Looking to get a car? Here’s some key information that will help you to find the right option that will tick all of your boxes.
Why Get a Car?
There are countless reasons to get a car, but here are some of the most common and popular:
- Getting directly from A to B – public transport is great. But unless you happen to live right next door to a public transport stop that takes you directly to the places you want to go, a car like the New Ford Transit Custom is going to be more convenient. When you have a car, you can walk out of your home and go directly to the place you want to visit, rather than having to walk between different public transport stops or switch modes of transport along the way.
- Weatherproof – if you’re walking from one stop to another using public transport, you will inevitably be exposed to the elements. This can include getting rained on, being blown about by the wind, sweating in the sun, and more. When you get in your car, you’re completely protected from the elements.
- Temperature control – when you’re on public transport, walking, or cycling, you don’t get to control the temperature. You can be really cold or too hot easily. When you have a car, you have access to heat settings and air conditioning, allowing you to create your own, tailored environment to travel in.
- No strangers – on public transport or in public, you have to come into contact with strangers. This can include unwanted attention or situations that make you feel uncomfortable, such as strangers trying to talk to you or getting in your personal space. When you drive, you have your own space and more privacy.
- Luggage – in a car, you can carry whatever can fit inside your car. This can include grocery shopping, heavy pieces of luggage, and more. On public transport, you’re limited to what you can lift and carry yourself.
Creating a Budget
The first step that you need to take before even heading to a dealership is to come up with a budget.
Different cars come hand in hand with significantly different price tags, so you need to have a good idea of what you can genuinely and reasonably afford before being able to consider the options available to you. The following steps should help you to achieve this.
Consider Your Usual Budget
First, take a look at your usual monthly budget. This will show you how much money you bring home (after tax and other essential deductions), how much you spend on bills and committed payments (such as rent or mortgage payments, energy bills, contracted payments, and more), and how much you’re left with.
The amount you’re left with is known as your “disposable income” and this is the amount you have available to spend each month before you overspend and go into debt. Now, technically, you could spend your entire disposable income on your car.
But this wouldn’t be all too fun and could prove detrimental to your overall quality of life. You need to make sure that around paying for your car, you can still afford to do and buy the things you enjoy, such as dates, social activities, hobbies, dining out, luxury purchases, and more.
Consider the Total Cost of a Car
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the amount you pay for the car itself is where your car finances end. Instead, you need to consider the total cost of having a car in your budget. When you buy a car, unless you buy it outright, you’ll make monthly payments towards the cost of the vehicle itself. Then, you need to consider fuel costs – bear in mind that these are significantly and rapidly rising at the moment. Next, is car insurance. Road tax.
Cleaning costs. Repair costs. Service and MOT costs. The overall cost of owning and operating the vehicle is going to be significantly more than the cost of the actual car alone.
Make and Model
Once you have a budget, you can start looking into the different vehicles that fall within this budget. There are countless vehicles out there, all made by different manufacturers to meet different individuals’ needs. From two-seater sports cars to minivans for larger families, you will be able to find a vehicle that ticks all of your boxes. To make sure you settle on something suitable, ask yourself a series of questions. This will help you to determine what boxes your new car needs to tick.
- How many seats? – start by considering how many seats you realistically need. It’s all good and well to like the look of a two-seater sports car or the cost of a two-seater smart car, but if you have a family of five with children and pets in tow, this isn’t going to prove functional. Consider how many seats you’ll need in your vehicle to get through your day-to-day activities.
- How many doors? – the number of doors can impact your decision on whether a vehicle is right for you too. If you largely drive alone but occasionally have two to three guests in your car, a four-seater with three doors should be fine. However, if you have children and baby seats to get in and out of your car daily, a five-door car is likely to be much more suitable and will make your life a lot easier.
- Luggage room – how much luggage do you carry regularly? If it’s usually just a bag or two and you do small grocery shops, a car with a small boot space could be fine. If you have pushchairs, and equipment for disabilities, regularly carry larger equipment for work, or have to carry out large family food shops, you may need more space in the back.
New vs. Used
Once you’ve settled on a car, it’s time to decide – new or used. Some perks come hand in hand with either of these options, so weigh up the pros and cons and find what works best for you.
- New cars – new cars are, of course, highly desirable. You get to drive something that only you have driven. This means that when the car arrives, you know it is free from faults and defects and in perfect condition. Even if there are issues in the first three years, you usually have a warranty that will cover you through this. New cars can also, often, be customized, ensuring you get the exact color and features you want, such as specific interiors, parking sensors, and more. Of course, new cars become used as soon as you drive them after purchasing them, which immediately sees a huge drop in value.
- Used cars – used cars have, of course, been owned and driven by someone before you. When you buy a used car, you need to be thorough in checking its history, ensuring it has a full service history, and checking to see if it’s been in crashes or had any major repairs carried out. Also, check the mileage. These factors can give you insight into what life the car will likely have left in it. It’s advisable to buy an extended warranty on a used car. You can read an honest review of CarShield When you buy a used car, you may also have to compromise on elements, such as color or specific features that may be harder to find. The big pro? A used car will be much cheaper.
Sorting Out Legalities
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to start considering a few notable factors. How much it’ll cost to own and maintain is obvious, but you’ll also need to worry about the legal side of everything. There’ll be several hoops to jump through when you’re buying, as well as more than a few others after that. Getting a car accident attorney for when you need one could be a part of this.
Finally, when you’ve found the car you want, you need to consider how you’re going to pay for it. If you’ve saved the amount up outright, this is the ideal way to pay, as you won’t have to pay any interest on your purchase. However, this isn’t feasible for many people. Instead, you have a few alternatives.
- A loan – taking a loan out from the bank or another provider will give you the funds to pay for your car in cash. You will then pay the provider back in monthly installments with added interest.
- Credit card – if you can get the credit limit to be able to buy a car on a credit card, this is another option. You will pay on your credit card and then pay monthly minimum payments on the account, plus any extra you can afford to clear the debt as quickly as possible.
- Finance plans – most car dealerships will offer a range of finance plans for you to choose from. These will generally be agreements where you pay a set fee monthly. Some agreements will see you pay the depreciation of the car and hand the car back at the end of the agreement, or pay the final value of the car to keep it. Some will see you slowly pay for the car completely. Some simply lease agreements, where you pay monthly for the use of the vehicle and hand it back when your agreement is over.
Look for the option with the lowest interest attached.
These are just a few suggestions that you might want to take into consideration when it comes to finding the right car to suit you, your preferences, and your needs. Hopefully, some of the information will help you on your journey to finding the perfect fit!