Department | Used Car Loans

Begin with a Budget

Where Do I Begin?

When you have your auto loan, you will want to jump into that new car as soon as you can, but first step back and look at where to begin this process. Do you focus more on the total cost of the car or do you focus on what the monthly payments will be?

Total Cost of the Car

This is not the price you will pay over time on the car but rather the cost of everything involved, such as maintenance, gas, etc. All these things go into the total cost of the car. This is not something people take into account when they sit down to think about a new car. You may want a new SUV, but do you want to pay the large gas prices that come with it? You want a sturdy car because you do not want to have to take it back into the shop every few months.

Monthly Payments

When you make monthly payments, you want the cost to be as low as possible, but focusing just on monthly payments can end up costing you more in the end. The less you want to pay monthly, the more you will have to pay up front. The money does not disappear; it just gets mixed around. You will end up paying the same amount; it is just a matter of when you pay it. So do not think that you are getting off easy. You are not paying any more or less than the rest of us. You just pay in a different fashion. So if you have the money now, then maybe a larger down payment is your best option.

The Beginning Is…?

You first need to assess your finances and see how much money you will have in the near future. You don’t want to risk having your car repossessed because you did not plan adequately. You need to make sure your future monthly income will be sufficient to make your car payment comfortably for however long the term of your loan is.

Start with a budget and see where that takes you. When you realize what other financial commitments you have, you will see what money you have left over. Use that to make your decision. Whatever you do, make sure you do not commit more than 20% of your income to your car payment. If you do, you will likely stretch your cash flow too thin.