Last summer I bought a new car. I was driving an old pickup truck that my dad had given me for a while but when it began to fall apart I knew it was time to start looking at getting a new ride. (When I say falling apart, I mean it. The windshield wipers didn’t work, the door locks were faulty, the air conditioner was out, and the brakes barely worked. It was like playing Russian roulette every time I stepped behind the wheel.
I began looking at every car lot I drove past and started thinking about a budget that I could afford. I looked at everything from a Honda Civic to a Toyota Prius. Nothing seemed to fit my style or my budget. I went in hoping to get a monthly car payment below $200. That was when I drove past the Mercedes dealership and immediately fell in love with the Smart.
A few weeks later I came back, signed the paperwork, and drove away in my brand new car. I named her Zipper for various reasons and have been driving her ever since. It doesn’t matter where I go, people are always looking, pointing, and laughing. They can laugh, that’s fine; I didn’t buy this car not expecting some sort of attention. However, I am getting nearly fifty miles to the gallon, so as I pass by all these people at the gas station while they are filling up, I just wave and smile at my fuel economy.
When buying a new car, there are a lot of things to pay attention to. Below are some things to keep in mind when buying a new car. Most people will take the five year route to paying off his or her ride, so this is truly an investment that is worth paying attention to.
Dealing with the Financial Aspect of Things
There are plenty of ways to pay for a new car. You can pay for it in cash (which I would love to be able to do one day), you can finance it through the dealership or your favorite bank, or you can lease it paying monthly payments for a certain number of months. Think of a lease as renting an apartment.
I decided when I got my car to finance through the dealership. They offered a low interest rate and for a five-year loan I would only be paying $235 a month. Granted I had to put a lot down to get my monthly payments down that low, but it was worth it to have such a low monthly payment.
One thing you need to realize when buying a new car is that it is not an impulse purchase. You can’t just go out on a random Saturday and buy a new car. You need to plan this out, figure out what you can afford, and research all the current interest rates at all of the local banks. Most banks will have a much higher interest rate than you can get at your chosen dealership, but it’s worth calling to make sure you don’t miss a good deal.
Then, once you have chosen where you want to buy your car, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure to see your payment schedule and be aware of any additional fees their bank might charge. In the end, you will be set with an affordable monthly payment and a new car to show off to all your friends.
Buying Your Car Online
Granted, doing your research online is not only a good idea, it is almost a requirement. You can hop online, hit up your favorite search engine, and learn anything you want to know about your car. You can get the car’s miles per gallon, the warranty information, insurance quotes, and even customer reviews from others that are driving the same car you are looking at.
But when it comes to buying a new car, I highly recommend you go through a dealership or a trusted used car salesman. I use the internet to book dinner reservations, purchase plane tickets, even buy a new laptop, but I would never buy a new car online. (I say that even though I met my girlfriend online.) Use the internet to do all your research, even to post pictures of your new car online, but don’t actually sign the papers over an email.
Paying for the Extras
I like options, but when you are buying a new car, they might not always be worth the extra money. For instance, a new CD player might run you $100 or so through a retailer like Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics. But if you buy it through the dealership, they can simply charge you what they want. When I was getting my new car, it came with a stock stereo but for an additional $395 I could upgrade the disc player. It wasn’t worth it, as the stock one works just fine.
Other options might include a better air conditioner, mirrors in your visor, or more or better gears on your dashboard. But whatever they are trying to sell you into at the dealership, chances are you probably don’t need these options. The main reason is that these car salesmen are working based on commission. I had the chance to buy a car through Mercedes, so I didn’t have to deal with a commission-based salesman. They do not work on commission.
So when buying your new ride, take the time to pick only the options you need or can afford. It will be worth it in the long run.
Buying a Used Car without Proper Research
I can’t stress this enough. Do your research. When you buy a new car, even if you lease one, you are going to be stuck with it for a long time. You spend a lot of time in your car, so make sure to buy what you want, or at least what you can afford. When I bought my car I signed a five-year loan. So for the next five years I am driving the same car every day. So do the research, whether in person or online. Drive the car a few times, and ask questions at the dealership. Make sure that before you take the keys that you love the car.
What kind of car do you drive? Did you do your research and purchase what you wanted?