Honest Timeline: Buying Your First Car (Without Your Parents)
Buying your first car can be an exciting time, but also a terrifying one. There’s nothing like feeling yourself behind the wheel of a new automobile that’s about to drain all of your hard-earned money. If you’re like most of us, the process of finding and buying the right car doesn’t happen seamlessly. In fact, the car is likely to take you for a ride by the end of the hunting and haggling. Before you head into the dealership, prepare yourself with our honest timeline for buying your first car (without your dad’s help).
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You head into the dealership. You already know what you want: a sweet Prius.
A salesman sidles up to you immediately. Before he lets you get a word in, he’s steering you towards the SUVs. You really can’t bankroll that and tell him so. He scoffs and rolls his eyes and reluctantly agrees to show you a different car.
Yeah, you can’t afford this one, either.
You tell him you’re only interested in a Prius. You hand over your driver's license and he gives you the keys to a gray one. You hit the road. It’s love at first drive.
You return from the test drive exhilarated. You found your perfect car already! Then the salesman takes you back to his desk and shit gets real. The car's base price is beyond your budget, not to mention that everything is an add-on, from the floor mats to the wireless entry to the tire rims. The numbers just don't add up.
When the dealer sees your despair, he recommends you check out the “pre-owned vehicle” lot. This is a euphemism for used, crappy cars. These are automobiles you can afford, but you don’t actually want to buy any of them.
Unable to adult, you call your dad. He says a dealer is the worst place to buy a car. Have you tried the classifieds? You tell him classifieds aren’t really a thing anymore, but decide to browse Craigslist.
You find an ad for a decent ride on Craigslist and text the owner. He gives you directions to his place so you can see the car. When you get to the guy’s trailer, he’s drinking booze out of a paper bag and seems very nonchalant about the fact that there’s a wild animal in the car.
The owner removes the wild animal and tells you to get in. Then he blindfolds you. He says you’ll appreciate the ride better this way. This seems dangerous to you, but you go along with it because it really is a decent car and the price is right.
You survive the ride and are ready to buy the car, but the guy shakes his head. He says taking that test drive reminded him of why he loved the car in the first place and now he doesn’t want to sell.
Defeated, you return to the dealership, this time with your girlfriend because you clearly can’t make this decision alone. A scantily clad saleswoman suggests a lease. You can drive away in a car you actually want at a monthly payment you can afford. It sounds like a great deal. Or is that her outfit talking?
You and your girlfriend get in a beautiful, brand-new hybrid sedan and decide a lease is the best way to go. The saleswoman congratulates you on your first car. Not that you own it. You don’t. In fact, you’ll have to do this all over again in three years of 36,000 miles, whichever one comes first.
You drive your flawless leased car off the lot and immediately get into an accident. Guess you should’ve bought the gap insurance.