If you’re brand new to the Army, these are four things you should know when you purchase your first car.
- Number one, bring an NCO or a buddy you trust who already has a car and knows what to do.
- Number two, and this is the big thing, don’t go and buy an extreme sports car. Don’t buy a super expensive car. Know your limits and your bills. Remember, there’s also insurance that you have to worry about.
- Number three, the interest rate, is a big thing. You might be paying $200 monthly, not even realizing you have a 20 % interest rate. All you’re thinking about is the monthly deal. Remember, a low-interest rate is better, so you should bring an NCO or someone with a car.
- Number four, if this is your first car, buy something used or least expensive because you’ll save money and be able to pay it off faster, which I’m telling you, your future self would be grateful for.
What advice do you have for other soldiers about buying their first car? Tell us in the comment section below.
Does the Army give you a car?
No, the Army, or the military in general, does not give a soldier a car. However, when you join the Army as a new soldier, you will receive a basic allowance for housing (BAH) and a basic subsistence allowance (BAS) as part of your overall pay.
You can use this to cover your living expenses, including transportation costs.
The Army does have a budget to buy vehicles for the Army rather than individual soldiers; these vehicles may or may not be available to soldiers depending on their ranks and experience in the Army.
Should You Buy a Car in the Army?
If you’ve been wondering if you should buy a car while you’re in the Army, consider the following points:
First, a car is not necessary if you’re living on base.
- You can carpool if you’re close enough to work.
- If you’re working around your barracks, you can walk to work.
- And then, if you’re trying to get off base, you can use Uber, Lyft, or a taxi.
The second thing to consider when deciding if you need a car or not in the military is how far away you are from home.
Meaning, do you live 30 minutes, two hours, or three hours away from the base where your family or friends can come to pick you up?
Or do you live 5 to 13 hours away, where it’s not even a reasonable drive, and you’re flying back and forth between the base and your hometown?
The third thing to consider is how financially stable you are.
First, you need to determine how many bills you already have.
- Do you have enough wiggle room to take on another bill?
- How much wiggle room do you have with your finances in general?
- By picking up a car, will you live paycheck to paycheck now? Because you know exactly how much you get paid every two weeks.
Fourth, what’s the cost of maintaining a car?
You also have to get car insurance. You have to do maintenance on your car and buy gas for it. So it’s just not buying a car itself.
Fifth, do you have the finances to do all of that?
Do you have a terrible credit score to the point where your interest rates will be super duper high, and you won’t get the best possible deal for a car? These are all things you need to think about.
One of the most essential things regarding getting a car in the Army is your financial stability.
How to buy your first car in the Army
If this is your first car, you must talk to someone. Talk to a leader or a friend who’s been through it.
You need to tell somebody if this is your first time because you need someone with some experience to let you know and guide you on negotiating. For example, is this a reasonable interest rate, or is this a good idea in general?
Get someone else’s advice and see what they say about your idea.
But whatever way you decide to go about getting a car or not getting a car, it all comes down to having a plan.
- As long as you have a plan for how you’ll pay
- If you’re going to put down a down payment
- Will you have a co-signer?
- Where will your car go during deployment?
- Will you drive it home?
- Will you ship it home?
- Will you leave it on base?
As long as you have a plan for owning the car and everything like that, whichever way you decide whether to own a vehicle or not during your time in the Army or military, you’ll be fine.