Best Car for Your Budget
Use an Online Research Tool
There are various websites that provide resources to help with the overwhelming task that’s narrowing down your choice of vehicle. Browse these for a decent length of time, as it’s a decision that you're going to need to live with for quite a while. A typical online tool will ask you:
- Do you need a new or used car?
- How much are you willing to spend?
- What’s the car required for?
This will help you narrow down your search somewhat, but you’ll likely still be provided with a fairly large number of cars to choose from. At this point you’ll need to research each type individually, looking out for convenience, price, efficiency, and your personal tastes.
Arguably the most important factor when choosing your new car will be the cost. If it’s outside of your price range then, of course, it’s not worth looking at, but make sure you have a definitive budget that you’re willing to spend, and don't go over that. You should be leaving yourself with plenty of funds for any kind of emergency, and remember that there’ll be ongoing costs for fuel, insurance, and maintenance.
If you're not entirely sure what you’re able to afford, there are some useful car affordability calculators online that allow you to determine exactly what you should spend. You’ll also need to factor in the costs of the mentioned upkeep, as follows.
This will be an ongoing expenditure, and one you should be sure not to overlook! If a car fits your budget but costs a fortune to fill up then you should probably avoid it. To work out what your fuel costs will be, you’ll first need to consider how many miles you’ll be driving. Think about not just your commute or work usage but also going to the shops and running errands, visiting friends and family, and perhaps going away for the weekend.
A good way to figure out how much a car’s gas will cost is to work out your average mileage per week, divide it by the average MPG (miles per gallon) stated for your prospective vehicle, and then simply multiply it by the average price per gallon for gas near to you. If the resulting weekly sum is too high, avoid this car!
The cost of your insurance will add a fair price to the cost of the car, so be sure not to overlook it! Shop around to get an idea of what insurance might be like on your car, and be sure to budget your auto to include this cost. Your personal details will affect the cost of your insurance, such as age and the neighborhood you’re living in. Also, an old car, a car with an unsafe track record, or if it’s expensive, will raise your insurance payments. You’ll need to have a good idea of this to avoid any nasty surprises after purchase.
Maintenance is the hardest aspect of a car's cost to predict, as breakdowns can be unexpected. There are calculators online that can be used to predict maintenance costs by measuring units of competency on a prospective car, and it’d be wise to run your top picks through one of these. This will give you a vague idea of what the car might cost in the long run. Always be sure to budget some extra expenditure on repairs.
To find the best car for your budget, you’ll first need to be certain what your budget actually is. Work out how much you can spare, and then take away from this figure your estimated costs of upkeep, along with another 5% just to be sure. Consider how buying a more expensive and efficient car could save you money in the long term on fuel and maintenance costs.
This is a very big decision, so once you’re certain of your budget, take all the time you need to scour various online calculators and tools to narrow your choices, and then research your final few chosen options meticulously.