Buying a new car is exciting, but it involves far more than simply comparing fuel economy figures and taking your favorite models for a test drive. There’s a wide range of high quality cars on the market within every financial range, but to get started you’ll need to figure out how much you can afford, and then narrow down your search to get the most car for your money. The following tips can help you get started.
Look at your Household Budget After attending a few auto shows and leafing through slick brochures, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working your household finances around your car payments, rather than the other way around. Before you think about financing an item as large as a car, create a household budget and see how much you really have to put towards your car each month. If you already have a car, look at how much you currently spend on monthly payments, insurance, fuel, and maintenance. If you have met these obligations without any difficulty, that’s a good base number to shoot for with your new car.
Restrict your Search After you have a general budget in mind, you can start searching for a car that fits within that price range.are a good place to start, because they allow you to narrow down the selection by price, location, and other factors. It’s helpful to have some idea of the type of car you want, and a list of non-negotiable features that it should have. For example, if you’re looking for a family car, safety ratings and interior space will both be at the top of the list. With a price range and a list of must-have features, you’ll be able to narrow down the selection to cars which will best meet your household needs.
Don’t be Afraid to Haggle Once you have narrowed down your options to a few promising listings, you’ll be ready to take the car for a test drive and see if you can knock the price down a bit. If you are buying from a private seller, all that this entails are meeting them and haggling. It can be more difficult to negotiate a price at the dealership, because you will be speaking to sales professionals. In both cases, it’s better to keep your monthly limit secret.
Read the Fine Print When the time comes to sign a contract, be sure to read the fine print carefully. The dealership may add in a few service fees or add-ons that you were unaware of; so don’t be shy about asking for an explanation if you see numbers that don’t add up. It’s also better to secure your own financing before meeting with a dealer, as this will allow you to shop around and find the best rates. By taking your time to set a budget and stick to it, you can get more car for your money and make a better investment. Today’s online comparison tools make it easier than ever to arm yourself with information before leaping into any new or used car purchase.