My Teenager Got Their Driver’s License: Should I Buy Them a Car?

So, your teenager just got their driver’s license. Scary! Thankfully! Sad! Overwhelming! Exciting! Worrisome! Oh, the emotions have been rolling through my veins since my daughter passed her driver’s test. If you have a teen in your family, I am sure the topic of getting a car has been brought up numerous times in your household. The big question is, do you buy a car for them or do you let them work and buy their own car? Here are some questions you need to ask yourself first and what options are available to them after you have answered the questions.

Questions:


Do they need the car or do they want the car? Does your teen really need a car or do they just want one because all their friends have one? If they go to school, then to soccer practice, then to their job at the fast food joint, then they may need a car. However, if they just want a car to bring their friends to the mall every Saturday, then they probably don’t need a car.

What kind of grades are they getting in school? So, your teen wants a car, but how are their grades in school? If they are getting D’s and F’s, maybe they are not yet responsible enough to handle having a car.

Who will be responsible for the car’s expenses? Once your teen does get a car, who will be paying for the expenses on the car, like gasoline, insurance, maintenance and repairs?

Options:

They pay for the car themselves- If the car is merely a want and not a need, consider having your teen find a way to pay for it themselves, such as using money from their job.

They pay half of the car– They save up a certain dollar amount for their car and you match that dollar amount. So, for example, if they manage to save up $3,000 from their summer job at the yacht club, you match that $3,000, giving them $6,000 to purchase a car.

You pay for the car yourself– If the car is definitely a need, consider paying for the car yourself. You can put limits though, such as they are not getting a fancy sports car, but instead are getting a used car.

via GIPHY

There’s no reason why a teenager needs a fancy sports car. Period.

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46 comments

  1. My parents didn’t buy me a car and I won’t buy my kids one. A car is something that needs to be worked for and earned.

  2. Well I got my license at 16 I didn’t have a vehicle to drive until I could afford to buy one and that wasn’t until I was 18 years old. For my own child I didn’t let her get her license until she could pay for the classes that were required so she didn’t get her drivers license until she was almost 18 years old and then she purchased her own vehicle . I agree with Robin the privilege of having a car and driving is something that you need to work hard for and not just be handed .

  3. My dad gave me his car and we shared for awhile and then eventually it became mine. This was because my older brothers and sister all got a car themselves! I see no issue with helping either buy your kids a car or contributing towards one if you have the means, although everyone has to work for what they have in life so that works too 🙂

  4. I think it completely depends on you since you’re the parent but it’s also important to consider if they really need it and if it’s going to be convenient for everyone if you get your teenager a car. If it’s not going to be a hassle in the budget, why not!

  5. Ibought my first car at age 17 after I graduated from high school and was starting college that fall. I would probably have my kids do the same. Their high school is in the back yard so they can walk to school. Bad weather we of course can drive them.

  6. My parents bought my first car. It was a 200 Toyota corolla. Nothing fancy or special, but I was so excited to have one! I had a job at the time, and I was in high school with a 4.0 GPA so I think that helped with their decision to buy it for me.

  7. My mom was very gracious and purchased me my first car. It was actually unexpected, but very appreciated when it happened. It was nice to be able to drive to school and be a “cool kid,” but I certainly could have continued to ride the bus back and forth. My kids aren’t near their teenage years yet, so this isn’t something I’ve thought about for them.

  8. I remember when I first got my driver’s license! Those were quite the days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

    Much love,
    Ashley | dearash.com

  9. I shared my parents’ cars when I was a teen. Since they worked in the same place, I had access to a car most days which was nice. I never really expected my parents to buy me a car since there were three of us, but they did get us each one when we went to college.

  10. I never got given a car as a kid but in all fairness now that I live in London I am kind of glad. Plus like you said if the teen is paying and the adult pays half it might work but I was not earning enough from my job to do that ! x

  11. My first car was given to my by my grandfather. He said that I had proven myself to be responsible and trust worthy with my decision making and he was proud to give me is 1966 Dodge Corona (stick shift on the column.) It took me six months to learn to drive it. I’ll never forget that!

  12. I’m thankful we don’t have kids because no they would not be getting a car from us. They’d get use of the family car, but they’d be expected to earn $$ to pay for their own car. That teaches kids responsibility.

  13. Crikey, getting my kids are car is something that feels a LONG way off, but in reality, is only four years for my eldest! As for who should fit the bill? I am not sure – but I do think they should chip in with the costs. Only one thing I slightly disagree on, and that’s grades. My son has Asperger’s and struggles with school work, so he regularly gets low grades – not all kids with low grades are irresponsible!

  14. Its a scary thought as I was 24 when I passed my test. My son turns 17 soon and will be starting driving lessons. Its the cost of the lessons that are worrying me!!

  15. I got my dad’s old car when he upgraded and my husband got a used car from his parents. We both wore those cars out until they there was nothing left in them. We were expected to pay for maintenance, insurance, gas, the works. The experience makes me really appreciate the car I have now and how to take care of it!!

  16. I’m just glad I won’t have to deal with this until after 13 years. But I probably won’t get my kids car just because they got license. I am a pretty strong believer that whatever they get from us, they have to work for so I can teach them the value of things and money.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  17. That’s definitely your decision to make and we should never give in to the pressure of buying them a car. There are lots to consider and getting a new car would mean additional costs!

  18. I plan to do a matching-gift deal with my kiddos (though, thankfully, we are years away from licensing!!). Our deal will be that for every dollar they save for a car, I’ll match it. The type of car they get will depend on how much money they save. (And I will work a no-sportscar clause into it, because no first-time driver needs a sports car!).

  19. It really depends. I wouldn’t give them a car and would want them to be environmentally responsible. Car pool as much as possible or use other shared transport system.

  20. These are great points to think about! I am about 10 years away from this, but still need to start thinking about the financial obligations. My parents did not get me a car, I shared the family car and bought my own car after I started working after college.

  21. I was so embarrassed at the first car my parents bought me. It was just a little beater car but I was a stupid, ungrateful teenager who wanted a fancy first car. Now that I am a parent, I know how much cars really do cost and certainly won’t be buying my kids a fancy new car either. They won’t get quite the beater car like I had because I am concerned about their safety and they need to be able to drive in snowy conditions, but it won’t be a brand new car.

  22. My parents never bought us cars until we went to college. I didn’t mind having access to a car when I was a teenager, even it meant driving my sister and brother around.

  23. I never even got my license, but I know my husband was given a car when he got his. That being said, they got him an old car from the 70s or 80s. He needed it to get to school, but he loved it dearly.

  24. I think my parents regret buying my oldest siblings a vehicle when they were teenagers. I think it’s mostly because they thought they’d have been more responsible if they had paid for the vehicle themselves. While my children aren’t anywhere near the driving age, I think I’m going to let them make those financial decisions themselves when that day comes.

  25. I never had a car until my sophomore year in college. I definitely don’t foresee my kids having their own car unless they are buying it themselves 🙂 That is a ways off though…my oldest just turned 9.

  26. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for my kids to get their own license! I have three kids and I think it’s going to be so scary ha

  27. My brothers all bought their kids their first cars, but they had much higher paid jobs than me. I’m just a full time blogger! LOL. I would definitely consider paying half towards my daughters first car, but I don’t think I’d be able to afford to just buy her one. My savings won’t quite stretch that far at the mo!!

    Louise x

  28. We are all about paying for half of the car as long as they raise half the money themselves (and grades are good). This teaches them about finances because the more money they raise or earn the better car they get!

  29. It is a little scary to purchase a new car for them. My son is going to get his license this September and he will be driving only with my husband or I until he gets a lot of experience to drive on his own.

  30. My 18 year old doesn’t even have his license yet because some people really terrify him when it comes to their driving. You are definitely right about kids not needing a sports car, just asking for trouble!

  31. My first car was such a beater – rusted out floor, hole in under the gas pedal so I couldn’t wear heels when I drove it, putty on the doors. It cost me $350, and I bought her myself. Ugly as she was, Betsy got me through high school, college, and more than half my twenties, and needed only one $15 repair the entire time. Best investment I’ll ever make.

  32. My mom had saved my savings bonds and child support money that was from my dad to buy me my first car. It wasn’t anything special and it didn’t cost a ton, but I needed my own transportation to get to work. My husband and I have already decided that we will save some money for our daughter to buy a car, but we’ll also expect that she work towards contributing as well.

  33. These are great tips!! My oldest got his license when he was 18 but we didn’t get him a car until he was 19. We paid for it but we wanted him to know the value of having it and what it felt like to not have one.

  34. This is a great post because I have always wondered if I should get my son a car when he graduates from high school. He would have to prove to me that he could be a safe driver above all else.

  35. My parents bought me my car but my brothers had to get their own lol. For my kids, I think it teaches them a lot to have to earn the money and buy it and thus, taking care of their investment.

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