Buying on a Budget: How to Find the Right Affordable Car

For many people owning a car is a necessity not a luxury. If you live somewhere that does not allow for easy public transportation then you simply must have a vehicle of your own to help you get to work or run errands. When money is tight it can be challenging to find a car which fits your budget but still is capable of doing everything you need it to do. If you’re in the market for a new car and have to keep your costs down, here’s what you should keep in mind when you shop.

Be Wary With a Lease

One option which is appealing to people with limited funds at their disposal is leasing a car. While this can be a great way to get a car at affordable prices it’s important to make sure that it really is the best deal for you. While leasing can come with a lower monthly cost than buying with a financed loan, the costs can escalate significantly if you don’t read the fine print. The most common issue to look out for is a mileage cap which limits how far you can go before triggering clauses which raise the price. If your lease would require an unreasonable reduction in driving you’re better off opting to buy.

Don’t Rush Your Decision

If at all possible try to take your time in the buying process. When you have less financial wiggle room it becomes increasingly important to make the right decision. Taking time allows you to properly assess your wants and needs and find the best vehicle for you at the best price.

Research Thoroughly Before Buying

Knowledge is power, and when it comes to buying or leasing a car, that power pays off in the form of finding your ideal car and paying as little as possible for it. It’s important to learn as much as you can about cars you are considering. Not only will this help you to choose between similar vehicle options, but it also prepares you to work with the dealership from a more informed position to avoid getting taken advantage of.

Pay Attention to Interest Rates

The best way to own a car on a budget is to opt to own an affordable car instead of a flashy car. An easy way to do this is to purchase a used car. The depreciation of market value on cars does not correspond with their actual value depreciation, which means buying a car that is even just a few years out of model date opens the door to a great deal. You can still buy a thoroughly modern car but do so at much lower costs than if you bought the latest offering in the same line.

Every Dollar Counts

Unless you are paying in full at purchase, haggling over the price of your car is not the same as haggling over the price of a purchase at a market. Saving a dollar in cost actually translates into saving more than a dollar of the actual cost, because you won’t have months or even years of interest being tacked onto that dollar.

Spending Doesn’t End on the Lot

One of the biggest traps car buyers fall into is looking at the sticker price but not beyond it. While it’s great to get a cheaper car off the lot, you’re not actually saving money if a car that was a little more would give you better gas mileage and break down less often. Always factor in the costs of use and maintenance when buying on a budget to make sure the car which looks like the best deal really is.

Whether you’re buying new or used, a careful budget doesn’t have to disqualify you from getting a great car. By shopping smart and paying attention to these little details you position yourself to find the best option for you.

Post Author: Sophie Toby Hall

A former car magazine editor, Sophie’s blog offers in-depth car reviews, industry trends, and maintenance tips. Her breadth of knowledge makes her posts invaluable for both car enthusiasts and everyday drivers.