3 Essential Tips That Will Help You Buy Your Next Car

Whether you’re looking to swap out your current ride or you’re new to the car-buying scene altogether, the car-buying experience can be really intimidating and overwhelming. Finding a car that works for you, fits your budget, and makes you happy is really tricky. With new and exciting vehicles being launched every year, the search may seem never-ending.

Regardless of which makes, models, colors, and features draw you in, you can narrow down the options and find your best choice with some key car-buying criteria. Keep reading for a few tips that will help you make a smart and practical purchase!

Think About Your Budget

Before you fall in love with a shiny, newly-launched car, you’ll need to reign in your search by setting a clear budget. New cars can be even more expensive than you think, especially when they’re equipped with all of the latest tech features and safety enhancements. Getting the luxurious experience of your dreams may have to wait if your funds don’t allow for it.

To establish your budget, you’ll need to calculate what you can pay per month. After you factor in all of your existing monthly expenses–like rent or mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities–you can determine what portion of your remaining funds could be put toward paying a new car.

The monthly car payment isn’t the only one you’ll need to consider. A new car will require a new car insurance policy, and fancy new cars can be expensive to insure. You can check out different policies to get an idea of your best price and coverage options, but you’ll need to keep that monthly premium in mind when you’re totaling up your potential monthly expenses.

Figure Out Your Wants & Needs

With your budget established, you’ll need to start making some tough choices and cut down the laundry list of features that you’ve been making as you shop around. A vehicle that combines all of your ideal components will likely be pretty expensive.

To make sure that you get a car that fits your budget and your preferences, you’ll have to make a few compromises. Start splitting up your list of features into “wants” and “needs.” For instance, you may want a large SUV with lots of cool tech features that you can take on trips. However, your daily habits may require something different. A vehicle like that would benefit you in the situations you’re picturing, but is it ideal for commuting in and out of a busy city or maneuvering in and out of your building’s parking garage?

If your wants and needs conflict, try to make compromises that blend function with preference. In this case, you could go with a smaller SUV to make your tastes fit your lifestyle, or you could opt for a traditional car with all of the latest tech features to make a practical choice more exciting.

Don’t Just Window Shop

Lastly, don’t just look at the vehicles that interest you while you’re narrowing down your options. You’ll be using your new vehicle every day, so you should make sure that you actually enjoy driving it and being in it before you commit to a purchase.

It’s a great idea to start by doing some research and coming up with vehicle options that appeal to you. Once you have a few ideas that work with your budget and meet your preferences, go to a dealership and see them in person. 

Working with car salesmen can be intimidating, but it’s their job to help you figure out which cars are right for you. Request to test-drive vehicles that catch your eye and see how you like them. Remember that this is a big investment and you’ll want to keep your car for a long time, so you have the right to be selective.

If you do a little research and planning with these tips in mind, you can walk into the dealership with confidence and get the best possible deal on your perfect car.