of simply looking at the figure on the price tag. But just because a car is cheaper doesn’t mean that it’ll cost you less in the long run. Think about the costs associated with maintaining a car. Is the car easy to maintain? How easy will it be to get spare parts? How fuel-efficient is the car? And of course, your primary goal as a parent is to make sure that your child is safe. Take a car’s safety rating into account before purchasing, as this is where you can’t afford to cut corners.
Many new parents up having to trade in their new car sooner than they’d planned, after realizing that the car wasn’t suitable for their family’s needs. Look for cars with a good height so you can easily get your infant in and out of the car, and make sure that there are air conditioning vents in the back. Also, consider the position of the back windshield — will the sun shine directly on a child in a rear-facing car seat? If you’re planning on using a stroller, it’s important to get a car that has enough storage space for it.
Plan Way Ahead
It’s a good idea to get a car that will give your family more room to grow, especially if you plan on having more than one child. Make sure that your car has enough LATCH systems to accommodate multiple car seats. Even if you plan on having only one child, you’ll probably have to drive other children around at one point or another, so it’s always a good idea to have extra space.
Make sure to also factor in the legroom in the back seat. This may not matter so much when your baby’s still small, but children grow faster than you realize. Trust me, there are few things more miserable than getting kicked in the back constantly on a long road trip!
If possible, ask if you can test out a car before purchasing anything. Many car dealers will allow you to even install your car seat in a car you’re interested in. But whatever car you choose, strap yourself in and brace yourself for an exciting ride as new parents. You’ve got this!