Those child free years are often car-free too. If you live in a large town or city, then it’s easier and more cost-effective to go without, but add kids to the equation and you might need to become a one-car, or even a two-car household. Not everyone is in a position to splash out on a brand-new vehicle, especially when having children and a reduced income can mean you’re on a tight budget. So, if you decide to go down the second-hand car route, here are a few things you need to consider that will ensure your bargain wheels don’t end up costing you more in the long run…
How Second-hand is Second-hand?
Old banger or just a couple of years old? There are obvious financial incentives to paying for an older model outright, but will it last? If you’re transporting young children and babies, then safety is going to be your top priority. Although these cars will be safe if they’ve been looked after and maintained properly, older models just aren’t of the same standard as newer ones. If you’ve decided to look for a newer car, you can make huge savings on models that are only a few years old. Even cars that are only a year old are substantially cheaper than brand new vehicles.
Buying at the Right Time
Basically, you need to pick your moment. If you’ve decided to buy from a car dealer or garage, avoid going at the weekend or the end of beginning of the month as these are the busiest periods and you’ll be much less likely to negotiate a discount or good deal. Do your research to find out when their sale periods are, or when they’re mostly likely to want to offload older models (before new ones get released) and you’ll increase your chances of a getting a good price.
A reputable dealer shouldn’t be selling you a car in poor condition, but there are no such guarantees if buying from a private seller. If you’re not confident checking the working order of the car, take someone with you who knows what to look out for, so you don’t end up with a dud.
Cutting Down Ongoing Costs
There’s no point saving money on a second-hand car if it’s going to come with high ongoing maintenance costs. This isn’t just a case of buying a car in good condition. Going with a smaller engine is the best way to cut down many of these outgoings – this means better fuel efficiency, lower road tax and lower insurance premiums. Basically, the smaller the car the better, although this needs to be balanced with what you will be using it for; transporting kids often means transporting all their paraphernalia too including cumbersome pushchairs.
Saving Money on All Those Auto Extras
Apart from that all-important car insurance, one thing you should organise as soon as you possibly can is breakdown cover. There are now plenty of options available, but it you have a reputable breakdown organisation in mind, see of you can find an online discount direct with them to save more on your annual membership fees. Other helpful extras you can look out for include child car seat fitting services and discounts on sat-navs (an essential for anyone transporting kids here, there and everywhere). Booking MOT tests and services online in advance can also save you money on this additional expense too.
Buying second-hand makes the best financial sense for young families, but you still have to be careful what you’re purchasing. However, make the right choice and take into consideration ALL the ways you can save money, and your second-hand car could last for many years to come.