Car Shopping 101 Tips…
I’m in the process of looking for a newer vehicle later this year and I thought I would share some quick tips on how to actually budget for a car. Since becoming a mother in 2014, I seem to always have to tote many things which will require me to transfer from a smaller car to a SUV or van. I do not do a lot of driving, however it is quite uncomfortable for me to have such a little car and many things to pack in it when I do travel. I paid cash for my car and never had to make any car payments. It was used and it got me from point A to point B safely. However, now that I have a child, I really want to have something with more room and a little more reliable so I can make it to point C!
Having a car should depend on person’s lifestyle and should be something they can afford. I am not a car sales person, however I have worked in sales to know that what you use on a daily basis, should fit perfectly in to your life. The tips here in this selection, will be some advice for those like myself who are interested in not breaking our bank, but want something decent and worth the money.
1. How much are you trying to spend per month?
If you cannot pay a car off in cash, then the only other option is to borrow it through a loan. You first want to make sure that you truly can afford what you are buying. A lot of people make the mistake of purchasing a car that is way over their monthly income. Start by making a list of your daily and monthly expenses such as rent/mortgage, insurances, groceries, gas, childcare (if any), utilities, cable and phone service, debt, and etc… Once you have added up all of your expenses, put a car payment into that category. If you are unsure, please check out these simple monthly bill calculators that I’ve found:
2. Do you know what vehicle you want?
Now that you found the real price of what you can afford, it is now to time to start looking for a car. There are several choices to finding one by either using the internet, local newspapers, driving around, etc… Be sure to have many options and research on those vehicles via Kelley Blue Book or Consumers Report to find out more about them. Take a few tests drives, then start the process of weeding out what you do not like.
3. How much is the total cost going to be?
You’ve found the car that will be great for you and it is in your budget, but now you need to know the grand total and this is something you would need to find out from the sales person. Why? Because they have to include different hidden fees, add-ons, and finance charges. You want to be very clear when you explain to the dealer your lifestyle situation so they find you a car you can afford and will be something you want to drive daily. Remember, people in sales just want to make the sale, but if they are truly customer driven, they will make sure to listen and answer all of your questions, comments, and concerns. So be prepared to have a list with you when you go!
I hope that these quick tips were helpful to your search on finding the right vehicle at a reasonable price. Good luck!