I remember having to buy my first car a very long time ago. Still, the amount of uncertainty and confusion that I lived back then are priceless memories, yet also useful life lessons. This is an exciting yet frightening experience, especially if nobody’s assisting you throughout the purchase.
When you buy a car for the first time you should consider numerous critical aspects like:
- The total cost vs. your available budget
- The type of vehicle you want to drive
- The average yearly/lifetime expenses
- Buy new? Buy second-hand? Which is better for you?
- Can you get financing help? Do you qualify?
- Are those dealers pumping prices because they see you’re a beginner?
- Are you getting a fair deal? Have you taken care of anything that may put you in a bad situation?
There are many thoughts and feelings when it comes to buying a car. Many people freak out and start the buying process while being affected by pure emotions. You want to do better. You need to make a better and more objective choice, and you need to play smart.
In today’s post, I’m sharing insightful tips and tricks that should help you find the best way to buy a car, especially if you’re doing it for the first time!
Cash or Financing? New or Second?
There are two separate ways: buy your car cash down (new or used) or seek financing for a brand-new car. The choice is yours, though make sure you’re counting the PROs and CONs of each option attentively.
Because you’re new to the entire car buying and driving experience, I’d say you should opt for a secondhand car. If your budget is not sufficient for a new car, go for a used car but try to buy from an authorized dealer rather than a private owner. Nevertheless, there are many parameters to consider.
The seller might be tricky because he is trained to be so. There are lots of things to consider, so if you are still learning, you can leverage a website to buy assignments online in order to avoid making hasty and ineffective purchasing decisions.
What is Your Budget? Is It Enough?
Take a pen and a paper and count everything. What is your available budget? What’s the exact sum you can pull right now?
Think about your current basic living expenses. Include your health insurance, rent, food, mortgage, and other additional spending habits (going out, buying stuff, etc.).
Take your total income, cut the living expenses, and see what’s left. If you’re going for the financing option, consider your monthly car payment, the gas, the insurance, and the maintenance costs. Add the potential costs of an unfortunate event every year and see if your budget is still on positive.
Define Your Needs and Expectations
To make the process easier, start defining your needs and expectations. Simpler put – why are you buying this car, and what main purposes will it serve? Again, there are many reasons why people buy cars:
- To go to work, to drive kids to work, to be able to work
- To have flexibility all the time
- To look COOL (sport, tuned cars)
- To feel special (expensive cars)
Define your needs, and then move to expectations.
Be specific. What do you want from your first car? Are you seeking luxury? Or you’d rather know that your future driving mistakes won’t get you bankrupt? That would involve a modest car that can “take some hits” without making your world end. I bet you know what I mean.
As for more specific needs, here are some examples:
- Are you looking for extra room for more passengers or cargo?
- Do you need an off-road vehicle that you can use on country roads?
- Do you need extra safety?
- Do you need to spend as less as possible on gas?
Define your needs and expectations!
The Most Important Differentiating Factor is the Test Drive
After your budget is established and your needs are well known, it’s time to seek some cars. I won’t teach you how to do it, though I’d suggest you go for an authorized dealership company even if it’s a second-hand purchase.
The most important factor when deciding whether to buy a car or not is the test drive. Forget everything you’ve heard/seen/read about that car online and place yourself behind the wheel.
Start driving and see how it feels. Use your intuition and see if you can imagine yourself driving this car. Take your time to think and ask for another test drive in a few days if you’re not decided. Usually, you’ll fall in love with a car if it’s meant to be during the first test drive. If the price corresponds, do not hesitate.
This 2001 Chevy Silverado would be an amazing First Car.
There’s no best time to buy a car. When the moment comes, you’ll know it and feel it. If you’re pressed by circumstances and you must hurry up, prioritize the strategies, tips, and tricks you’ve learned here and don’t let haste affect you.
Buying a car is a satisfying yet often terrifying experience; quite frankly, only you can influence the way it’s going to be. Do your homework well and you’ll hardly ever purchase “bad” cars that won’t match your needs and expectations. Best of luck!