College Graduate

More and more people are graduating from college and are in need of a reliable car. However, as tuition increases this may seem impossible.

Car Research

Car manufacturers are catching on. They want to reward those of you who got through all that schooling and need to get rid of your old, run down vehicle. Volkswagen, for instance, offers no security deposit, no payment for the first month, and no credit history. Plus, you can enjoy this benefit if you are 6 months away from graduating or it has been 24 months or less since you graduated. All you need is a letter from a current or future employer. It couldn't be simpler!

Volkswagen isn't the only auto company to offer such deals. Ford, Nissan, Mazda, GM etc. all have some kind of offer. You should go into the dealership and ask what offers they have for college graduates. Since you, more than likely, don't have a mortgage, kids, or any other major financial burdens these dealerships see you as the perfect buyer.

Of course, you want to be a savvy shopper so make sure to check out the manufacturer or dealership's website before going in. Many websites offer live chat where you can talk to someone live and ask them questions about their vehicles and programs. You also want to make sure you know the financing options. Should you lease or buy? How much money should you put down? What is a good APR (annual percentage rate)? Does the vehicle have all the features you're looking for? If you want a sunroof, find out how much more that will cost.

Overall, you're in high demand in the auto world. Don't be afraid to do the research and go into the dealership knowing they want your business as a young, fresh out of college professional.

Even if you are not a recent college graduate but are still a first time buyer, the experience can be a scary one. It doesn't need to be though. Spending some time doing some research ahead of time can help your car buying experience go more smoothly than your had expected.

Do you have a budget? If you don't already have one, create one. It will help you determine how much car you can afford. Don't forget vehicle-related costs outside of a new car payment, particularly insurance costs. Premiums for many young drivers can be as much as the monthly car payment. Don't forget to include maintenance, gas and taxes.

Have you shopped around? Do some homework before you decide which car to buy and where to buy it. Call your bank or credit union. Talk to dealerships. Print out all quotes and keep them in a folder that you bring with you when you shop for the car. Whether you finance through your dealer or elsewhere, there are typically no penalties to refinance if you're not satisfied.

Is there someone you could ask to be a co-signer if needed? If you are under the age of 18, are currently not employed, do not have a credit history or your credit history is not good, you may need a responsible person to co-sign the finance contract for you.