How to Stay Within Your Budget When Buying a Car

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Buying a car is a thrilling experience. But it can also give you a lot of grief. It feels like you’ve won the jackpot when you find the right one that you can afford. On the other hand, you can get really frustrated with the high sticker prices, especially if that pushy salesperson just won’t let up.

Researching for various car models, going out for a test drive, and negotiating a fair deal is just the beginning. The real challenge is determining how much you can afford, then buying a vehicle without going over your means, especially if you are concerned about bad credit car finance.

Before you head to the nearest car dealership, ask yourself the tough questions. What options will work best for you? Can you afford to buy a new vehicle outright? If not, search online, look for special deals or other promos that fit your income.

To help you buy the right car but still stay within your means, check out the tips we’ve listed below.

Calculate your budget.

First, spend enough time to think about your finances. A great place to start is with your salary. How much money do you have left after taxes and other deductions? Get a clean sheet of paper and write it down.

How much is left after paying your other monthly expenses like rent, mortgage, utilities, food, groceries, internet and Netflix subscription? Not a whole lot? Yeah, we know that feeling all too well.

Cars have become more and more expensive over the years. But unfortunately, our wages just can’t keep up with them. Once you’ve got a clear idea of how much money you have left after paying all your bills, then what’s left is your car budget.

Consider other expenses.

If you’ve already determined how much your potential next vehicle costs and how much money you’ll need to spend for the initial and monthly payments, you should also consider other costs that go with owning a vehicle, like fuel costs and car insurance.

Moreover, you may overlook the taxes that are not included in your vehicle’s sticker price, plus other charges that some dealers may charge you, such as processing fees, among others.

Increase your income.

If you’re already spending the bare minimum each month and still find yourself going over your budget, find other sources of income. You can take a part-time job or do some freelance work.

If you have a couple of hours to spend each day, you can use them to do some consulting work or do other jobs that you may good at, like blogging or making some money off YouTube by doing how-to videos, among others.

Know what you really need.

It’s easy to be impressed by all the bells and whistles that many car models are offering. You might get carried away by the fancy designs, cool features and end up spending more than you should.

However, if you’re just going to use your vehicle for going to work every day, picking up your kids after school or running errands, you don’t really need all those features now, do you? So, spend some time and really think about what you need versus what you just want.

Determine the best option.

Depending on what your current financial situation is, you have several ways to get a new car. If you want a fancy new car but you can’t afford the high payments, get a used one. If you intend to keep the vehicle for the long-term, choose a car finance.

Consider leasing if you don’t want monthly car payments to make a significant dent in your income and plan to drive a new one in every three or five years.

The key factors you should always consider is to know what you can afford, set a budget and stick to it. Then, think about other expenses that go along with owning a vehicle. Just follow the tips listed above, and you’ll manage to stay within your means the next time you buy a car.

How do you stay within your means? What steps do you take to avoid going over your budget? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.