GUIDE TO STRESS-FREE CAR SHOPPING

Buying a car is considered one of the most stressful purchases. It doesn't have to be. Check out our four-part guide to stress-free car shopping: Setting a Budget, Choosing the Right Car, Securing Financing and Test Driving & Sealing the Deal.

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PART 1 - SETTING A BUDGET

Before you jump behind the wheel of your first or next vehicle, it's important to know whether or not you can afford it. The following tips help you prepare a budget that will get you into your vehicle without getting over your head financially.

1
First, find a calculator. It's not enough to set a budget for your down payment. You also need to know what you can afford to pay for a car (and its upkeep) each month. Budget for insurance, gas and regular oil changes also.

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2
Know your credit score, too - the state of your credit will impact financing terms.

3
If you're trading in a car, research its value to factor that into your budget. You can use an online tool to check the trade-in value of the year, make and model of your old car, based on condition (So be honest!)

 

4
Aim to spend no more than 15% of your current income on a car loan payment.

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5
MSRP stands for manufacturer's suggested retail price; operative word: suggested. The dealer can adjust the price up or down, often due to the vehicle's demand. To price vehicles and see what other shoppers in your area paid, use a tool such as Chase Car Buying service.

DRIVER'S ED - TIP

Buying A Car As
A Couple

Are you part of a twosome, yet you're buying a car primarily for your own use and with your own funds? Still approach this process together and compromise. From monthly payments, insurance, maintenance and repairs, the total cost of a vehicle may impact both of you.

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Be sure to visit Part Two
of our Guide to Stress-Free
Car Shopping.

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