I need to get to work and my ride isn’t here yet. I was freaking out! My car had died on me the day before, and I was now relying on my best friend to pick me up. It was at that moment that I realized how much my means of transportation affected even the smallest aspects of my life. As soon as you get that driver’s license, transportation just becomes another priority to take care of. Sure, some people go with public transportation and others get by from rides, but sometimes it’s nice to have a car to call your own. If you’re thinking about getting a car, then you’ve got some planning and research to do.
Often, the consumer must prioritize their wants in order to make the best choice. When choosing a car, you must prioritize long-term needs, rather than isolated wants (that may change with time). For example, you have just gotten a new job to which you will commute every day. You have to think of how this will affect what you look for in a car. You really like the color on Car A and its seats are perfect, but Car B uses up less gas even if the color is a little faded. Choosing a fuel-efficient car is probably the best decision for your wallet. Wants don’t always work out for the consumer, so it’s best to have the right priorities in mind. Some things you might want to look out for when prioritizing your wants and needs include:
- Price: you don’t want something you can’t afford
- Reliability: it better get you there and safe!
- Safety: do their airbags and seatbelts work?
- Fuel economy: nobody likes a gas guzzler!
- Insurance: will the car you choose negatively affect an insurance rate?
You’ve got dealerships you can go to that offer new AND used cars, you can look through your local paper, or you can use the internet! Now, let’s look at the types of choices you have when buying a car. You can always buy a brand new car at a dealership. This often guarantees fewer repairs in the near future and new cars have warranties that come in handy. However, used cars cost less (both to buy and insure) and avoid depreciation issues. At this point, it might be best to come up with a budget and look at what fits your budget best. Just remember, this might seem like a now-issue, but you’ve got to take a long-term budget into consideration. Will this car’s value depreciate rapidly? Will you be able to afford the payments? Will you have enough money to cover gasoline costs? Questions like these should come up when creating your budget.
Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for advice and as always the internet can lead you to some great resources such as Kelley Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com/) which can help you decide what a fair price to pay is on a used car. Having your own car can be great and knowing how to get that car will make all the difference.