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In the market for a new or used car? To get a great deal and a car you’re happy with, brush up on the process of buying a car and the merits of new versus used vehicles:
1. Set a budget. Before setting off for the dealership, determine what you can afford. Add up your monthly expenses and subtract the total from your monthly income. Look at what’s left, leaving room for savings goals. That’s roughly what you’re working with for your car payments, auto insurance, fuel, and related costs.
2. Do your research. Make a list of qualities that are must-haves, such as large cargo space, a high safety rating, or long-term reliability. Then, seek out cars that match those needs and fit within your budget. From there, you’ll be set to start looking at cars in person.
3. Test-drive cars. Try to drive all the cars you’re considering on the same day to better compare them. Test a number of qualities over the course of at least 30 minutes: Make sure the car is comfortable, drives well on different road surfaces, brakes and accelerates to your liking, and has good visibility.
4. Secure financing. Car dealerships may offer their own financing, but you could be missing out on a better rate if you don’t do comparison shopping. Many dealers mark up their auto financing to boost profit margins, so chances are good that you could get a better deal from your local credit union. Get preapproved before shopping so you have some leverage when you start negotiating.
5. Negotiate terms. Your priority when negotiating should be lowering the total price of the car, not the monthly payment. Negotiating the monthly payment makes it easy for the dealer to sneak in extra costs for the lifetime of the loan. Clarify whether the price being discussed includes taxes and fees or not. Get a breakdown of any fees and be ready to walk if you feel like you’re being given a bad deal.
Buying new: There’s a lot to love about buying new, aside from that new car smell. You can get the latest safety and technology features. Newer cars generally have better gas mileage. And you can rest assured that you’re the first owner of the vehicle and you’re covered by a manufacturer warranty.
Buying used: Selecting a pre-owned vehicle doesn’t just mean a lower total cost. That lower cost can mean you’re able to afford a more premium make or model. You’ll also experience less depreciation on your car purchase and could pay less on auto insurance. Plus, you’ll have a better idea of reliability, since you’ll be able to analyze the real-life results of other car owners.
Most people find a car and then re-arrange their budget to fit the car. That's a very expensive and budget-busting way to find a car. If you're StreetWise, you let your budget determine what car you can buy.
Based on your budget, you have an exact amount of money available to you right now to buy a car. That money is called Available Cash. It's made up of three things...
Understanding Available Cash means you understand your budget.
Both of these sentences say the same thing. Which is the easiest to understand?
That's the easiest way to shop. Why? As long as you don't spend more than your Available Cash figure, you will always be on budget!
If you’re considering getting a new car or truck, the choice to lease or buy may be difficult. With leasing, you might have smaller monthly payments, but you lose out on ownership of the vehicle and may have mileage limitations. With purchasing you get ownership equity, but also the stress of selling the vehicle once you’re ready to move on. So what’s the best choice for you?
Buying a new or used car is a big financial decision, so it pays to take your time and do some research before you commit.
Use the following 10 tips to make sure you’re getting a car you can afford, as well as one that will meet your needs now and into the future:
Used cars usually give you more options for your money. But you may not know their history and the cars may not come with a warranty. And if you finance the purchase, you might pay a higher interest rate.
Experts say certified preowned cars are a good compromise for several reasons. They cost less than new cars and have lower mileage. Vehicles come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which means the dealership carefully inspects and verifies that they’re in good working order.
Enjoy your car knowing you did a great job finding the best possible deal.