A car is the first large purchase many people make as young adults. We spend months — sometimes years — saving for a car, often working less-than-ideal jobs. If you haven’t graduated high school then the job market may be limited, but there are opportunities out there. To save the most money, your goal should be to make as much above minimum wage as possible. Minimum wage jobs at places like fast food restaurants will likely always be an option, but if you’d like to earn more, consider the following types of jobs when saving for a car.
Depending on where you work, a tipped job can be good or bad. Since the base hourly wage of tipped employees (such as restaurant servers) is very low, you’ll depend almost entirely on tips. If you work at a nice restaurant, where meals are moderately expensive and patrons tip well, then you’re in good shape. You’ll make more at this type of restaurant than at almost any other job available to teenagers. But if you get stuck working slow shifts at a restaurant whose food is inexpensive, you could end up making less than minimum wage. Since most restaurant-goers base their tip on the total amount of their meal, usually 10 to 20 percent look for work at upscale restaurants when saving for a car.
Few businesses have an even, steady flow of customers all year. Most experience spikes in activity during certain seasons, and some do all of their business in just a few months of the year. Look for businesses in your area that hire seasonal workers. Since the need is greatest during their busy months, many businesses pay seasonal workers more than minimum wage. Ski resorts, retail outlets and water parks are just a few examples of businesses that heavily increase staff during busy seasons.
Blue Collar Jobs
If you’re prepared to work hard for your first vehicle, you should consider a blue collar job. Look for factories, warehouses or distribution centers in your area that are willing to hire part-time. These jobs sometimes require long hours and are often physically demanding, but pay much more than minimum wage.
When you’re finally ready to buy a car, don’t quit that job just yet. Make sure you’ve saved enough money to buy vehicle insurance. Since teenage car insurance is typically more expensive than adult car insurance, you’ll probably want to keep your part-time job so you can afford insurance and gasoline.