How to buy a car on a budget

How to buy a car on a budget

Budget car-shopping is not always easy. You might want a shiny new sports model but your wallet is telling you to look at an  older, smaller model. You do not, however, have to lose out on quality when sticking to a budget while you shop for a new car.

When you go to a used car dealership, you should bring along a detailed list of your budget so you know what types of car to look for. Pre-owned used cars for sale might have a higher price tag than other used cars, and having a low budget does not mean that you will not find a car, it simply means that you will have to shop creatively.

Not sure where to start? Below are some top tips on how to buy a car on a tight budget.

Know your budget by heart

One important step to finding a car that you can actually afford is to know your budget like the back of your hand. Instead of trying to work it out in your head every time you search online for “used cars for sale near me” or when a dealer asks you, calculate a definite number.

Your budget should include costs such as registration, licensing and plates fees as well as car insurance and monthly petrol costs. Knowing this number well will allow you to remain unswayed by persuasive salespeople when looking for a pre-owned vehicle. Take a list along with detailing all the expenses you can afford each month so that you can show the dealer exactly what type of car you are looking for. Try not to make exceptions due to flashy gadgets, as this will end up costing you more in the long run.

Practice practicality

It is important to be practical when buying on a budget, especially with cars. You might be day-dreaming of a red convertible but you will have to consider how this meets your needs. Are you going to be able to run family errands with an open-top car during the rainy season?

Keep a list of all of your requirements, no matter how small they may seem and take this with you to any car dealerships. Being practical might not excite new car buyers, but you will be able to afford a good car and save money. Rather than thinking only about how it looks or what type of sound system is in the car, you should look for how safe it is and what the fuel consumption is and if it is in a good condition or not.  

Think carefully about where to look

The price of a vehicle can depend on where you buy it from. You can look online for a used car and find one price and you can go into a dealership and get another. The one you choose depends on your budget and what you are looking for in a car.

If you are looking for a high-end vehicle but have a lower budget, you could consider an auction house to find your dream car. Do not fall into the trap of choosing the first dealership you visit,  as you will be missing out on all the other options available at other places. Look out for the deals that the different places offer and compare them. You might be able to find something from a dealership in a different suburb if you look around. And if you are taking out car finance, it is important to look at more than one place.  

Do your homework

Researching both cars and dealerships is vital when car shopping on a budget. You should do your research with your budget firmly in mind rather than simply going to a car sales lot and asking to see their latest offerings. This way you will not be tempted to stray from your budget.

Be sure to conduct test drives of every car you like and ask for the full vehicle history so you are aware of any damages that might have occurred over its lifespan. Sign up for newsletters about the latest motoring news and deals from the dealership so that you are always in the loop, in case you do not find the right car straight away. Research can help immensely if you are not sure what car you want.

Budget smarts

Car shopping on a budget can be tricky but you will still be able to find the car you have been dreaming of. Start by building your budget and knowing those numbers off by heart before you head off to look for a car.

Always put practicality before looks and features as this will save you money in the long run and you will not be limited by superficial aspects. Do some research and look at more than one dealership and soon you will be sitting behind the wheel of the perfect car for your needs.

Authored by: mjones

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