Car Troubles

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good morning Ellen,
A friend that reads your blog told me to ask you this question since she didn’t have any advice for me herself.  I was wondering if you think it’s a good idea to buy my son a car for his birthday.  I am worried though because what if he wrecks it?  How will I be able to trust him with it?   Right now, he’s 17 and he is driving my car when I am not using it.  It’s becoming very complicated to mesh our schedules since I work late at my job a lot and he works evenings after school.  I feel it would be easier for us if he had a car of his own and is a tad more independent.  Problem is, he cannot get one by himself because he doesn’t have enough money, which of course is because he does not work enough hours at his job as a sales clerk.  Reason being, doesn’t have reliable transportation.  Oh, what a vicious cycle we fall into! Any ideas?
Thank you so much in advance,

Well Gwen,
I do have a response to this one.  In all honesty, I have seen both sides to this.  I borrowed my parent’s car until I finally had one of my own.  They bought it for me but I had to start paying them back right away.  I had a chart that showed how much I owed and had a space to put in my payment to them each week.  I took a big chunk of my paycheck to pay it off as quickly as I could.  I noticed that when I drove my parents’ cars I was never as careful as I am with my own.  I guess it’s simply because I paid for my current car with my own money, and I have the loan in MY name so naturally I am taking better care of it.   You should get him a car of his own, within reason.  It doesn’t need to be brand new.  Keep in mind, this car will be his first and he more than likely will bump it up at least a few times.  I had friends growing up whose parents would buy a luxury vehicle for them and I never understood why.  These friends abused their car and could care less how long it lasted.  I baby my car now and it is the first new car I’ve owned.  I had 2 used cars before that.  The payment plan thing is also a great idea because it will start to instill responsibility in him so he knows that nothing is going to come free.  And he will still have to work to pay this off.   I hope this is a decent response for you and I hope it works!
Thanks for your question!


  1. I have just found your site and read all the content. You do have a very sound head on young shoulders. As a lot of the comments you receive are probably wanting advice from you or being less than kind, I wanted to write an entirely positive and encouraging note to you. Stay as strong as you are, and as generous in your time and energies. You will reap the rewards many times over. However you already know this, so I will end with - I love your dogs, not sure about the rat! Along with his eight little darlings you are clearly the best thing to have happened to Jon, hope he realizes this! I am sure he does, all strength and love to you all. Genny Florida x

  2. Genny - thanks so much. what an awesome comment!!! i really enjoy the challenge of the questions I get. Thank you thank you thank you and please keep in touch!!

  3. Great advice Ellen. In high school I was in many activities and had a part time job, so my parents bought me a car (partly because I was so busy, and partly for thier own sanity). it cost about $2000, and it was less then glamorous, but it got me from point A to point B. I didn't have to pay them back for it, but I was responsible for insurance and gas. I would highly advise you to have your son get his own insurance policy, in his own name, so it doesn't affect yours. I was always appreciative that my parents bought me the car and I knew I was lucky. So, that being said, if you feel that you can trust him, and he has shown that he deserves a car, I think it's reasonable to get him an inexpensive, used car.


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