Teens: Got a Job? Thinking of Your First Car?
It's a whole different world when you're in high school… we remember it. One of the main parts of growing up is getting your first job. Landing your first “real” job is a good idea for many reasons, best of which is to help you get your first car, and to help you afford things that come once you’re a driver (think drive-in theaters, road trips, etc). It’s a bit tougher to get a job in this economy, but it’s still readily possible. Our fast-track guide to getting a job? Look where your friends and peers aren’t looking. Skip the movie theaters or the fast food joint jobs, and go instead to all the local mom-and-pop shops, stores and business. (Remember: They DON’T have to be an open-to-the-public business, just knock, smile, introduce yourself, state you’re local and looking for a job, and ask what they do and if they need any help.) They may just need some help out in the back or would like to hire a cashier, etc. You never know, and you may be surprised at their response! If you’re already semi-decided on a career, don’t hesitate to look at local companies and corporations in your field, go on their website and try to find the contact information of the most relevant person that could hire you. Then, send them a short but nice e-mail and explain why you’re looking for a job - including what you’re good at. Tell them you want to just get your foot in the door. They very well might hire you, or at the worst will offer some advice and tips on job hunting, or send you to another place looking to hire. Don’t send a resume or anything at first, just e-mail. Now since we’re car people here at Automotive.com, the main reason we think you’ll want a job as teen is to be able to afford your own car. Right? This is a very important time of life, and there are many things that will factor into your decision. You parents will likely be most concerned with safety since you won’t have as much driving experience as them, and will want to make sure that you get a car that's equipped with standard safety features such as air bags and anti-lock brakes (though once again, in our day we didn’t have these and we’re still fine), but safe is always good. Another factor that should help determine your ideal first car is its fuel economy. You will be driving A LOT, trust us, and especially in a few years when you start driving to college, so mileage is important. Buying a mid-sized or smaller car will definitely help save on gas. (Here's a list of fuel efficient cars.) However, sometimes bigger cars/trucks are cheaper upfront to buy for the same reason (less people want gas hogs, and there’s less demand for these cars so they’re cheaper), therefore it’s a bit of a trade-off. There are also certain features that would be quite helpful in a first car, or any car for that matter. A GPS or navigation is great in case you get lost while driving. You’d be quick to point out the iPhones and smartphone’s of today all have GPS-enabled maps, but remember fumbling around on a phone while driving isn’t the safest thing in the world, and it’s best to try to minimize it as much as possible. For ourselves, we much-prefer a turn-by-turn voice driven GPS unit over our iPhone’s Google Maps anyway. When buying a car, one of the biggest decisions is whether to go the new car route or pick up a cool used car. It's typically not a good idea to spend a bunch of cash on a new car or hound your parents for it, unless the price is right and you get good financing (0-3% is ideal, your parents or relative can co-sign for you to achieve this rate). However you may want something older so you won't be that upset if it gets banged up a little bit—think fender bender, or someone at school banging their door into you in a busy parking lot. If you’re getting a used car though, make sure to check if it’s reliable or not. IntelliChoice, Consumer Reports and other resources can help you with this. If the car is a gift from someone though, like your parents, don’t worry about it. A car is a car. Unless you can talk them into buying a newer car because it’s safer. Anyway, another thing to keep in mind that will really stink for your parents (or you if you have to pay it) is car insurance. Insurance for teen drivers is high, there’s really no way around it. Companies are taking a big risk insuring rookie drivers who don't have that much driving experience, but they still need to grow their future client base so they have to give out reasonable rates. Plus, most teens are actually great drivers, it’s the few out of the many who wreck their cars every year that jack up everybody’s rates! But the type of car that you will drive plays a large role in insurance. Faster cars will cost you more to insure, as well as expensive cars. So keep that in mind. We hope we were able to help you with landing a job if you don’t have one, and we hope we were able to give you some useful and actionable advice for buying a car. Feel free to visit us online (click the link below) or drop us a line on here. Teens got job car image from Shutterstock