You Can Buy a Used Car For a College Student

You Can Buy a Used Car For a College Student
  • Opening Intro -

    With college costs spiraling ever higher, families are looking for ways to cut back on college costs.

    One way to contain costs is to have young adult children continue living at home, forgoing dorm life and commuting to school instead.


Save money on a late model used car.

The trade off here is that your young student will need a car and everyone knows that used cars don’t come cheaply. Fortunately, there are some options available to you, including some lower cost choices that will make it worthwhile for your student to commute.


— If you lease a new car, then you can expect to make payments for up to three years and make a significant down payment. There are two ways to contain your leasing costs. First, visit a website such as or to find lease deals from current owners. You may not want to commit to a long term lease and you might be able to find a good deal on a late model car. Once the lease is over, you’ll be responsible for returning it to the leasing company. BTW, consider the hidden value of leasing a car as outlined by the New York Times.

The second choice is to lease new, keeping an eye out for specials. At year end and at other times of the year, car manufacturers are looking to push inventory. GM, for example, has several no money down lease deals available as of this writing. For example, a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze 2LS can be leased for just $199 per month for 39 months, no money down.

Family Car

— Is it time to turn your family car into someone else’s used car? This is one of the easiest ways to get someone behind the wheel of a car — give them your car and buy a new one. If you don’t have a car ready to sell, then contact only family members and friends to see what they have available. Buying from someone you know is better than buying from a stranger.

Used Cars

— Besides family cars, there are some reputable places to buy a used car. Those days of rip-off used car dealers haven’t disappeared, but the problem has been minimized as car manufacturers market “certified used cars,” putting the company’s stamp of approval on a late model or older used car. Also consider for local deals on cars that come with a guarantee. Your son may not be able to get that 2012 Ford Mustang V-6 he wants, but he could end up with late model Mustang or Focus that will get him where he needs to go.

Other Options

— When you find out just how much it costs to buy even a five-year-old used car, you may begin to rethink the whole “staying at home” strategy. Don’t be discouraged — consider your options including lending one or both family cars out as needed, buying bus transportation tickets for your student and car pooling. The latter can be possible by posting advertisements at college or on Craigslist, making it easier for students to connect.

Final Thoughts

Finally, when you do find a car that you like, give it to your mechanic for a thorough review to ensure that no problems are left unnoticed. You’ll invest $50 to $75 for a fresh set of mechanical eyes and his opinion, but gain some assurance that the car will help your student get through college without a major repair bill in the offing.

College Campus reference:

manage college money

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Categories: Campus Cars