Daily Two Cents

Is This a Good Time to Buy a Car?

When it comes to buying a car, timing is everything. Just a few points difference in financing can add hundreds if not thousands to the purchase. There are always many things to consider before buying a vehicle. Those considerations are multiplied during a pandemic. Here are a few of the new concerns car-buyers face:

Are You High-risk for Coronavirus?

There are other transportation options besides driving your own car. You can take public transportation or use a ride-sharing service. The challenge is both options require you to ride with other people. With ride-sharing, you can save a little money by sharing your ride. But that just puts you in close contact with more people you don’t know. Busses, trains, and subways are enclosed spaces with scores of people pressed together with standing room only.

People who are high-risk for Covid will want to avoid public and semi-private transportation options. If you have to be out and about on a regular basis, this might be the right time for you to buy a vehicle regardless of other factors.

Can You Afford to Put It Off?

You might be thinking that now is not a good time to purchase a vehicle because you are working from home and having your groceries delivered. What you have to determine is how long these temporary measures will be in effect.

Many states are already in the process of reopening. Your working from home could end sooner than you think. Right now, car manufacturers are aggressively discounting and doing whatever it takes to lure potential buyers whether they have existing debt or not. It is not uncommon to see 0%, or near 0% financing with the same for downpayment.

This could be the perfect time to get a loan if you know you are going to need a car. Terms are unlikely to get better. By doing a little research, you might find a much better loan offer by doing it yourself instead of using the financing offered by the car company.

Could You Get Away with a Rideable?

Have you considered a bicycle? They’re not just for kids. Adults are using bicycles for a secondary means of transportation. Besides being almost free to maintain, cycling is an amazing source of exercise. It is much gentler on your joints than running.

If you are concerned about those long, uphill stretches, you might want to consider and electric bicycle. They are more expensive than a standard bicycle. But they are far less expensive than other means of transportation. The cost of a bicycle is a one-time sunk cost. It can even be a faster way to get to work if you happen to live and work in a metropolitan area.

Depending on where you live, you could have the option to ride a bicycle, a stand-up scooter, or a sit-down scooter more akin to a motorcycle without having to make any up-front purchase thanks to rideable-rental services. These companies are expanding and coming to a city near you as an alternative to buying a car.

A surprisingly large number of people opt out of driving. Millennials show little interest in learning to drive. They are perfectly happy to live in places where walking and public transportation is all they need. This is a viable option for millions of commuters around the world. We are moving past the time when the default position is car-ownership. That said, if you do have health concerns and don’t want to wait until the good deals are gone, this could be the ideal time to buy.