Buying First Car?

Buy Your First Car with Confidence

Buying your first car can be intimidating, especially when you’re not too sure what to expect. Doing your homework can make a big difference and a key factor in getting the best deal for your pockets. Here are some tips to keep in mind before and on the car lot:

Calculate the REAL cost of owning a car

For those first time car buyers the only expense of concern is usually the car, but if you are the only one forking up the money on expenses, you may want to consider the REAL cost of keeping and maintaining ownership of your new vehicle.

When figuring the cost make sure to factor in: cost of insurance, vehicle tax, annual state inspections, routine maintenance, gas and last but not least your car payment plus the interest rate you will be paying on the loan – unless you are paying with cash.      

Figure out what you can afford

List your sources of income and monthly expenses (fixed and variable), this will give you a clear idea of what you can afford. Based on the numbers, can you afford to keep an emergency fund and/or take care of unexpected repair on your new car?

Calculate your estimates and keep in mind, a good rule of thumb is to spend NO MORE than 20% of your after taxes income on a vehicle.      

Get Pre-approved

Getting pre-approved lets you know what you qualify for before you shop for a new vehicle, helping you budget for a car you can afford. A pre-approval allows you to have barging power and can prevent a car dealer from “up selling” your interest rate to earn more money. Some advice, do not disclose what the credit union has offered you until the dealership tells you their financing terms; it could help you negotiate a better deal.

Make the best choice for your pockets

Do the research and figure out what is best for your situation. Keep in mind and the average cost of the vehicles, buyer reviews and Consumer Reports, features and prices of similar vehicles, Fuel efficiency, and how long you’re planning to keep the vehicle. Make sure you think about all the facts and necessities that comes with owning a car and how your wallet fits into the picture.  

Test drive before saying yes

You may love a car until you are in the driver’s seat. Be sure to test drive the vehicle you are thinking about buying before you drive it off the lot.

Negotiate

The final price is not always the first price.