Budgeting can be stressful and dreadful for just about anyone. Budgeting when you have a family to take care of is even more stressful. Sometimes, life gets in the way of your plans. What if you woke up tomorrow and your transmission was shot? Most people would buy a new car because the cost of replacing a transmission is usually more than the car is worth. A lot of times, people do not budget ahead for a new car, because, more often than not, getting a new car is a necessity, not a luxury. So, if you have not planned for something like that to happen, and you find yourself in sudden need of a new set of wheels, what do you do? Check out some of these tips about purchasing a car on any budget to try and take some of the hassle and stress off of your shoulders.
The first thing you need to do is determine how much you can afford. When it comes to purchasing a car, there are several costs involved. In addition to your monthly payments (or vehicle cost) you will likely also have to pay for:
- The cost of oil changes
- Tires will need to be replaced and taken care of at some point
- Insurance, plates, registration costs
- Gas expenses
So, before you make any decisions, take a moment to go through your finances and determine how much you can actually afford to spend on a car. A good way to do this is to put 10% of your income for monthly expenses (if you are making monthly payments), including fuel and maintenance.
If you are already on a lower budget, buying used is likely your best option. Since cars are typically depreciating over time, there is a lot to choose from. Often, lease trade in vehicles are a good plan because they had a service contract meaning that they were probably properly cared for. Since the value of a car tends to go down over three years, buying a car that is at least three years old, and then selling it later, is a great way to make sure that you won’t lose money or overspend on the vehicle.
Sometimes when purchasing a new car on a budget, people tend to lean towards something that they can get as cheap as possible. This sounds like a good idea, but it can end up being a huge money pit. When you buy the cheapest car on the lot, the chances are pretty good that you will spend a fortune in maintenance. Dealerships will run deals on new leases and lure you in with low payments. The best thing you can do is some market research on the cars that you are interested in. There are plenty of ways to pay for a car. A lot of people get title loans which not only help keep monthly payments affordable, they are great for increasing your credit score.
It is also very important to make sure you check the vehicle’s history for any questionable bits of information on that particular car. This includes things like accidents, water damage, replacement parts, etc. This will save you a lot of money down the road when you try to sell the car as you will be aware of any history that could depreciate the value of the vehicle. Buying a car is not something that should be taken lightly, especially if you are on a tight budget. Take some time to learn about what your needs are and what you are able to afford before pulling the trigger on a huge financial commitment.