Car Buying Tips From The Pros

Car Buying Tips From The Pros

Your first car: was it a gift or did you buy it?
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The gift of a new car is more than a lot of us can say we've received.

Sure, many situations require driving at a young age, but I think we can all relate to the pit you get in your stomach watching a 16-year-old text behind the wheel of a new Porsche. On a less dramatic note, it can be equally unsatisfying when all of your friends receive cars at some point in high school while your parents continue to expect that you earn one on your own.

Sitting here 10 years later, I've realized my parents did me a favor. Granted, having a car growing up would have been nice, and surely would have given me more freedom. But walking away from buying my first car on my own gave me a taste of independence that became addicting. I started looking into insurance plans, took my dad's name off of my bank accounts, and I applied for a credit card. The more established that I could get on my own terms, the better I felt.

Not only did I grow more confident in my ability to support myself, but I also learned the basics behind car shopping. Make sure the title is clear, check the Carfax, know the difference between buying and leasing, and most importantly, is this car in my price range? I’ve seen so many friends go broke trying to stay on top of car payments. Accepting that I won’t be sitting in my new Mercedes anytime soon really helped me set realistic expectations as a buyer.

I learned to use tons of cool tools like a car payment calculator to help estimate how much my payments would be for each car I considered. I also checked the Kelly Blue Book value and compared it to asking prices. TrueCar can give you that information too. After wrapping my head around reasonable prices for prospective cars, I used Carjojo to locate models close to me that I was interested in.

Once you’ve set your eyes on a car, it’s important to prepare for insurance costs. Insurify compares different rates to find you the lowest quote. Using online resources can be helpful, but if you’re buying a used car there is an additional set of important questions to ask.

  • Where did the car come from? (private or commercial owner)
  • Is the title clear? (i.e. is it salvaged)
  • Has it ever been in an accident?
  • Is the powertrain all original?
  • Is there a warranty on the vehicle?
  • Is there any rust damage/has there ever been?
  • Are all the OEM accessories included?
  • Have there been any recalls?
  • Are there any known defects?
  • What is your seller history? (Google them and read some reviews)

These are just a few important ones, I recommend bringing a car savvy friend along while you test drive. Aside from learning how to shop smart, I picked up a new sense of appreciation too. If you want nice things, you’re going to have to work hard for them. Long blog short, thank you mom and dad. And to parents, maybe consider the long term benefits of making your kid work for their car.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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