Laura Edgar is a senior writer for NerdWallet.com, a consumer finance comparison website committed to helping you save money.
Considering a new car? Buying a car, especially if you’ve never done it before, can be extremely stressful, just because there’s so much to think about. That being said, it’s well worth putting in the extra time to plan ahead. In doing so, you’ll save time and money. Plus, you won’t end up with a lemon! These five tips will help you get started.
1. Leave room in your budget
Buying a new car? You’ll probably need at least a few thousand dollars in your savings account for the down payment, plus some room in your budget for regular auto loan payments of several hundred dollars. Even used cars are expensive, but in many ways, they’re a lot more economical than a new car. According to Kelley Blue Book, most cars lose 20 percent of their value in the first year, and 60 percent of their value within five years. When you consider the fact that most five-year-old cars don’t have many problems, a used car is a great deal.
2. Do your homework
Make sure you learn as much as you can about your car before you buy it. Websites like ConsumerReports.org and kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book’s official website) can give you unbiased information about the value of your vehicle, its reliability and even the driving experience. If you’re buying a used car, make sure to get the repair records and, ideally, a CARFAX report. It’s also important to test drive a vehicle before you consider purchasing it. This is the only way to know if the vehicle is comfortable for you and handles the way you like it. Continue reading