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Car shopping can be a challenging experience. Car shoppers in college or those who just graduated college are in for a rude awakening if they are shopping for a car. The market for both new and used vehicles is crazy, with prices at all-time highs. Because of that, first-time shoppers may have trouble getting something that can fit their lifestyle and budget. Luckily, first-time car buyers who do a little extra work and research can buy their first car without depleting their budget.

How can you get your first car without losing all of your money?

Determine what your budget looks like

One of the most important things you will need to do to enjoy shopping is determine your budget. It’s easy to look at cars and get sold on buying something loaded with top-notch features or offers unmatched performance. But, instead of getting stuck on the idea of getting the latest and greatest, choose something you can afford.

A good rule of thumb is to choose something that will allow you to spend anywhere from 10% to 15% of your monthly income. Anything over that limit could put you into trouble with your budget. Also, break down your entire budget, including utilities and loan payments, to ensure you set an accurate budget for your new car.

Don’t wait, start saving for your car

a jar full of change, first time car shoppers should start saving now
Jar full of change | Towfiqu Barbuiya via Unsplash

A lot of time, shoppers will get it in their mind that they need to buy a car immediately. But often, shoppers can take a little time and realize they can hold off and save. If you want to start shopping for a new car, you should start saving immediately! Even if it is just a few bucks, starting the saving process sooner than later can make purchasing a car easier.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to use cash when you decide to shop for your next new car. Using cash can help to lower your monthly payment in the long run. Just be sure not wholly deplete your savings. Having some cushion once you purchase your car would be a good idea. 

Research cars online, compare prices, and different models

a toyota dealership, compare prices at different dealerships and first time shoppers can have a better experience
A Toyota dealership | Erik Mclean via Unsplash

In today’s market, walking into the dealership as well-informed as possible is essential. To do this, simply start by doing your research online. Don’t just check one site, but instead check multiple. This will give you a broader range of knowledge regarding the pricing of the models you are interested in. Most importantly, you can have the best idea of what new car can be the best choice for you.

Another important aspect of this research phase is that if you currently own a car and are looking to trade it in, this research can help you ensure you get the highest worth for your car.

A few questions to ask yourself

When you decide that you are ready to shop for an outstanding new car, there are a few different questions you should ask yourself. 

  1. What size car do I want and need?
  2. Do I want to buy a new or used car?
  3. Is a lease the right option for me?
  4. How do I find the best car insurance rate?

When you shop for a car, you must know what you want so that the dealership doesn’t talk you into spending more or buying something you don’t need. First, you want to ensure you know what you want when you shop. Whether you want a compact car, a truck, or an SUV, get ready to enjoy shopping much more. Furthermore, ensure you have a clear idea of choosing a new or used car, so you don’t overspend.

One of the final steps in shopping for a car is deciding whether you should purchase a vehicle or lease a car. This can help to determine precisely how much money you will be spending. It will also be important to dig into a lease to make the financial benefits offered don’t hamper your driving habits or plans.

Also, don’t forget that you need to figure out your car insurance when you shop for a car. There are several providers; find the best one for you with a tool like Nerdwallet.

Take a long look at your needs


Here are a Few Tips to Make Shopping for a Used Car Easier

If you have been preparing to shop for your next car, truck, or SUV, take the time to set your budget, figure out what you need, and get the right insurance for your lifestyle. First-time car shoppers looking for a great car, truck, or SUV will enjoy the process more if they properly prepare.