Are you looking to make a vehicle purchase soon? This is my personal list of the top 5 things to consider when buying a car! We’ve always loved buying used cars and highly recommend paying cash to avoid car payments. Here are some of my best tips after years of driving used cars…
If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that we bought a new-to-us vehicle a few months back. I say new-to-us vehicle, because we’ve never bought a brand new vehicle.
When you buy a brand new vehicle, it loses significant value as soon as you drive it off the lot. So we’ve always preferred to buy a 1-2 year old vehicle that has low mileage and will hold its value better since we’re saving the money of it being driven off the lot.
When I mentioned our vehicle purchase, I received a message from a follower asking me what to consider before buying a vehicle and how to make a wise decision about a vehicle purchase. So I thought this would be a helpful question to answer here on the blog!
5 Things to Consider When Buying a Car
These are the top 5 thoughts and questions I’d consider before making your next vehicle purchase…
1. Think about why you need/want a new vehicle.
Why do you think you want or need a new vehicle? Before any purchase — house, shoes, etc. — it’s important to ask this question and also consider if the purchase is a need or a want.
There’s nothing wrong with buying something because you want it, but it’s important to know the difference between the two so that you can recognize an opportunity to save money and make do with what you have, if it’s not a necessary purchase right now.
Or maybe it is a want, and it would be nice to have a more reliable vehicle, larger vehicle, one with better gas mileage, etc.
I challenge you to think about all the people worldwide who don’t have vehicles and survive without them. Yes, it makes life easier, but we’ve become really entitled to think we need newer, better, nicer vehicles instead of being grateful for what we already have!
2. Figure out what you can actually afford.
We always buy used and we always pay cash. Those are our top two rules with vehicles.
That means we have driven some real clunkers of vehicles and we have some crazy stories to prove it (Some of you long-time readers might remember “Old Blue Van”)! In certain seasons of our lives, we drove clunkers into the ground because that’s what we could afford.
Is it possible to stick with what you have for a little while longer so that you can get into a better position to be able to pay cash?
One thing that has been helpful for us is to pay cash outright and not have the bondage or stress of making car payments. And instead of that, we set aside that money each month in a savings account so that we eventually have enough money to pay cash for a car.
It requires patience and takes time, but it feels really amazing to pay cash for a car and not be in debt to that!!
Note: If you already have two car payments right now and feel stuck, could you get rid of one car and make a short term sacrifice that will lead to longterm benefits? It might seem weird and counter-cultural, but it could really pay off in the long run.
3. Do your research.
My husband is the researcher in our marriage. He researches and researches, and then researches some more before bringing his findings to me so that we can make a final decision together. I highly recommend doing your research and at least knowing these few basics:
- What’s the mileage per gallon?
- How well does it hold up in a car accident?
- Have there been any recalls on the vehicle?
- What’s the Kelly Blue Book value?
In the ideal situation, we try to find a car that has had only one owner and has never been in an accident.
Usually after doing all this research, we come up with 4-5 makes/models of vehicles we’re interested in and weigh the pros and cons of each before making a final decision on our top choices.
4. Watch prices.
After doing our research and narrowing it down to a couple choices, we typically watch prices for a few months, both online and locally.
This helps us know what to expect and know what is actually a good price for the vehicles we’re interested in.
5. Make sure you’re on the same page as your spouse.
Finally, if you are married, make sure you’re on the same page!
Once you’ve made some decisions, talk together about the purchase and decide if you both feel good about it before officially deciding to buy the vehicle.
One helpful tip: Early on in our marriage, we made a commitment to not make any large purchases right away, but to always wait overnight and think on it. This prevents buyer’s remorse, makes sure it’s something we both feel good about, and helps us be really intentional with our finances. So once we’ve decide on a vehicle, we typically wait overnight to make sure we both still feel good about it the next day.
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What other things do you consider when buying a car? Let’s hear your best tips!