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How Much Can You Afford

We all hate budgets, but it’s important to sit down and figure out how much you can afford to pay for a car. Sometimes it’s surprising how high car payments will end up being. You can also find car payment calculators that will allow you to put in the purchase cost, any trade in value you may have, rate, and loan duration. You can also get pre-approved through credit unions, banks, and even places like Capital One.

Buy or Lease?

There are pros and cons to both of these. Typically buying is always a better deal since you can keep the car well after it’s paid off and still receive years of service from it. When you buy a vehicle you have a set price and payment (unless you refinance later), but when you lease you will make a monthly payment, often need to put money down, or pay a fee when you return the vehicle. And then you’ll be without a car at the end of the lease and need to either get another lease, buyout the lease you currently have, or find a new car to buy. However, you may have tax reasons for leasing, like if you’re a business owner and you can deduct the monthly payments.

New or Used?

Typically new cars lose thousands of dollars once they are driven off the lot. Even if you only drive the vehicle for a week and decide you don’t want it, it’s now considered a used vehicle and therefore has a lower retail value. If you can afford a brand new car and you plan to keep it long after you’ve paid for it, it might be worth it. But it might be worth looking into a used car with low miles, or even a certified used vehicle, which comes with a warranty up to certain amount of miles or years.

Do Your Research

It’s important to do your research on both the car you’re looking at and then dealership you’re interested in going through. Perhaps you want to buy a car from a private citizen, do your research there too. If you’re able to take the car for a few hours, take it to a local shop and have them give it an inspection to make sure they aren’t trying to sell you a lemon. Check crash test ratings, and dealership reviews. And if you ever feel uncomfortable during the purchasing process, it’s okay to walk away.

How Much Do You Want to Pay Per Month?

You should know this answer, but you shouldn’t have to answer it to a salesman. This is a tactic that salesmen try to use to take your eye off the ball. That payment can be possible by extending the duration of the loan, for instance making a 60 month loan a 72 or even 84 month. This might allow them to inflate the price or add in other fees that you don’t need. Know how much your payment should be by using a payment calculator and then focus on the sticker price of the vehicle.

Do You Need to LX Package?

When you get the LX package of a vehicle that sticker price can jump upwards of a 70% increase. Do you really need the LX package? Or is it your ego? Is anyone going to notice that your vehicle has all the bells and whistles? And how many of them will you actually use? If you can’t live without a backup camera and bluetooth then make sure your vehicle has that. But do you really need tvs in the backseat, leather, sunroof, sat nav, and more? Find out what you would like in your vehicle and what the lowest package that offers those things is.

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