Every adult experiences the feeling of eventually being kicked out of the nest. Sometimes it’s a wink and a nudge for a college graduate to get their own place while other times it is a parent encouraging their high school student to get a part time summer job. With each step that someone takes toward this independence, they are dealing with the challenge of deciding what is right and wrong as well as how to spend money and when. Even in our mid 40’s, Scott and I continue to experience ‘firsts’ and feel the need to research to make sure we’re making the right decision.
One of the “first time” situations for most is their first time purchasing a car. Most of the time that means purchasing a used vehicle but sometimes a new one. A post featured in Nationwide’s blog, does a great job of outlining some of the things for first time car buyers to consider such as financing, the car search and the purchase.
First and foremost, it’s important to sit down and create a checklist of what you want and need. Create a pie-in-the-sky wish list because you can always mark things off once you get rolling. Second, you need to figure out what you can afford. Third, you need to learn best practices and pitfalls of actually buying a car!
What can you afford?
Yes, it’s nice to want a dream car, but it won’t be of use if it’s sitting in the driveway because you didn’t factor in the cost of insurance. Or worse, you can’t afford the payments. Utilize a financing calculator to figure out whether it can fit into your budget.
What kind of car do you want or need?
It’s time to sit down and evaluate what you like and don’t like in a vehicle. Do you want a car, truck or SUV? Do you want something with good gas mileage? Does it need to seat a certain number of family members? Nationwide’s First-Time Car Buyer Guide: Tools and Resources from their In The Nation blog provides a list of resources for answering these questions. We recommend that you test drive, research, and experiment with different types of cars to find out what you like and don’t like. Visit an auto show and you’ll be able to check out several types all at once! Even if you are seeking a pre-owned car, learning about options will help ensure you get what you want.
Are you ready to purchase?
You already learned about your budget restrictions but don’t forget to factor in additional costs when settling on a final price. Just because the finance calculator said you can afford it doesn’t mean you should spend THAT much. Walk into the negotiation without a sentimental attachment because the minute you show that it’s THE car you want, that’s the moment you’ll end up paying too much. The First-Time Car Buyer Guide: Tools and Resources offers checklists for inspecting used cars, tips on how to take a test drive and most important – how to deal with car salesmen!
Buying a car for the first time or not, is something that should be taken seriously. Do your homework, research and put your best interests FIRST. Don’t worry about hurting feelings of the person who wants to sell you a car. Don’t settle for a car that doesn’t meet your needs. Use a buyer’s guide to make the process easier and less stressful. What is your biggest fear about purchasing a new (or used) vehicle?