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How to Pick a Car That Fits Your Budget and Needs

Buying a car is a difficult task, especially if you have little to no experience.

In an ideal world, you’ll get to buy and drive the car of your dreams. But the reality is that most buyers choose vehicles based on their wants, which are then tempered by various factors, including their lifestyles and budgets.

If you are at the planning stage of buying a new automobile, here are a few tips that will help make things easier for you.

1. Evaluate your needs

There is no single car which will meet everyone’s needs. A single guy can get away with buying a coupe while a family man may have to look at bigger, roomier options.

When you are planning to buy a car, it is crucial to list down what your specific needs are. In short, functionality should be your guiding principle.

Among the factors that you may want to consider are the number of passengers the car has to carry, the type of road you usually drive on, safety features, cargo capacity, and even how big the available parking space in your home is.

2. Determine how much you can afford

Unless you have saved enough cash for the outright payment of your new car, you will need to take out a car loan.

But before you secure a car loan, you need to determine how much you can truly afford to pay monthly.

As a rule of thumb, your monthly payment should not be more than 15 percent of your take home pay.

For this task, you may want to use an online calculator which will help you compute monthly payments.

But apart from simply looking at how much you can really afford, you also have to take into consideration the expenses associated with car ownership. These include maintenance, fuel, and insurance.

3. Add a few more cars to your shortlist

Perhaps you have been eyeing a particular model to buy. That’s perfectly normal.

However, you should avoid the temptation of being too fixated on just one model. Otherwise, you might miss out on other good deals available.

If you have a specific model in mind, you might want to check out the reviews of other cars in the same class.

On the other hand, if you are eyeing a particular vehicle type, it will be easier for you to check out and compare competing models.

4. Check out the available cars for sale in your area

Once you have created a shortlist of potential cars to buy, the next order of business is to check which of these are available in your area.

In the past, this meant calling or visiting each dealership in your area. But today, you can simply go online.

In some instances, the cars in your shortlist may not be within your immediate vicinity. As such, you may want to cast a wider net and check out other dealerships.

5. Take the car out for a quick spin

Upon confirmation of the availability of the cars in your shortlist, the next thing that you need to do is to take each one for a test drive.

Schedule a test drive with the dealership. This will ensure that the vehicle is ready once you get there.

What should you look out for during the test drive?

  • First, check out the available space in each vehicle. Is there ample space for each of your passengers? Check out the trunk. Is there enough space for your cargo? Take a seat at the driver’s seat. Are you comfortable?

  • Next, take the car out for a test drive. Ideally, you should drive on the same road that you frequent or something similar to it. For example, if you are going to pass through mountain roads, you should drive in an area that has steep roads.

Making your final choice

In some instances, one car truly stands out. After checking out each option on your shortlist, there will be one car that will be the obvious choice.

But sometimes, making the final choice can seem difficult because the cars in your short list all seem to be good choices.

If you can’t pick out the right car for you, you might want to take your time. After all, buying a car is a big financial decision. It might also help you to check out reviews or even take other models for a test drive.

Remember, it is better to take your time rather than suffer from buyer’s remorse later.