For many, buying a car may be the biggest purchase they ever make besides a house. With such an expensive purchase, it’s important you know what you’re doing. Buying a car can be a scary experience, but we want to make sure you’re equipped with some basic knowledge to make the process more enjoyable for your finances and your overall wellbeing.

Car Types

The first question to ask yourself before purchasing a vehicle is what type of car are you looking to drive? Do you want something with lots of storage, great safety rating, a specific look, and more. The easiest first step is to start paying attention on the road to cars you like and create a list. This will help you decide on the make and model that’s right for you.

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1. Make and Model

Make a list of vehicles you’ve seen on the road that you like or have read are recommended vehicles. These questions can help you decide which makes and models to choose:

2. Budget

Cars range vastly in pricing. That’s why it’s important to know what type of car you’re looking for first. Once you know the car type you can start browsing what’s out there to see which vehicles are in your price range. Not only should you research the cost, but also insurance cost, the price of add ons, and what your monthly payments will look like.

3. The Experience

Walking into a dealership can be a scary place for many. Especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. All too often do we see a customer get taken advantage of by a car salesman. That’s why it’s crucial to arm yourself with knowledge. Do your research before you walk in there. Questions to ask yourself is if the price range is negotiable, do you want to lease or buy it, does the dealership include maintenance for the car, and more. The more you know, the better your car buying experience will be for you.

4. Resources

Okay, so you know you need to do your homework before buying a car, but where do you learn everything. You know nothing about cars! East, a little thing called the internet. The internet has put the driver seat back in the consumer’s hand (pun definitely intended). Do a quick search for all your questions and you’ll get answers on answers. Make sure to ensure the website is legitimate. Edmunds is one of our favorite resources for doing your research. We also love TrueCar, the DMV, and Consumer Reports.

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5. Timing

Everyone has a different piece of advice when it comes to the best time to buy a new car. However, you’re the only one that can decide when’s best. How urgent is this purchase and what to your finances look like are just a few questions to ask. To you have extensive loans to pay off, are you ready to pay a car bill each month, have you budgeted for the vehicle and the insurance that comes along with it. What if your insurance rates go up because of an accident. There’s a lot to consider here! Make sure you’re ready to make a big purchase like this before going through with it. That’s the best timing in our opinion.