The moment has arrived; your kid is going to college. While your boy or girl is pretty stoked in starting a new chapter in life, you’re a tad apprehensive, wondering if your child is truly ready to move out of the nest and go to a university miles away from your area of supervision. You don’t want to get in their way either; this is an important time in their life, and they will have to learn many practical lessons on their own, along with the things they also have to pick up in order to get a decent education, preparing them to be part of the country’s workforce.
Before looking too far off into the future, let’s get back to the present. Given that your college student to-be has already been borrowing your car, it’s almost certain that he/she will be wanting their own set of wheels for their use. Of course, this is yet another potential expenditure on your part, if you so decide to partially or fully finance this idea. You want to instill a sense of frugality in your child, but having a vehicle of your own in college does have a lot of advantages that you would certainly want for your offspring. A car can also be considered a distraction from what your kid is going to college for: a learning experience, and a degree to boot.
I’ll make this dilemma a tad easier on you by providing you a few guide questions that will lead you into a well-thought out decision.
Can You Afford it?
Of course, this question comes first. You’re already forking over money for expenses the college loan won’t cover, so do the math and see if there’ll be any left over for a jalopy for your son or daughter to drive around. You don’t really need to buy a new car; just bring a trusted autophile friend of yours to the used car lot, get him/her to help you find a cheap and reliable used car, slap on a set of new discount tires on the thing, and your kid’s got wheels!
Can Your Kid Afford it?
So far, cars don’t run on air and fix themselves (move faster, technology!), so you’ll have to sit down and talk with your college freshman and determine if the fuel and maintenance costs will not lead them to selling their bodies for cash. Kidding aside, cars cost money to maintain, and if getting the money to keep it running is just going to get in the way of their studies, then it’s not a good idea.
How Far is College from Home?
It’s pretty self-explanatory why this guide question is here. The farther it is from the domicile, the more important it is for your son or daughter to have their own transportation. This is especially important in situations where they have to return home for any urgent reason.
How Big is the Campus?
If the college grounds are compact and the buildings are just short walks away from one another, then that’s one point against giving them a car. Also, consider the distance from the university to the housing or dorms. You probably have to go there yourself to confirm, don’t take your kid’s word for it.
Do You Trust Your Kid Enough?
Having their car will allow your freshman to go farther from the university campus, attend parties, hang out with guys/gals who are probably just fishing for a free ride, drive inebriated, and be possibly involved in a host of other incredibly stupid and potentially life-threatening (or life-creating, if you know what I mean) scenarios that would make weaker parents faint. Despite all this, if you trust your kid to do the right thing and be responsible with the privilege of having a car, then go right ahead, make their lives a little easier and more fun.
Think about it, and then decide. To your kid/s, I hope they graduate and get good jobs so they can pay off their college loan before turning 40!
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and was fortunate enough to have been handed down a decent-enough car by her brother when she entered the university. Stacey and her closest gal pals have a blog, Word Baristas.