Time for a New Car??

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If you’re like most people, you may make two purchases in your life that are both fun and expensive! These are your house and your car. Let’s face it, you’ll spend thousands of dollars, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it could be money wasted.

Whether it’s your first time buying a car, or whether you’re buying your dream car (see above!), there are a few things that you need to know. Do your research!

First and foremost – you need to determine your budget. That in itself may narrow your choices. If you have $15,000 and you want a brand new sports car, that’s not going to happen. Only you can decide what amount of money you can afford then stick to the budget! Too often, we become emotionally involved, fall in love with the car, then try to justify spending a lot of extra money. Just say no. Experts say that you should spend no more than 25% of your monthly household budget on all of the cars in your household, including your car payment, insurance payments, maintenance and upkeep. I personally think that this figure is a little too steep for my budget, but you need to figure this one out.

Next, decide what type of car you want that fits your budget. You might want some cute little 2-seater number, but if you’ve got a spouse and 2.5 kids, this probably isn’t realistic. Do you want two-door? Four? Minivan? SUV? Check out Cars.com for some great options.

Before you ever step foot in a car dealership, due diligence is in order.

Are you going to buy new? Used? Lease?
What is a reasonable price for the vehicle you’re looking for?
Have you practiced your negotiating skills?
Can you afford the payment for the car and the insurance?
What financing is available to you?
Are you eligible for any discounts?

If you choose to buy a used car – there are a few other precautions that you MUST take. Either buy the car from a dealership that offers a warranty, or if purchasing from a private seller, have a mechanic check it out. Your own test drive is not enough to detect certain issues that a used car could have. Used cars are sold “as is”, so if it quits running 24 hours after you bought it, it’s yours and you have no recourse unless you can prove that the seller misrepresented something. I know…you don’t want to spend the money on the mechanic. But do you want to be stuck with a car that is headed for the junkyard? Here’s a tip: ask the seller if they will reduce the price of the car for the mechanic’s fee if you buy the car.

Buying a new car can be a lot of fun! Just do your homework and go on the ride of your life!


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