In USA on H1B and L1 Visa – Should You Buy a Car – Benefits vs. Expenses? Need ?

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 6 Comments

One of the most important decisions when you start to work on H1B Visa or L1 Visa in America is to decide if you should buy a car, even if you plan NOT to buy an expensive car like Audi or Porsche. There are many benefits of owning a car…if you are planning on saving money, you need to watch your expenses. This article will focus on benefits vs. expenses of having a car.

Why would you buy a Car in US?  What are the advantages of having car ?

I was living in small city and everything required transportation. Before I bought a car, I was always dependent on others for doing anything in America…I could never do things on my own like buying grocery, going for haircut, weekend shopping, going to Gym, Joining a dance class, etc…As soon as I bought a car, my options opened up, I suddenly felt that I had legs … If you are living in a small or mid-size city or suburbs of a large city…having a car will open up a realm of opportunities to explore America. If you are married, it is even more required, you and your spouse can do all the things that you wanted to do together like going for weekend trips, joining a yoga class, visiting friends, going for shopping anytime you want, going to movies, going out to enjoy night life, etc… Overall, having a car will help you do anything you want at any time you want, without asking your friends for transportation. It will make you more independent and explore the America you might have dreamt of !

What are the expenses that come with Buying a car ?

If you have already owned a car, you would probably know the expense. If you never owned a car, you will need to know the expenses tied to it.  Before I go further, let me warn you, you should NEVER buy a cheap $500 or $1000 Car, it is going to put you into more trouble than help. Here are the general expenses that come with owning a car (Car like Honda or Toyota )

  • Monthly Auto insurance   à Anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on car and place
  • Car Monthly payment (EMI) for loan à $300 to $700 based on the car and interest rate.
  • Gasoline or Petrol for car à  $150 to $400 based on how much you travel
  • Oil Change à $50 to $100 or more for every 3000 miles
  • Parking Space charge à $50 to $500 based on city ( Some apartments have free parking )

You are hoping that you never run into any issues with your Car Engine or any other things.  If you buy a decent car of about $12,000 to $15,000 you should have minimum maintenance expenses…

If you buy an expensive car like Audi, BMW or Benz, you expenses will be much higher. The maintenance is higher, insurance is higher, gasoline consumption is higher…it will be an expensive affair.

You need factor in your Car expenses in your Monthly Expense for living in USA  to get a realistic picture of your financial health. If you do not have much cash left every month, think of buying a car is like buying an elephant, the problem is not buying it, but feeding it and maintaining it J

Do you need a Car – Need vs. Want or Wish ?

This is totally subjective and depends on various factors.

  • If you are living in a very small town and there is absolutely no transportation close to your apartment, then you NEED a car to even get around the city for basic things.
  • If you are living in a large city like New York, where you have strong local transportation like Sub way and other means, then you do NOT need car. You can get around the city using the local transportation.
  • If you live in a mid-size town or suburbs of city and would like to be independent and do your own stuff, instead of asking others…could be shy to ask always too right ?, then go for it and buy a car…you will not regret it, it comes with a cost though J
  • If you always wanted to drive around and explore the city or America, what the heck, just go for it…Life is all about enjoying it !  Of course, you need to consider the expenses !

 

Overall, take into consideration some of these expenses and factors. You can always hold off from buying a car, if you plan to save some money in the beginning and do not mind asking others….personally, a whole new set of options opened up for me after I bought a car and truly enjoyed the experience of traveling around and exploring….

Did I miss any expenses of owning car ?

What was your thought for buying a car ?

   

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Abhishek

    Is getting driving licence tough in US ? Like writing exams and going through driving tests and all ? How long does it usually takes to get one ?

  2. MadGo

    Applied for an auto loan on the Bank Of America website today.

    One of the questions was Citizenship: 1) US Citizen 2)Permanent Resident Alien 3) Other

    I select “Other” and continued the application. My loan was approved and they asked me to call in. When I called in, she said I need to have a GC to get an auto loan. I asked for a supervisor, and the supervisor told me the same – they don’t accept work visas, only GC or citizenship. I asked why they wouldn’t say that upfront and not screw up my credit history by making an unnecessary inquiry? She told me it’s a glitch in the system.

    Just thought I’d give you guys a heads up so you don’t waste your time with BofA and screw up yr credit history

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Thanks for sharing. Ideally, never apply for anything online either loans or credit cards. Have a discussion with a personal banker.

    2. Maran

      Thats strange…. All you need is a Credit and Valid Resident Alien status (eg: H1B, L1B etc). [Try DCU.]

      Typically, they will try to limit the loan term to your Visa validity.
      However, in most cases that is not true. I have got Loan for 4 year term but my Visa was valid for 2.5 years only.

    3. Naveen

      The car dealers themselves give financing. Check with your card dealer. i went to car dealer today to buy toyota camry, he agreed to provide finance with 0% interest.

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