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 paid, use an online car buying resource to obtain further information.

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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