For most individuals, having a car is necessary for getting to work, going to the store to buy groceries, taking kids to school, and running errands around town. Therefore, one of the most important financial choices you will make is buying your first car. Being a first-time car buyer may be stressful and daunting, but these five tips can help you get through this experience.
Create a Realistic Budget
Before shopping for a new car, you need to create a budget. First, consider all your monthly expenses, including rent, groceries, household bills, fun extracurricular expenses, student loans, and other living expenses. Then, figure out a percentage of your income you can dedicate to a car payment. It is best to allocate around 10% of your monthly budget to auto expenses, including car payments, gas, and insurance.
Impulsive buying occurs when you feel an intense emotion toward something you want to buy. When buying your first car at a vehicle dealership, impulse buying can lead you to make a poor financial decision. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to set a clear goal before shopping for your first car. It is best to create a short list of vehicles you want to buy that fall within your budget and stick to this list. Then, if you come across another car you want to buy, you can add it to the list if it falls within your budget.
Consider What You Need
When buying your first car, you already know what you want, but it is much more important to understand what you need. For instance, you may want a sports car, but it might not be the best option for driving your family around. You will benefit by balancing your needs and wants.
Take a Test Drive
A crucial step in buying a car is taking it for a test drive. You can learn a lot about a vehicle during a test drive. For example, you can understand how it drives at various speeds on different road conditions, handles turns, and accelerates and decelerates. You can also get a feel for how you feel while driving the car, and if it will be easy or difficult to drive.
Be prepared to walk away if you do not find a car that you need that is within your budget. Instead, find a dealership you can trust and can help you make the right decision.
These tips will help you find the right car for your needs. If necessary, bring someone with you who has experience buying cars and can help you buy your first car.