Graduating from high school or college is an exciting time. If you’re lucky enough to come home to find a shiny new car in your driveway—congratulations! But if you need to co-fund or pay for a new ride on your own, then we’re here to help. We’ve outlined the top five tips for purchasing the right car for you.

Know What You Can Afford

While you’re likely envisioning something speedy and sporty, sadly the boring budget part must come first.  Review exactly how much you can afford to pay, thinking about both a down payment and the monthly loan installments. Of course, don’t forget you’ll need to pay for insurance, gas, and budget for future repairs. 

Carefully Research Student and College Discounts

Fortunately, there are often special deals for graduates if you’re willing to spend the time researching online, as well as asking in-person at the dealerships. These programs can include discounts, rebates, and even cash-back incentives.

Get Preapproved

Getting pre-approved for a car loan will show car dealers that you’re serious about the purchase. It also tells you and the sales person exactly what you can afford so you can save yourself from being oversold out of your budget. It will also give you, the buyer, more power when negotiating the best deal on the ride you really want.

Consider Reliability and Safety

Although these two features may not be high on your car-shopping list, they are important aspects to consider. Bluetooth and power windows are great, but you need to get from point A to point B without worry. Choosing a Certified Pre-Owned car is one way to purchase an affordable and reliable car. They often include roadside assistance and extended warranties as well. Or, check out U.S. News for its recent slideshow on “Best cars for recent graduates for 2021,” which includes detailed reviews on 14 models.  

Shop For Insurance Quotes

It’s no secret that inexperienced drivers will face higher premiums on car insurance, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the first quote you get. Many insurers offer discounts to young drivers who can show proof of good grades, will be driving a safe and reliable car, and who have also completed a driver’s safety education course. Of course, being added to your parents’ existing auto policy can also help make insurance costs more reasonable—if they’re willing and able to help out.


Ready to finance your next ride? Visit our website or call a Member Specialist today at 800-422-5852 to learn more or to get your preapproval started.