If your heart skips a beat every time you see a certain make or model of car and the one you're driving is on its last leg, it's time to go shopping! However, affording the car of your dreams can be next to impossible on a tight budget. Here are five ways to put yourself into the vehicle you really want, even though your finances force you to be frugal.
1. Find New Ways To Save More Money
The higher the down payment you apply to the price of a vehicle, the lower your monthly payments will be; thus, if you can figure out ways to save more money and drop more cash at the point of purchase, you can look for the car of your dreams, rather than whatever is on sale.
Evaluate your spending based on want vs. need: While you may not be able to pay less for things you need, such as rent and utilities, you can lower the cost of goods you merely want, such as take-out foods, designer clothing and movies. Consider the fact that Americans throw away approximately 529 dollars a year on food and find numerous other ways to spend unwisely. What are you throwing money away on? How can you do better?
2. Improve Your Negotiation Skills
While you will likely benefit from sharper negotiation skills on the car lot, have you considered haggling over the APR on your credit cards or (finally) asking for that raise at work? Car salespeople are accustomed to going back and forth with prospective buyers, so you should attempt to lower the price tag on your new wheels; however, look at other areas in your life and finances where you could save money or gain more of it to work with.
3. Ask A Dealer To Look On Your Behalf
Many dealers supplement inventory by shopping at auto auctions, but you probably can't do that yourself, unless you have a special license. Why not ask a local car dealer to look on your behalf? If they know you're serious, they will keep an eye out for you, watching for your preferred model and specifications. While there will be fees added to the auction price to cover the dealer's expenses, you're still going to end up with a good deal.
4. Buy Basic And Pimp The Vehicle Later
Paying cash or financing your used vehicle will be cheaper if there are fewer bells and whistles installed and might land you behind the wheel faster than if you have to look around for a well-equipped model. You could budget things like a stereo, window tint and mag wheels over the course of the next year, rather than factoring those expenses into your monthly payment or up-front costs when paying cash. Customizing the car later could be a lot of fun and doing it on your terms means considerable savings.
Finding the perfect car for yourself on terms you can live with isn't easy, but the more educated and creative you are, the more doors you will open for yourself. Talk to a dealer, examine all your options and make the necessary moves that will put you behind the wheel of something you really love - and can afford!