What do you need to learn about car buying when you become a parent? Lesson number one: You don’t get the sports car. Nope, those don’t fit car seats very well. And then there’s the lack of adequate safety features for the kiddos.
If you’re a new parent, you’ve probably already realized that everything changes. You learn to run on three hours of completely interrupted sleep and learn to appreciate your cold coffee (because that’s the only kind you’re getting). Even the process of car buying changes.
Here are a few things you’ll need to know about car buying as a parent:
1. You’ll reconsider your family
In the best way possible, of course. As you start thinking about what kind of vehicle to purchase, you’ll start thinking about whether your family is complete. Are you planning another child or two? Maybe a large dog is in the near future? If you don’t think you’re done adding to your family, you may consider getting an SUV or minivan (if you aren’t already considering one).
2. Safety comes before everything
Before you had kids, leather seats and moonroofs were your main priority. Now, it’s side-curtain airbags and lane departure warnings. Even though you’ll also get the top-of-the-line car seat, you can’t be too careful when it comes to the safety of your precious cargo.
3. Your proverbial purse strings get tighter
Another thing you’ll quickly learn about kids is that they’re expensive. It’s not just the diapers and formula. It’s braces and college tuition. It’s clothes and toys. It’s everything. With kids, you have more of a reason to save for a rainy day. That means that less of your money can go to a car payment. Not only does the car have to be safe, but it also has to fit within a tighter budget than you had before kids.
4. You’ll become addicted to research
No one wants to get taken for a fool at the dealership. That’s why you’ll need to arrive prepared. Figure out whether you’re looking for financing or leasing options and try to find a dealer who is motivated to sell. You’ll get the best deal from a dealer who offers strong incentives. These are discounts you’ll get on top of whatever you negotiate.
In order to find the best incentives, you’ll need to be sure of the make and model you’re after. If you arrive with a few cars in mind, it’ll be more difficult to keep track.
5. You’ll reconsider leasing
Even if you don’t drive many miles, you may reconsider leasing your vehicle. Leasing is akin to renting a vehicle, and it does come with some stipulations. One such requirement is that you return the vehicle in similar shape to how you got it. That can be difficult when little people are cramming fruit snacks so far in-between the seats that the only thing that can catch them is dog hair. Yes, the family car can be a scary place for the neat freak. And although there are some definite pros to leasing, it can be tricky with little ones.
It’s true that car buying changes when you have kids, but it could be a change for the better. You have more to consider before you can make the decision, but that may be a good thing. As a parent, you learn to become more thoughtful and considerate about big decisions like this one. You think things through before jumping into a commitment.
Are you in the market for a new family vehicle? How have things changed for you now that you’re a parent?