If you’re trying to save money or stick to a budget, then the thought of buying a car can feel daunting, to say the least. But a lot of us need a car, whether it is to get to work, school or to do errands and get to appointments. Not every city or town has public transportation that is convenient and easy to navigate. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to crunch the numbers and get the most value when buying a car.
Tip #1: Start by doing your homework. If you visit Cars.com, in the convenience of your own home with a cold iced tea and your feet up you can easily browse through to see what cars meet your needs. Take a look at what cars are not only within your budget but also might even be a bit outside of your budget. Don’t forget to visit their Video & Reviews section, so you can get a full view of the cars and understand what it is like to own the car. Once you have a list of cars it’s time to move on to the next step.
Tip #2: Sit down with your budget and understand what you could afford to pay for a car. Buying a car is a personal decision, so everyone is going to think something different. Some prefer to always lease a car. Others like to own a car. Some car buyers will take a look at pre-certified used cars. Others only want a new car. Decide what types of cars you prefer the most as we’ve mentioned and then see how your budget is going to work with them.
Tip #3: Plenty of people who need to buy a car realize that they need to have additional income coming in because this is an added expense over your typical month-to-month budget. Take a look around to see what type of work you could add to your schedule that you would like to do. If you are a teacher, then being a private tutor could be a great way to earn money. If you are a great DIY person, then putting together items people have bought, such as furniture is something that is convenient and also would be in great demand.
Tip #4: Think long term when you buy a car. It can be very tempting to jump at the first car you see that is in your price range, especially if you are on a tight budget. But remember that if you are buying a used car, you want to have a mechanic approve of the car before you hand anyone a check. Realize that when you buy a car, you want this to be a car that you will be driving five to ten years from now.
Tip #5: Make the most of the time you are looking for a car. While you could find something quickly, focus on your needs and be sure the car you purchase meets them!
Join our newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.