Buying a car for your new family
When you reach the stage in your life where you’re starting your own family, you have some important decisions to make. One of these decisions is which car you are going to buy. It may not sound that important but you’d be surprised how important having the right car becomes and how much easier it can make your family life.
Because this is a decision which can affect a large portion of your life, you need to take the time to think it through properly. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you choose your car.
1. How many people are in your family? (And will there be more?)
The number one reason for buying a new family car is to have more passenger space. You need to make sure that whatever you buy has space for all of your family members, and maybe even extra space for friends of your children or other family members who you are giving lifts to. If you’re planning to have a baby in the near future, it might be worth buying a car with an extra space for it, as no new parent needs the extra expense of a new car. You may also want to think about luggage space. Options such as the Fiat 500L Trekking or the Fiat 500L MPW (Multi Purpose Wagon) are great options.
2. Do you need multiple cars?
If you are not the only family member who drives, you might find that it is easier to have multiple cars than one large one. Two small cars will save driveway or parking space and will make it easier not only for multiple people to get to work but also for transporting children around to different activities. However, if it is not absolutely necessary to have two cars then you are better off buying one larger one so that you can keep everyone together. This will be helpful for everything from school drop offs to vacations where you may need to take extra luggage with you.
3. What is your budget?
You need to make sure you have set yourself a strict budget before you start looking for a car because dealers will try to persuade you to buy something more expensive, and if you haven’t thought through how much money you can afford to spend, you may well be persuaded. You need to set a limit and refuse to pay anything over it, because as you probably know, family life can leave you pretty strapped for cash. If you like a car which is a little over your budget, don’t underestimate the power of haggling. Most car dealers will be much happier to sell a car for a little under the asking price than not sell it at all. Think of the sticker price as a starting price and go from there.
Make sure you think about long term costs and not just the upfront price. How fuel efficient is the car you’re buying? Does it emit high amounts of carbon dioxide? The lower the emissions, the lower the road tax on it will be. How likely is it that something will go wrong with the car and if it does, how expensive will it be to fix?
There are lots of things that contribute to your car expenses and you should take them all into consideration.
4. How often will you be driving? (And how long will your journeys be?)
If you are going to be driving short distances, then you’re much better off getting a petrol car than a diesel car. Diesels can do more miles per gallon, so they seem like the more efficient option, but this is only true for long distance drivers because they contain filters which will get clogged up with smoke if the fuel is not used. This can cause damage to the car. Petrol is better for short distances as it costs less per gallon and won’t be wasted. Since it’s a family car you’re buying, the chances are most of your journeys will be short ones, such as the school run and the journey to work.
5. How long are you going to keep your car for?
You’re probably planning on keeping the car for a few years and you may not have set an exact length of time, but this is something you need to think about because of depreciation. Your car will lose value over time and if you’re planning on keeping it for a long time, you need to find out how much value it is likely to lose so that you are aware of the price you’ll get for it when you sell it. This is something people often don’t think about when considering the cost of a car but it is all a part of the investment, and could determine the kind of car you end up with afterwards. Thinking about this will also help you decide on how to pay your road tax. If you only want to keep the car for a short amount of time, then you might be better off paying in six month blocks, whilst you can save money on a long term car by paying yearly.