I can't imagine my life without a car. I know there are plenty of people who are embracing the minimalism and frugality of living without a car, not to mention the health benefits of walking or biking everywhere, but my lifestyle is pretty dependent on having a car I can use whenever I want.
I'm also lucky because when I got ready to buy my first car, my parents where there to help walk me through the process and to make sure that I made the best decision possible.
If you are a first time car buyer, here are 4 things you need to know.
Consider Your Total Budget, Not Just Your Monthly Payment
Most first time car buyers don't have the luxury of having cash saved up to pay for their entire car purchase. If you know you are going to have to take out a loan for a car, make sure you consider your entire budget for buying a car, not just how much your monthly payment will be.
Every time I've bought a car the salesmen are quick to ask me what I want my monthly payment to be. This is when they try to make a car fit in your monthly payment budget no matter if it's really a good financial move. Sometimes they will extend the loan terms, causing you to pay more interest over the life of your loan, just to make sure it fits within the monthly payment target you've set.
When you go shopping for your first car you can avoid this by having a total budget in mind for your car purchase, not just what you want your monthly payment to be.
Know What You Need
Car needs are different for every person. Some people need lots of cargo space, some people need lots of space for passengers, some people need 4 wheel drive, and others don't care about that at all. No matter what your situation is, you need to keep your overall needs in mind when decided what type of car you want to buy.
Prioritize Wants & Be Willing to Compromise
You might want a car with leather seats, a remote start, or under 100,000 miles. Everyone has things they want when they go to buy a car, but it's important to know what you want most so you can prioritize that and compromise on other things that are less important to you. This will also help you stay within your car budget too.
Do Your Own Research
Before you set foot on a car lot, do your own research about how much a car you want will cost you. You can easily compare prices online at different dealerships, along with checking out car values on reputable sites, like Kelley Blue Book. This is an important step that you shouldn't skip if you want to get a good deal on your car purchase. You also need to consider how much insurance and taxes will cost on your new car. One thing to consider is if you need comprehensive insurance or just liability.
Buying a car for the first time doesn't have to be a scary process. With these tips in mind, first time car buyers will be able to walk confidently into a car lot and find what they really need and want the most without overpaying.
Did you make any mistakes when you bought your first car? Do you have any other tips for first time car buyers?