How to Save Up for a New Car

How to Save Up for a New Car

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A little planning pays big dividends.

Buying a new car can be intimidating on many levels, but the financial aspect can be the scariest of all. Buyers have questions ranging from how they can get a down payment to how they’ll fit a monthly payment into their budgets. So before you start your car search in earnest, here’s how to save up to put some money down.

What Are Your Needs?

Before you do anything else, look at what you need out of your car. If you’re just going to work and picking up groceries, a Ford F-150 probably doesn’t make much sense. Similarly, if you’re going to be picking up groups of friends or taking a kid’s soccer team to the field, you probably don’t want a Mini Cooper in your driveway. So, start by ruling out certain types of cars and trucks, and focus on the overall class you want. That’ll give you a rough price range to consider — and don’t forget to examine what features you want versus what comes standard in each car.

Look At Your Budget

A good way to get started with saving up is to look at your budget and make some room. If you’re already making a monthly car payment, especially if you’re about to pay it off, that’s a good place to start, since you already know what you’re willing to pay. In fact, a good way to start saving if you’re almost paid off is to simply start setting aside your payment every month in an account to gather interest. But make a point of asking yourself if you want to pay more or less. After all, this is a long-term financial commitment, so figuring out the payment that won’t stress you out will pay dividends, both financially and emotionally, down the road.

Every bit helps!

Check Your Trade-In Value

Another factor worth considering is the value of your trade-in. While you should start with the Kelley Blue Book, which gives you a rough idea of the value of your car, don’t forget to look at the way the used car market fluctuates. For example, back in the era of $4 gas, gas-sipping cars were going for high value. These days, the most valued used cars are late model vehicles in good condition, preferably ones that haven’t been in the news for recalls. Adding the value of your trade-in can be a good way to build up a down payment, or in some cases even cover the down payment completely, depending on the car.

Look At Financing

There’s a lot of options for financing, and how much you need to put down for a new car can vary considerably from lender to lender. It’s generally a good idea to search for both as many cars as possible and compare them against as many lending options as possible, especially as you’re narrowing down the type of car and the make and model you want. Get a sense not just how much down you should put down, but how a larger or smaller down payment might affect your monthly payment.

Don’t be intimidated by the financial aspects of your car search. With a little research and a little time, the car you want is in reach. To stay on top of the best deals, subscribe to get alerts on vehicles in your area.