Forum: Advice / Cars & Driving

So my folks want to buy me a car, but I'm not sure if I need one.
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 06, 2009 07:08 PM

Recently my parents have been talking to me again, and they're buttering me up / acting like real parents by wanting to buy me lots of things. Okay, no complaints here. So, a few days ago my mom wrecked her car. She's totally fine, but now the family needs a new car.

She explained their reasoning to me in a long winding fashion that I didn't follow, but basically, my parents will be buying grandma's old Subaru for $3 or $4000 and want to give it to me. It has, I want to say she said 68,000 miles on it. And obviously this is my grandma, we know the car hasn't been through much.

So, okay, like I'm going to say no to that?! But... I don't really need a car right now. I live in the city (DC) and a car seems like more trouble than it's worth. The Metro (subway) can take me anywhere I want to go, and my school's shuttle bus and taxis take me everywhere else. Parking is really really expensive and not worth it at all (we are talking $450 per semester on-campus)… not to mention the fact that I would have no idea where I'm going anyway - I can navigate underground just fine, but walking the streets? I'm clueless!

However I graduate in just one short year, and then I WILL need a car. And on visits home, a car would be roughly a billion times nicer than taking the Greyhound bus, or even the train. I plan to stay in the city but I've been thinking, and it would be so much easier just to go shopping or get groceries if I had a vehicle. I also might wind up in off-campus housing next semester, and I probably would need a car then. It would open up a lot of possibilities in where I could live, or even finding a part-time job.

I guess the deciding is the insurance, which there's no way I could afford, but I'm assuming my parents might be willing to pay for that, as it's pretty obvious I couldn't make the payments right now. (They're willing to pay for anything, NSA, it's seriously the best thing ever.)

Right now I'm leaning towards keeping the car at my parent's in New Jersey, and then transferring the title to me after I graduate next year. I don't see any point in having a car right now, at least not in the city. Then I start to think about if I had a car… and it seems pretty awesome. The Metro takes me places, but a car cuts travel time in half! (of course, then I'd have to find parking, which is gross.) I just don't know. I'm going to get to see the car and drive it etc. when I go home next week.

What do you guys think?

2 Replies to So my folks want to buy me a car, but I'm not sure if I need one.

re: So my folks want to buy me a car, but I'm not sure if I need one.
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 06, 2009 07:48 PM
Seeing how well you navigate DC while you've been in school, you may have a point on avoiding the parking hassles. I didn't have a car in school at all (in Madison, WI a tad smaller that DC and metro area.) I got my first car just as I graduated from college since I needed it to get from Wisconsin to here, and the place I worked was (and is) not served by public transportation and is
15 miles outside of the city. The only time in my adult life I have been without a car was when I worked in Mexico City and I got around just fine on cheap busses,a VERY cheap subway and cheap taxis. Unlike Washington's Metro subway which is pretty safe, Mexico's was not and as a very visible Gringo I became a target for a pickpocket attempt which unnerved me a bit. [The pickpocket...a gang of them actually...lived to regret it for I felt the attempt, just as I was getting off the train and he got a very fast elbow in the gut and was doubled over. I screamed help in Spanish, got off the train and immediately ran to a cop with my wife in tow.]

So if you wish to avoid the expense, I'd say, accept the car, keep it in Jersey and you'll be all set when you graduate and ready to go wherever the fates take you (within driving distance of course.)

My own kids did share a car when they went to Madison, but that was more to get back and forth between Wisconsin and Maryland and to make grocery runs since they lived on the economy. My son also had a girlfriend 90 miles away in Milwaukee.

Navigation is a skill which must be acuired. I do remember how excited my daughter was to get her license and then came to the sudden realization that she had no clue on how to get anywhere (though I'm convinced the girl could smell her way to a shopping center.) You may be a person for whom the GPS was invented :).
OTOH Christopher Columbus was the most famous navaigator of his era yet he didn't know where he was going, didn't know where he was when he got there, wasn't too sure where he had been when he returned.

re: So my folks want to buy me a car, but I'm not sure if I need one.
By kandykanePremium member
On Wed May 06, 2009 08:36 PM
I agree. Accept the gift with the understanding you will keep the car in Jersey, for now. When your situation warrants, you can always go get it.

Sweet deal, by the way. I don't really get it anymore than you do, given all the problems you've had with your folks in recent years. But, I guess they are ready to let bygones be bygones. Much to your benefit.

So glad things are better for you on that front, hon.



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