By M Katie Helle, CPA

As a teen or young adult, there are some things we look very forward to in life.  One for me was my 16th birthday.  I knew this milestone came with a lot of freedom; one of which was getting my driver’s license.  I will never forget this birthday.  I was incredibly sad I turned 16 on a Sunday and couldn’t get my driver’s license until the next day when the motor vehicle opened.  Oh to be 16 again!

With the privilege of having a driver’s license comes the need for a vehicle.  The purchase of a vehicle is not something most people can easily afford at a young age.  This is something people save for over time, knowing this milestone is coming.  Even though the purchase of a car is quite large, this doesn’t mean you have to start saving big.  Saving small sometimes leads you on the most successful path.

Here are some tips for saving for your first vehicle:

  • Set a percentage of the money you earn aside. For example, if you babysit and make $50, put aside $25 for saving and give yourself $25 for spending.  You can adjust the amount you save versus spend depending on the financial responsibilities you may have.
  • Make a game out of saving money by doing a money savings challenge. This is where in 31 days you can save $500.  Click here to read more about this challenge.
  • Ask friends and family member to contribute to your car fund rather than buy you gifts for birthdays and holidays.

If you can save $5,000, you can get yourself a reliable first vehicle.  It’s important to remember the purchase of a vehicle goes a lot further than the $5,000 you save.  You will want to continue to save monthly even after you purchase the vehicle for unexpected maintenance and repairs that may arise.

Although it seems like a far-off goal to save for a car, it’s absolutely worth the investment!  The freedom you have with these four wheels is quite freeing.