16 Stages of Buying Your First Car

Buying a car is a pretty big deal no matter who you are, but especially if you are a twenty one year old who just graduated from college and moved back home. Feeling embarrassed about living with my parents post-graduation and stripped of the freedom I gained in college, I was determined to get a car. To say I had no idea what to expect was an understatement. The afternoon (which quickly turned into evening, and then to way past my bedtime) was a roller coaster of emotions.

Stages of Buying a Car


  1. You show up to the dealership with your 10 minutes of research, excited to make one huge step into adulthood.


2. All the shiny cars in all the pretty colors have you in awe. You feel like a little kid in a candy store.


3. You daydream about all the attention you are going to get as you zoom down PCH in your fancy car.


4. You finally see the price of that shiny red Lexus you’ve been eying since you stepped on the lot. Is there supposed to be that many zeros? I think there has been a mistake!



5. You make the walk of shame to the used car section of the lot.


6. After walking down aisle after aisle of old cars, you are tired, sweaty and grouchy.


7. You come to the conclusion that you will never get your own car. You will be riding your hot pink beach cruiser forever.


8. Just when you thought you couldn’t get more annoyed, a perky salesman pops his head over the hood of one of the cars.


9. You try giving him multiple hints that you are not in the mood, but he keeps following you around. It is time to get mean.


10. Then, like an angel from above, you see it – a car that is perfect for your broke-but-wannabe-grownup self. It may have a scratch or two, but its so little and cute!


11. The time has come — it is time to sign on the dotted line. You try to act cool but your nerves get the best of you.



12. You sign on the dotted line. “Did that just happen? What have I done?” You are in disbelief.



13. It hits you like a ton of bricks — the hunger. You realize that you have been at the dealership for 8 hours. The sun has set and it is way past your bed time. You need food, NOW!


14. Thinking everyone else is totz jealous, you drive off the lot in your new (well new to you) car in search of something yummy.



15. It dawns on you that you no longer have $10 in you bank account. Instead, you actually have -$15,000. Debt sucks. “I guess I only have one option for dinner — Taco Bell”

16. But who cares?! You are FREE!! Now you can drive to Taco Bell every night of the week without asking to borrow your mom’s car. You fancy now!


I am in love with my new car, despite the stress of purchasing it. What was your first car buying experience like? Any success stories? Any horror stories?


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