I am someone that likes to buy new when purchasing higher priced items, but at the same time if I can get a good deal for a lower price I am likely to seriously consider it. When it comes to cars, you may find a good new or used car, although each has it's benefits and drawbacks.
Putting personal feelings aside, it is best to get a new car when you can pay a little more each month and really want many years of worry free maintenance, and best to get a used car when you need a lower monthly bill or want a classic car, and you can do research on the car and do a thorough inspection yourself or by using a mechanic.
We'll discuss are the benefits and drawbacks of a used car versus a new one. Both can work out well, but your circumstances are one of the biggest determining factors in which one you should choose. We'll discuss which one might be best in different scenarios and how to come out on top.
Make a List
You want or need a car. Now it's time to think about how much you can afford realistically each month and how much you want to spend in total purchase price for your car.
One way to help you make your decision easier is to make a list of the things that are must haves in your car and a list of wants. As you look at cars and check to see if the criteria on your list has been meet or not. If you've been going without AC for years or you're tired of your stick shift, make sure those are at the top of your list for your car.
Think about your driving experience. It's a good idea to drive a couple other cars if possible, to see what you liked and disliked, even before you go to a dealership. This will give you a stress free environment to be aware of how different cars really feel as you drive them.
Make a list of what you want and what wont work for you. Your comfort and safety should play an important part in your decision making process, since you'll likely be using this car for years to come.
I always wanted a Toyota Tundra and had been want to get one for years. I had a truck previously, but the Tundra had captured my heart. I drove it and loved it, but didn't consider a couple things.
After a few weeks I noticed my back was feeling uncomfortable as I drove. I sat up tall and straight (probably for the first time in this truck) and realized my view was obstructed because I was too tall. I was hunching just a bit that whole time, but didn't realize it.
Your list should include what you need for comfort, body size, and safe control of the vehicle. Also consider reliability, if it is a convenient car for your needs, and if you plan on selling it in the future. I would make a little with needs and wants, as well as practical and monetary considerations.
Can I Afford it?
One of the first things to consider when looking at buying a car is what can you afford. I know that many people are practical when spending money on a new car and other are excited to get a car and overlook the true cost of ownership.
Dealerships and car sales persons are interested in making money and it's your job to ignore their tactics and the limited time sales, and get the car you want for the price you can really feel afford.
A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours after going to a dealership to think about the purchase. If you're letting emotions get in the way of your purchase, in a few day you could regret it. Waiting can pay off when you find a better deal just a week later, or you realize you really didn't want that specific car.
Regardless of how much you can afford, make sure to look up the average cost of ownership for your car per year. If you go to Kelly Blue Book you'll find a 5 year cost of ownership for the type of car you want to buy.
For example if you bought a 2019 Hyundai Sonata your 5 year cost of owner ship would be about $40,000 even though the purchase might be about $25,000. While a BMW 2 series might cost about $28,000 and your 5 year cost of ownership would be about $52,000.
The BMW might be what you want but it may not be in your budget over time. Making a comparison of a few cars that will work for you and what their cost of ownership will be can give you a more accurate idea of what to expect you'll need to put away for monthly expenses.
Save by Building Your Credit and Inspecting the Vehicle
One way to insure you get a good deal is to build your credit history. Having good credit can make a difference in the over all monthly bill you pay and save you money over the course of your loan.
Don't forget to have some money in savings if possible. A car is a necessity for many and some live paycheck to paycheck. They do the best they can.
That when it's important to save in other ways to help you get by. Getting a low interest rate because of you credit history can make all the difference for some.
If you do have bad credit and can build it up over several years, you can reapply for a loan and get a better rate.
Here's some information from Experian about improving your credit score.
Another way to save is to do a thorough inspection of the car if it is used. Don't skimp on this step and getting a trusted mechanic to help because getting a bad car will cost much more.
This video can give you a view of what you need to look for when buying a car.
This was the first video. The following are videos 2-5 that and are will show you what to do next. The ChrisFix website also includes this handy checklist to help you during the inspection process. (Checklist)
Pros and Cons of Owning a Used Car
After you've determined the amount of money you can spend each month on a car you can determine if it allows you to buy a new car or a used one. There are advantages to buying either type, but you'll need to determine what your overall goals are and will your car help you achieve them.
To better determine your goals take a look at the pros and cons of buying new and used cars.
After you've determined the amount of money you can spend each month on a car, you can determine if it allows you to buy a new car or a used one. There are advantages to buying either type, but you'll need to determine what your overall goals are and will your car help you achieve them.
If your not sure which type of vehicle to choose, a new or used one, then try watching this video to get a better idea of how the two type of vehicles generally compare with each other.
How Does it Feel
One way to determine if it meets your overall goals is to take it for a test drive. You'll want to make sure you fit well inside the drivers side and can clearly see out the windows and can use all the controls easily. Don't be afraid to test drive different cars at several dealerships over the course of as long as you need to feel confident in your decision.
Make it clear what your objectives are to yourself and the dealership or used car owners. Don't feel any pressure from the seller the vehicle, but at the same time be friendly and considerate of their time. Your goal is not to buy a car at first, but to test and evaluate. After considering for as long as you need, then you can make a decision.
If the car is sold, there are thousands of other great cars out their that can likely fulfill your goals and help you to feel good about your decision.
Think about how your used or new car will feel. Here's some ideas:
New Car -
Your sitting in your new car and it feels so good to not worry about repairs, expensive maintenance, and higher gas use. You love that new car smell and how your car feels when you drive it. Your motivated to keep it looking good ( at least for a while) and feel alive when driving. You've got a new car that has a high resell value, so you feel good about the future. .
Used Car -
Your sitting in your used car and it feels so good to have a reliable and good working car. You've gone out of your way to choose a car that you've always wanted and now can afford.
You love you can save money and have a little extra for the later. Your motivated to keep up maintenance and feel lucky to have a stylish car. Your used car is practical and fun.
Being comfortable and being able to safely drive the car are important factor that will stay with you as long as you own the car. Don't over look annoying or inconvenient aspects of the car and just try to live with it. Safety and comfort are important wherever you're at, whether at work, home, or in your car.
We may not like to admit it but when we invest a lot of time and money into something, we get attached. Sometimes we buy a car because it fells so good to drive, or you've always wanted this type of car, but car also needs to help us achieve all of our other goals too.
Thinking about how your car feels as you test drive it and think about it may help you find exactly what your looking for, but be carefully not to let your emotions get in the way of making a smart choice. You can have the best of both worlds.
If the car feels right, now decide if it meets all the other requirements on your list. If not, decide on the most important factors from a feeling and practical point of view and see if you can make a compromise. No car will be perfect, but you should not make too many compromises either.
Getting a car that is right for you will help you in the long run, whether it's a new or used car. While getting a new car comes with lots of monetary responsibility, it is the safe bet when buying a car.
Used cars can reduce your monthly payments and give you a reliable car, but be careful to avoid problems that come with older cars.