7 Easy Ways to Help You Get the Car of Your Destiny
You guys. Buying a new car is hard. We don’t have to tell you the amount of times we’ve perused craigslist, Kijiji, stared aimlessly at a spot on the wall above our desk, had a quick Tinder break, cleaned the kitchen, and then gave up altogether because there are so many other things we’d like to do than feel sad about all the cars we can’t afford.
Good thing we’ve got you covered.
To ensure you don’t miss any long weekend, beer pong camping trips to the Okanagan (or insert your booze-filled destination here), here are 7 things to keep in mind when buying a new car without completely emptying your wallet.
1. Make a Checklist
There is something to be said about sitting down and making a list. Getting all the stuff floating around in your brain out on paper helps you make decisions that are effective. Know what you like and what you don’t like before you put yourself out there. Sort of like what you want in a partner for life, minus whether or not they can understand sarcasm, more like what specific model and brand. Do you want a four door or a hatchback? How much do you want to spend? What are the non-negotiables? Making a checklist helps you determine exactly what you want in a car.
2. Decide on Features
What features are necessary for your car? What can you live without? If you need that sound system to pump music at excessively loud volumes, then that’s something you should do. If you require a grappling hook and the ability to eject from your chair, you may need to lower your expectations; you also may need to rethink some of your life choices.
3. Do Your Research
What did people do before the internet? How did they research what kinds of cars they want, what models make sense for them? We don’t even know. Making everything easier these days, the Internet makes it so that you literally don’t have to go outside to interact with other people. You can peruse through your options easily at your computer or phone, maybe even whilst naked! Who is going to know? Not us. Do your research. Check out existing car reviews, and become the Master of All Things Cars you that were destined to be.
4. Set a Budget
Don’t put the cart before the horse. Before setting your mind on the car you really want, figure out what kind of car you can afford. See what we did there? There’s a difference. Your total car expense shouldn’t be a burden. You do, after all, need to be able to eat food, afford electricity, buy your friends’ love, etc. Put together a budget, stick to it.
5. Know Your Credit Score
Do you know your credit worthiness? It doesn’t come in letter grades and it’s not something you want to hang on your fridge. But knowing where you stand in your credit score will help you, and your auto lender, decipher what type of deal is best suited for you. You’re allowed a free credit report once every twelve months, so take advantage! Double check for suspicious activities or red flags, and definitely pay attention to any risk factors, which could be anything from an old debt that went to collection.
6. Buy or Lease?
Although it may be less than the price of a daily coffee, a difference of $10 or $20 extra per month on a monthly lease still adds up in the long-term. Far be it from us to convince you not to get that Skinny Vanilla Latte every day, but if you brew your coffee at home instead of shelling out for that sweet, vanilla nectar of the devil, that’s an extra $200 money you can put towards a lease. If you do decide to lease, bring along important documents such as recent paycheques, utility bills, driver license, or personal or professional references that will help show you are responsible enough to own (and pay for) your own vehicle.
This is where you need to roll up your sleeves, put on your Stone Cold Steve Austin face, and haggle like you want the last Grape Soda in the vending machine. Get the car you want for the price you want. There is an art to negotiating: look for the total price of the vehicle rather than just on the amount of the monthly payments. As well, leaning towards a shorter loan period may mean less interest payments over the long-term, which means less money wasted, more money in your pocket for those latte’s.