Purchasing a vehicle can be exciting, whether the vehicle is new or used. But it can also be a bit intimidating. You’ll have a ton of questions: Can I afford it? How high will my monthly payments be? Will the interest rate be too high with my credit? So we’ve compiled this guide to help you start the process.
SET A BUDGET
Before you start shopping for a car, you must first figure out how much you can afford. So your first step is to figure out your budget. You should set up a Financial Affidavit to help you plan your budget by sorting out your essential monthly expenses which will help determine what you can cut back on to afford the vehicle you want.
PERSONAL BUDGET FACTORS
It is very important to have realistic expectations when shopping for a vehicle. It’s not
only just what you CAN spend, but really more of what you SHOULD spend. It’s generally
suggested that NO MORE THAN 20% of your monthly net income (what you bring
home after taxes and fees) should go towards your monthly vehicle payment.
And remember to keep your other essential monthly expenses in mind:
Rent or Mortgage
Phone/ Internet-Cable Service
If you find the majority of your monthly income going towards taking care of necessities,
it may be prudent to keep your vehicle payments on the lower side. You may not get the
vehicle you want, but at least the vehicle you get won’t end up getting repo’ed.
KEEP "HIDDEN COSTS" IN MIND
Owning a vehicle entails a lot more than just making the monthly payments. There will
be additional cost associated with owning a vehicle. Getting the vehicle will be the easiest
part, keeping the vehicle will be the hardest, because not only do you have to make
payments on the vehicle, but you must maintain the vehicle to ensure you will actually be
able to drive it. You will need to consider:
Taxes and fees (annual registration renewal)
Gas prices (which are constantly rising)
Overall Vehicle Maintenance (oil change every couple thousand miles; tire rotation every
few thousand miles; new tires about every 2 years (more often if you live in Florida due to the heat); Other fluid changes like transmission, power steering or brake fluid; AC tune-up or possible repair; Or any other emergency repair: Engine, Motor, Head Gasket, Fan Belt, Radiator, etc…)
Also be mindful of the dealerships "Hidden Costs". View the video below. Be sure to watch til the end.