Guide on how to buy a car

      I am no car expert but here is a few things I learnt in 2014 when I was trying to get a car. Before this I had no clue about what to do if I wanted to buy a car. My ride or die baby (my first car) was a hand me down from my big sister. By the end of this process I knew the significant things of what to know about buying a car.

My sexy ass car

Budget

      Having a budget is obviously the first part. You have to have a price range, pick something you know you will be able to afford. When you do your car budgeting go a little lower than you actually want to spend. So for example if your price range is $15,000-$17,000 tell yourself your price range is $14,000-$16,000. Having this "fake" price range  allows you to stay within your actual budget. It gives you room to look at things at lower price range.

Set a criteria

      Basically make a list of all the things you want your car to have. I suggest you make two columns. Column one is your list of your must haves in the car. Column two would be your list of things you would love to have but if you do not have it won't be the end of the world. My column two had things like leather seats that had warmers, convertible LOL who the eff did I think I was. I had some very unreasonable things for my column two criteria but a girl can dream yeah?! If you are a student/ not making "bank" I suggest you have things like low maintenance, good on gas in your list. Think ahead when you are setting your criteria. If you do not plan on replacing your car anytime soon and you know you will be having kids in the next 3 years or so then do not by a 2 door car or anything that won't be kid(s) friendly.


      Some consider the color of my car not kid friendly but I have no kids so.... not having kids anytime soon either. When I do have kids and if I still have this car there will be no eating in the car. I currently try not to eat in my car and I ask my passengers not to either. If I absolutely have to eat in the car I do. This color does not get dirty as easily as most people think. I love the contrast in the color of my car.

Get a car "Wing Man"

      You see, your car is BAE! If you are trying to get a car you need a car wing man. This should be someone that knows about car extensively. Someone that knows how much cars are currently selling for and knows what is a good deal on a car or not. Don't go with a novice. In my case my sisters friend was my car wing man. He was definitely a good wing man.

Used or New Car

      This is the part that drove me nuts! It drove me nuts because I did not even want to shop for a car but I was forced to get one because my car got totaled and suddenly I am faced with the predicament of deciding on used or new replacement car. I had just a week to decide and this short time did not help matters. A used car was my first option because broke college student. I started looking at auction websites and car dealerships for a used car. I spent about 4 days looking (I had tons of friends helping too) and I did not find anything that was reasonable to me. I was not willing to buy a  car with a ton of mileage for an expensive price.
      I finally found a used car that met most of my criteria. I called the dealership and set up an appointment to check out my future car. After test driving the car I decided it wasn't the love of my life. Now I have just 1 day to find a car. I drove around other dealerships to check out their used car section and I did not find anything I liked. The sales man talked me into checking out new cars. I did not even let him finish his sentence before I started thanking him for his services. My sister and her friend talked me into checking out the cars ( I mean they are not going to force me to buy it yeah?). I gave in and I looked at new cars. A lot of the new cars where ridiculously out of my budget. I found a car that was a little bit out of my actual budget but I still test drove it. I fell in love with this bad boy but I knew I couldn't afford it. The salesman still convinced me to run  my credit just to see how much my interest rate will be and all that good stuff. I was very happy with the interest rate number. He went ahead and calculated my student discount and they had a promotional sales going on as well. After all the discount and stuff the car was still not at my actual budget :(

Interior front view. This is what the color contrast really looks like in my car. Color gets sharper depending on lighting.

Evaluation

      I now have car that I love but still above my budget. What to do what to do?! I started some serious calculation to help me decide. I soon realized that the current price of a brand new car that I love was just about $5000 more than a used car that I did not even really like. I evaluated my interest rate and I decided to buy a brand new car. On this interest rate I can afford my car payment! I can actually afford to buy a brand new car.
  
Back seats

      I drove away from the dealership with my 2015 Toyota corolla feeling like a bag of money. Almost two years after I bought my car and I still do not regret it. It is one of the best things I ever did for myself. My car is very reliable, I have never been to the mechanic for anything and if proper maintenance is being done new cars can go at least 5 years without anything going wrong with it. And you typically have warranty for the first 5 years if anything goes wrong with it. I am not saying buy a new car, I am just saying this are some of the perks associated with buying a new car. The biggest perk of all I think is building your credit. If you get something you can afford and you are making your payments on time this can help your credit score. With all this being said keep your mind open when you are looking to buy a car. I am a big advocate of buying something you love and can afford especially if it is something you are going to be using for a long time.

Photo Credit: All pictures in this post is courtesy of google.

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