Buying My First Car (Tips + Advice)

So I recently just did my first adult purchase...I bought a car!  With my own money!  All by myself!  As you can tell I am quite pleased with myself.  Buying a car is obviously a very important and (expensive) purchase, so today I thought I would give some tips and advice on buying your first car!

Establish a realistic budget
I know we all would love to have those fancy, expensive sports cars, but for most of us, that is a bit unrealistic.  It is important to establish a realistic budget of how much you want to pay.  Although paying cash for your car is ideal, it is more common to have some sort of loan/financing through the dealership or bank.  Remember when coming up with a realistic budget should include things such as insurance, gas, and maintenance.

Wants vs Needs
For a first-time car, do you need to have all the bells and whistles?  Probably not.  And this can probably save you a lot of money.  Of course I want a GPS/entertainment system and a heated steering wheel, but those were things that I decided were "wants", and it ultimately saved me quite a lot of money on the car that I ended up going with.

Do your research
Do.Your. Research.  I can't say this enough.  Read reviews, check out, it's never been easier with the Internet.  Read what actual owners of the vehicles say about them, and then weigh the pros and cons.  I also recommend looking at models that are around the years that you want.  You might find that there are differences in the models from year to year.

How much do you want to spend?
This is obviously almost self-explanatory that I probably don't even need to say it, but: how much do you want to spend?  How much do you feel comfortable spending?  You don't want to spend the rest of your life living paycheck to paycheck to pay for your car.  Make sure to negotiate with the car dealership and see if you can get a better price. Also look up a vehicle's market value on (Kelley Blue Book) to see if you are getting a fair price.

Know your financing options
Like I mentioned previously, most people need some sort of financing option in order to purchase a vehicle.  This depends greatly on your credit score, and if you have insufficient credit history, you might need a co-signer on a loan or get a cheaper car.  Check with your bank or credit union to see if they offer competitive interest rates on loans to compare with the dealership loan options.

Happy car shopping!

x Emily