Buying a car can be challenging especially, with all of the latest and greatest technology and gadgets that are installed in vehicles nowadays. Advertisers entice us to buy the latest greatest vehicle, so we can be sexy and powerful, but when you get past all the sleek advertising, a car is simply a mode of transportation. Analyzing your budget and needs before you purchase a car will help you make the best decision for you and your family. Here are five car-buying tips for you to consider before investing in a vehicle.
Assessing your needs: When you’re looking to buy a car, make sure your needs come first. If you have a family, then a sports car probably won’t be the best choice. A minivan or SUV are more suitable options. Vehicles also come with perks like Bluetooth technology, which may make the car more expensive, but be totally unnecessary. Evaluate your basic needs before making a final decision. If you mainly need a vehicle for driving back and forth to work, then a small, economical car with great gas mileage is the way to go.
Research: Ensure you’re making a sound investment by researching websites like Consumer Reports, Edmunds or AutoTrader that provide pertinent car information. Find out which vehicles are the most reliable and which had the most maintenance and breakdowns. Buying a car model with a history of repairs will affect your budget and cause you to spend additional money down the road. Reviewing a variety of makes and models will help you figure out which car best meets the needs you defined in item 1 above.
Additional costs: Be sure to check on the increase in vehicle insurance, registration and tag as they will increase when you purchase a newer car. Another thing to consider is if the car needs premium or diesel gas, which will affect your budget.
New versus Used: For most people, owning a new car is a status symbol. However, as soon as you drive the car off of the lot it depreciates in value by as much as 30 percent. If you are diligent in your search, you can get a good deal on a used car with 20-30,000 miles and an additional 100,000 or more warranty.
Payment: Pay cash for a vehicle if you can, so you don’t have to make payments with interest. Find the lowest monthly payment for the life of the loan. Plus, used car loan rates are as low as 2½ to 3 percent, which is a bargain. The best way to avoid car payments is to keep your car for as long as possible and start saving for the replacement as soon as the current car is paid off.
Establish a budget and don’t get over your head when purchasing a car. And never fall in love with a vehicle that you can’t afford!
Buying a car is a huge investment – be sure to pray about your decision and remember a car is simply transportation – it does not define who you are!
Listen to our “Buying a New Car” radio show to learn more money-saving tips: https://compasscatholic.org/archived-radio-shows/