As a student in high school or college, getting your first car is an incredibly exciting and potentially life-changing event. However, since students generally do not have experience purchasing cars, it’s a good idea to do some research on how to get the best bang for your buck. To help you in this endeavor, here are some useful car buying tips for students.

1. Cars actually cost more than just their purchase price. You need to take into consideration operating costs. Some cars tend to break down more often than others and require additional maintenance, so make sure to remember this when choosing a car.

2. Don’t forget about the cost of insurance! If you can’t afford insurance, then you might not be ready to buy a car. If you shop around though, you may be able to find a better price than just going along with the first company you contact. Ask about good student discounts – many insurance companies offer a lower rate if you have consistently good grades.

3. If you don’t feel comfortable with the salesperson you are working with, go to the manager and ask for a different one. You don’t have to deal with a salesperson that pressures you or makes you feel uncomfortable. Be assertive and don’t let anyone bully you.

4. Make yourself a budget and keep to it. Some additional options may be extremely attractive, but will end up costing you extra money that you simply cannot afford. Remind yourself that going deeper into debt is simply not worth those leather seats.

5. Once you’ve decided on a price, it’s time to negotiate. Salespeople often will quote you a deliberately high price with the expectation that you will try to talk them down. Don’t be shy – see if you can get that price lower!

6. If you do a lot of driving, it will be in your best interests to pick a car that is fuel efficient. A gas guzzler will cost you ridiculous amounts of money in the long run.


7. Take your time when signing the contract. Be sure to actually read the contract and check if there are any unexpected fees and extras being thrust upon you without your knowledge. Contracts are often filled with hard to understand text and small print, so if you don’t understand something, ask!

8. Shop around before settling on a particular dealership. Some dealerships may offer special incentives such as cash rebates, low-interest financing, or discounts for students.

9. Before you settle on a particular car model, research its reliability rating and take a look at consumer reports. This research will help you determine if the car is well built and has high safety ratings.

10. Talk to a friend or family member that drives the same make or model of car. Tell them that you’re interested in purchasing a similar vehicle and ask them if they have any positive or negative things to say about their car. You might find out the car your looking at isn’t right for you or you might find out that its a perfect fit.

This is a guest post by Ryan Embly from the discount car rental website Car Rental Express.