Public transport is great. When you use public transport, you’re opting for the environmentally friendly option. You’re choosing an option that allows you to rest or be productive during your journey. You’re going to get from A to B at some point or another. But when you have a family, public transport might not be the best option for you. Think about it. Public transport is fine when you only have yourself to worry about. You get on or off the train, tube, tram or bus when you get to your stop. You mind your business. It’s easy. But when you have kids, all sorts of problems can arise. You might find yourself worrying about them disrupting others with their noise, games, spontaneous tantrums or crying. You might find yourself struggling to get them on and off the transport before the doors close while keeping them all together. You might struggle with the weight and volume of shopping that the average family does and getting this on and off the transport as well as your kids. A car really does make things a whole lot more straightforward. You and your family can stick to your little bubble. You have plenty of space to store and transport shopping. You have space for belongings like prams, nappy bags, lunch bags, toys and more. In times of a pandemic, a car is particularly appealing, as you don’t have to worry about your little ones getting too close to strangers or touching surfaces that could potentially be carrying the virus. All in all, a family car really is ideal right now. It’s a great addition to family life that can make day to day tasks easier and potentially safer too!
Determining a Budget
If you’re going to buy a car, you’re first going to have to figure out your budget. Cars come with all sorts of prices attached and you’re going to have to make all sorts of calculations to determine what you are able to afford. Now, the vast majority of people pay for a car gradually – through a finance plan, by using an interest free credit card, or by taking out a loan to pay for it. You need to make sure that these monthly payments, as well as insurance costs, tax costs, fuel costs and maintenance costs fit your budget and don’t see you overspending. Overspending inevitably results in debt, so is best avoided at all costs. You can determine your own budget by taking the following steps:
- The first step you need to take when it comes to creating a budget for your car is to work out your overall life budget. Start out by taking your total income after tax and national insurance contributions. This is the amount that you will have in your bank account each time you’re paid. If you’re employed, the tax is already taken from your pay before it hits your account. If you are self employed, you have to deduct tax and national insurance from your earnings too. The amount of tax you have to pay will depend on the tax bracket you fall into. If you are unsure of these figures, there are plenty of easy to use online calculators that you can give a try. These will figure out how much of your salary is dedicated to taxes and how much you actually take home.
- Next, you need to figure out how much you need to put aside for necessities. These are the bills that can’t be ignored and have to be paid to give yourself and your family a good quality of life. The average person’s essential costs tend to include rent or mortgage payments, mandatory payments like council tax, bill payments for energy, bill payments for water and a set amount for food shopping.
- Once you’ve deducted essential costs, you also need to deduct agreed payments. These costs tend to include finance payments, loan payments, credit card minimum payments and any other outstanding money that you need to pay on a set date each month.
- Once all of these costs have been deducted from your take home pay, you are left with your disposable income. This is the sum of money that you and your family have available to spend each month. If you’re planning on getting a car, you need to make sure that you can deduct car payments from this sum and still have some cash left for fun activities or to put in your savings account. You need to have some sort of disposable income left over for you and your family to enjoy life – otherwise you’ll all just be getting by constantly.
Choosing the Right Car
Once you have a budget laid out, it’s time to start considering what kind of car you can get for your budget. Now, chances are that there will be countless vehicles that fall into your price bracket. So, how do you determine which one you should choose? Well, the key to success is to fully survey every options and to determine whether it’s suitable for your family or not. You’ll find yourself slowly going through a process of elimination until you have a few options that tick all of your boxes. Then, you can decide between them based on personal preference. Remember, always put safety, practicality and functionality over aesthetics when it comes to a family car. You’ll appreciate it down the line. This is a tool that your family will use on a daily basis, not an accessory. Some considerations you might want to take into account include:
- Safety – first and foremost, you need to consider safety. Nowadays, all new cars are of great quality. But you may want to look out for vehicle recalls on the make and model you’re looking at. Many recalls can be bad news. You should also keep an eye out for additional safety features that can make the vehicle that little more safe for you and your family.
- Quality – chances are your car is going to be the second biggest investment you make in your life. After your home, it’s likely to be the second biggest outgoing you have each month. So, make sure it’s quality. Every aspect of the vehicle – from its exterior to 4×4 wheels to its interior should be crafted from quality materials and well reviewed.
- The Number of Seats – the number of seats in a car can make or break whether it’s suitable for your family or not. Sure, if you and your partner have two children and don’t plan on any more at all, then a four seater could be fine. But if you have two children and are considering a third, a five seater car is a much better investment. Then, you don’t have to sell up or trade in for a car with more seats soon down the line.
- The Number of Doors – the number of doors a vehicle has also becomes extremely important when you have children. Sure, three door cars could work. But when you have kids, you’ll really appreciate being able to access the back seats more easily by simply opening back doors on a five door vehicle. Getting kids in and out of baby seats, booster seats or the car in general will become a whole lot easier and more straightforward. Plus, five door cars tend to be a bit roomier and more comfortable for the little ones.
- Storage Space – families tend to use a lot more space than the average car owner without children. Why? Well, think about it. Car users without children might pick up a bit of food shopping or casual shopping and only need the boot space to accommodate this. Families, on the other hand, tend to cart a whole lot more along with them. Whether that’s prams, nappy bags, baby bags, toys, bags of baby food and more. Plus, they’re likely to have much bigger food shops. So, storage space really does become important. Look for a vehicle with a large boot space, as well as storage space in the footwells.
Buying a family car really can be a long and difficult process. But in the end, it’s worth it. Hopefully, some of the above advice will help you to find the right one for you and your family’s needs!