Buying a Car
Buying and Selling Cars

5 Helpful Tips for Buying a Car for First-Timers

Did you get your license? Ready to experience the road of freedom in your first car? This is such a fun and liberating time!

Wondering about the car buying process or are you worried? Don’t be. Keep reading to discover some insightful money-saving tips for buying a car to help you enjoy the freedom of the road.

1. Know and Set Your Budget

Creating a budget is the very first step in buying your car—you need to know what you can afford so you can narrow down your search. To get started, add up your monthly income and your monthly expenses. Then you need to subtract your expenses from your income. 

Don’t forget to give yourself room for discretionary expenses like buying clothes or going out. You can get an idea of how much money you have to put toward your car payment.

It’s best to stay below 10 percent of your monthly take-home pay. Don’t forget to figure in other expenses like insurance, maintenance, gasoline, and repairs.

2. Determine Your Wants vs Needs

When you set your budget, you may notice that you cannot afford all the bells and whistles on a car. It’s important to determine what is really important to you.

Think about how often you drive to consider gas mileage or how much space you need. You may also want to consider the advantages of buying a used car to help you get your price down. 

3. Explore Financing Options

Now that you narrowed it down to a few cars, you need to figure out how you will finance your purchase. Most likely, you will need an auto loan to finance the purchase. You should talk to a few banks before you head to a car dealership just so you know your options. Car dealerships do have financing, but you need to make sure you are getting the best rates and terms available.

You can lower your payment by taking a longer loan term. However, beware of terms longer than six or seven years. You need to determine how long you plan to keep your car, so you don’t get upside down in your loan.

4. Take a Test Drive

Even after all your research, you still need to take your car for a test drive during your process of buying a car. There are so many variables that research can’t do for you.

You want to see how the car handles for yourself along with seat height, control layout and reach, steering feel, seat height, and more. Make sure you take the car out for more than five minutes so you get a reasonable feel for the car.

Try things like merging on the freeway, stop-and-go, handling curves, acceleration, and more. Take your time on your test drive, so you can compare your vehicle choices.

5. Negotiate Price

After you make your decision, you can try to negotiate the price. Most dealers expect you to negotiate, so there is most likely some wiggle room. Research the car’s value on various websites to make sure the price is in line.

You can also wait until the timing is right. Try buying during the end of the month when sales personnel are trying to reach quota or when special financing options are available like 0 percent interest.

Follow These Tips for Buying a Car

Buying a car for the first time does not have to be overwhelming. Use these tips for buying a car for the first time to help you make your purchase. Do your research, create your budget, negotiate price, and make sure you secure the best financing option for you. Don’t forget to test drive that car!

Keep perusing our site for more insightful content on automobiles. Enjoy your new car and freedom!