Free car or my freedom?

Our elder advises a college student whose parents are happy to pay his rent, or buy him a car — but not both.

The important thing is to stay in college.

Dear EWC

My parents are chill. They are not overbearing or anything. I can have people over and they’ll be out of my business. What I’m saying is they are not people who I try to avoid or annoy me. But, I have moved out for college. I currently live in an apartment and am looking for a place next year. My parents pay my rent. My college is just about 15-20 minutes away from campus. But, I need a new car. My car has 310,000 miles on it. So, I need a new car. My parents can’t do both. So they said if I move back in, they’ll get me a new car. I don’t know what to do!

PicklesMarie replies

Free car or freedom? The “free” car would not be free… to your parents. The freedom isn’t free either — your parents pay your rent each month. It seems you cannot have such generosity from your parents totally free. Your parents pay; it costs you a little too.
It is good you are thinking about this.
I want you to realize that either which way, it is your dear parents who pay… a lot. Of course, you don’t ‘see’ that because you are not a money-earner yet.
Do you really need a new car? So your car has 310,000 miles. So what? Do you drive it outside your city where you might be grossly inconvenienced if it broke down? Many of my friends had high mileage cars when they were young. Consider that if this car doesn’t have many issues it might be one of those gems that can go on for a good length of time.
You could, of course, stay in your rented digs and walk to campus. Consider that that rent is a good chunk of cash. Money your parents lose forever. Consider that your parents lose the cost of the car forever too. Think about your family’s finances as you consider what to do.
The most important thing in my opinion, is that you remain in school. Which choice best allows you to do this?
While all teen guys want a car, most have an older chunk of metal to get around in. Enough time for a new car later. Your education is priceless.
So I’m encouraging you to do whichever allows you best to complete your education. Your education is the most valuable thing right now!
I hope I’ve helped you make your decision wisely. Write again anytime.

Letter #: 454528
Category: School

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