Buying a new car is a huge investment, and not one that should be made on a whim. We know what it’s like when you see a nicer model on the road next to you and feel a pang of jealousy. It can be tempting to just get off at the next exit and head to the nearest dealership, but if you can resist for just a little while longer, we may be able to offer some advice to help you make a better, more informed decision when the time actually does come to upgrade your vehicle.
Set a realistic budget
First and foremost let your wallet lead you, not your eyes. Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin – it’s undeniable that these manufacturers know how to make good looking, high-performance vehicles. However, driving within your means and not being tied to a hefty monthly payment will undoubtedly give you more monetary flexibility in other areas of your life. Remember that you will not only have to consider the monthly payment for the car, but the cost of fueling, insuring and registering it, as well.
Figure out your trade-in value
Regardless of whether you attempt to sell your old vehicle on your own or trade it into a dealership and let them handle the hassles for you, it’s important to establish how much you will get back for your old car prior to shopping for its replacement. This way you already know how much you will receive for it, and how much you will have to put down towards the new payment. Be honest about the car’s overall condition and do your research to determine how much that make and model year is truly worth.
Wants vs. Needs
Establishing the difference before heading into the dealership is key. With all of the technological advancements available in the auto industry today, it can be difficult to see past the bells and whistles and focus on what’s truly important. For example, while a vehicle with heated rear seats may seem great, if you don’t have children and typically travel alone, you probably don’t need that extra feature. Conversely, if you plan to start a family in the near future you may want this feature, as well as something with high safety ratings.
Remember that there will always be something new and exciting, but choosing a vehicle that meets your needs first and foremost will help increase long-term satisfaction.