Tips for Budget Car Shopping

February 24, 2017 · Posted in General Articles on Car Insurance 

Driving a new car is a lot of fun, but buying one can be a major pain. Throw in the tight credit market due to the economic crisis, and that makes shopping for a new car on a budget all the more frustrating.

But you can get a car you’ll love for payments you can afford. First of all, be sure you know how much you can afford. This is where you have to start. Take a long, hard look at your budget, making sure you include insurance premiums, taxes, gas maintenance, license, and registration in your calculations. Once you know how much you can pay, the move on to the second step.

Secondly, consider how you will use your new car. Will you do mostly highway driving? City driving? Do you need room to haul luggage or equipment, or is passenger room your first priority? Your needs and your budget determine the kind of car you should shop for.

Next, decide on whether you want to purchase a new car or a used car. In the past, many people would buy new cars because used cars were considered unreliable. However, with improvements in technology, cars are better and lasting longer, making used cars a worthy choice. If you do decide to go the used car route, make sure you have access to the vehicle?s repair and maintenance history. You don?t want to purchase a used car that has had major repairs that have not been disclosed.

Then decide whether to buy or lease. If you trade cars every two or three years, then leasing may be for you. It costs less per month and requires a lower down payment. But if you drive your cars for five, seven, even ten years or more, there is no doubt you will be better off buying them outright. That’s also true if you drive a lot of miles per year, such as driving from your suburban home to a job in the city every day or using your car in outside sales. If you lease a car, you are limited to a preset number of miles per year without having to pay a stiff penalty. Drive it too much, and you may have to spend a small fortune to pay off your lease.

Whichever you decide, buy or lease, be prepared to negotiate. Get the price on the model you want from multiple dealers. Look for specials. At the end of the sales year, dealers are eager to move older models off the lot to make room for the next year’s design. Search the Internet for even more great deals and special offers.

Finally, if you are going to buy a car and need a loan, get pre-approved first. Having that pre-approval in hand makes you a much more attractive customer to an auto dealer, and that makes them more likely to negotiate with you and give you a good deal.

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