Learning to drive is a big step for your teenager and when they finally pass their test, they’re going to want their own car. The big question now is, who pays for it? Some parents are happy to buy their teen a car right away but others are more cautious. It’s important to teach them the value of money and people worry about missing that opportunity if they just pay for the car. On the other hand, cars are expensive and saving up on their own can be a challenge. There are pros and cons on both sides and there are a few different options to consider. So, should you buy your teenager their first car or not?
Buy The Car For Them
The first option is to just buy the car for them. The obvious downside here is the cost because you’re already paying for your own car and your finances might not stretch to a second one. You can get around this problem if you look at used cars instead of buying brand new and buy something with a small engine. It’s best to buy a smaller car anyway because it’s less dangerous, and you’ll save a lot of money.
Buying the car yourself means that you have more control over the situation too, and you can make sure they get something sensible. If they have savings of their own, they can be kept aside for something more useful later in life, like their education.
Make Them Pay
Alternatively, you could tell them that if they want a car, they need to save up and pay for it themselves. This might sound harsh and they will probably be upset about it, but it does teach them the value of money. It’s a good way to get them into the habit of saving money, which will help them so much in later life.
On the other hand, it will take them a long time and they will have to put all of their money into it, which means that they might miss out on other things and they don’t have anything set aside for the future.
Splitting the cost between you is often the best option. You can still teach them about money management and they’ll still get that great sense of achievement but it’s more realistic when you are paying half. You’ll still have a say over what they buy, so you can make sure they get a safe car.
Share The Family Car
If your finances are stretched and a second car just isn’t in your budget, you should discuss sharing the family car. If it’s time for an upgrade, let them have a say when you are picking a new family vehicle so they still feel as though it is partly their car. Then, work out a schedule so everybody can use the car when they need to.
For most families, splitting the cost is the best option. But if that isn’t within your budget, you should explain this to your teen and work out a way of sharing the family car.