For those of us who live frugally, big investments can be stressful. Buying a new home is one thing, but at least that’s often (though not always) a permanent investment. Buying a new car, on the other hand, is a fairly frequent recurrence, as machinery grows old and outdated. It needs to be replaced. That’s why, when you’re coughing up a lot of money on something that’s just going to break one day in the not-so-distant future, you want to be sure you’re investing in the right thing.
Of course, just because you’re opting for a cheaper car, that doesn’t mean you should give up your dreams of having… well, the dream car. Price doesn’t necessarily equal quality, and you might be surprised to find that several other models which fall into your category of “dream car” are, funnily enough, within your price range. Still, it’s hard to know where to begin with finding that dream car, what features you should be considering and how to work it into your finances beyond the initial down payment. Here are some great pieces of advice for those of you looking to buy a car on the cheap which doesn’t compromise on quality.
Figure out how to finance it, and decide on a budget.
Your financial situation might be tricky, but a car is a necessity in this large and chaotic world. Of course, that’s all well to say, but it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of brand new and modern cars might be well out of your price range. Still, this doesn’t mean that you have to opt for that worn, poorly-maintained, old car just because it’s cheap; especially given that it’s worthless if it’ll just break down in a month or two anyway. A company such as ApproveNow could help you get a loan for your future car, regardless of your credit rating.
No matter how tricky your financial past has been, if your paychecks can cover the costs, then you shouldn’t let previous debts stop you from investing in the car of your dreams. Simply ensure that you’ve factored the price into your decision before you go choosing the car you want, or at least settling on a vague group of potential cars. You need to lay out a clear budget in terms of the initial payment, insurance coverage, petrol and any unexpected costs in the future. If you can cover costs in the long-term, then the car is a wise investment. If you can only cover the down payment, but not monthly expenditures, then you’re just going to fall into debt in order to pay for it all, and the car is not a wise investment.
An “old” car can sometimes be a godsend.
In fact, by an old car, I don’t even really mean an old car. Buying a used car, even if it’s merely a few months or a year old, can sometimes be an incredible wise investment. Not only are you saving lots of money, but, if you buy from a previous owner that you can trust, then you’re essentially getting a car which is as good as new for a fraction of the price. It just takes a little bit of a level head, because sometimes, if you choose an honest owner who’s treated the vehicle with respect and not over-used or worn it out, you might find that you’re opting for somebody more trustworthy than the big brands in the car industry.
If you’re buying from a car retailer, don’t hand the sale to them.
As with haggling for any item, you’ve got to stand your ground when you’re buying from a car salesman. Of course, with something as costly as a car (and that applies even to cheaper models or perhaps second-hand deals), the importance of haggling well is amplified. As soon as you get in the car, the salesman has the upper hand, even if you’re just “checking it out”. They’re likely to become a little more confident and a little less willing to opt for a lower price, as they’ll sense that you’re interested and smell a rat when you start begging for a better deal. Keep them thinking that you’re uninterested in the car, and they’ll keep trying to lure you back in.
On used cars, check the history.
This is such an important fact that many overlook when they excitedly hurry into an investment on a new car. No matter the price and no matter the age of the vehicle, it’s crucial that, for a used car, you look into its history. The owner, whether they’re an independent seller or a car dealership, may be reliable, but that’s no guarantee that your car will be if it has a history of minor unreliable moments. Sure, it might work well today, but that little hiccup it had a few months ago might become a major hiccup in a few more months.
You have to weigh out your investment and figure out how much more life this used car has left in it. If the cost is well worth the use you’ll get out of it before the old, knackered beast finally kicks the dust, then you should go ahead. Just check that the car has been well-maintained and that it’s not running on scarce time. For all you know, the owner before the current one may not have disclosed issues with the vehicle. Ensure that the current owner has owned the car for a long time, because, even if they’re reliable, if they’re relatively new to the car, they might have been conned themselves.
Check the condition of the car.
Safety should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re picking your future car, and you’ll find that cheaper cars don’t necessarily equate with temperamental cars in terms of safety features and damage-resistance. Check basic things, such as the tread depth meeting the legal requirements and that there are no sneakingly-hidden dents or scratches on the bodywork. Sometimes dealer paper over the cracks, but you shouldn’t if you care about the history of this used car and what it means in terms of owning a reliable vehicle.