Buying a car is one of the most significant investments most people will ever make in their life. For some, it sits third behind college education and a home purchase. That’s why you’d want to get it right. Going unprepared will only result in a load of anxieties and stresses. Of course, a loan can further complicate things for you financially. Unfortunately, it’s the case for most people as a brand-new car can be too expensive to be paid upfront in full.
If you don’t want to get into a lot of trouble down the road it’s important that you closely examine yourself, to ensure that you’re ready to undertake the responsibility that comes with buying your first-ever car. Before taking the plunge, check for these signs:
1. You’ve Found the Right Car for You
Finding the perfect car for your needs can be very challenging. The process is usually filled with many doubts and questions. Mistakes can also have a significant impact on your finances. Add to it all the time that you have to spend with salespeople that can, sometimes, be annoying and even more confusing. It can be stressful finding the perfect car, but once you’re already there, you can say that you’re finally ready to shell out for it.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for your first car:
- Needs vs. Wants: The first thing you have to do is differentiate your needs from your wants. Most people would be happy with basic cars as they’re the more realistic choice. However, there’s also nothing wrong with aiming a little higher and look for automobiles with next-generation technology, like luxury and sports cars.
The vehicle’s brand and model are also a major consideration; would you go for ones made by Nissan, Honda, or Ford? If you prefer Nissan cars, discover more here. Also, don’t forget to consider the core features you need based on your purpose of buying an automobile – is it for work, the family, adventures in the outdoors, or you only want something that can take you anywhere when running errands and back home?
- New Or Used: A used car is more affordable and can provide more value for your back, especially ones maintained by their previous owners regularly. Newer models, however, have more upgrades, more presentable looks, not to mention a slimmer chance of breaking down and needing repairs. Go back to your “needs list” to help you decide.
- Budget: Make sure that you’re getting a car not only because you want it, it’s the newest model available, or it fits your needs; but also because it’s what you can afford or at least pay comfortably without getting in bad debt.
2. You’re Financially Ready
Do you need to take a loan to buy your first car or you got cash in the bank to pay it off upfront? If you need a car loan, the rest of your finances should be in order. Otherwise, you won’t be ready to buy an automobile yet.
Below are indications that you’re not yet financially ready for a car purchase:
- Insufficient income
- A lot of outstanding balances on other debt
- Bad credit
- Monthly expenses greater than or taking 75 to 80% of your monthly income
The dream of owning your first car can quickly turn into a nightmare if you force a car purchase into your already unstable stack of financial issues.
Assess yourself and your financial situation objectively. Look at your debt-to-income ratio, outstanding balances, and savings. Act accordingly based on what you can afford.
Related: 7 Proven Tips to Buy a Car Wisely
3. Commuting Starts to Annoy You
If you prefer to have your own space and you want to stick to a personal schedule while generally feeling comfortable, buying a car for private commuting is your best bet. While there’s nothing wrong with public transportation, as it can save you money (most of the time), many people have grown tired of it because of the following reasons:
- Public commuting means getting squashed like a sardine inside a vehicle with other people every day.
- Waiting half an hour to even one hour for the next ride is a usual scene, especially for those who missed the regular bus or train schedule.
- Everything feels rushed from your home on the way to the workplace, which means you won’t have any downtime, unlike driving your own car.
4. You’ve Researched the Maintenance Costs
When comparing the actual price you paid for a car versus its long-term ownership costs, you’ll be surprised to learn that the latter is higher. One of the most significant costs is the maintenance requirements of the vehicle.
All cars, either a used car or a brand new one, will eventually have to be maintained using money that comes straight from your pocket. Review your financial state and ask yourself if you’re ready to regularly spend money for:
- Fresh engine oil
- New car lights (headlights, turn signals, parking lights)
- Coolant fluids
- Spark plugs
- Car insurance
- Car repairs or fixes
If you think that your monthly income can’t handle the maintenance costs, you can buy a new car instead of a used car to assure you won’t have to invest more money on it at least for a while.
5. You’re Qualified to Drive
Are you qualified to drive? If you’re qualified, you must have a driver’s license, which shows that you’ve been adequately trained. As you know, driving a vehicle without undergoing training may lead to injuries and even death.
So, even if you have the budget to get a car without a car loan, if you’re not authorized to drive, you’re not ready to become an automobile owner just yet. The last thing you’d want is to endanger your or your family’s life.
6. Your Family is Getting Bigger
Another sign that you’re ready to buy your first car is a new family dynamic–your family has gotten bigger. Reasons for this change include:
- Your wife just delivered your first, second, or third baby
- Your or your partner’s parents have moved in to live with you
- You’ve adopted kids
Changes in family dynamics can cause challenges whenever commuting in public to go somewhere and need to take everyone along. Make every journey comfortable for you and your family by purchasing a car.
Related: Expert Tips for Buying a Luxury Car
7. You Want to Keep Your Family Safe
If you want control over the driver’s seat instead of relying on other people’s hands for your family’s safety, the best way to do this is to own a car.
8. You Need to Travel More Often
Many people enjoy traveling. If you’re one of them, you have to plan for transportation ahead of time to ensure that everything goes smoothly during your trip.
However, scheduling can be complicated and, sometimes, public commute can also get more expensive than driving your own car. So, if you need to travel more often, due to work or even for family vacations, consider getting your first car to enjoy going on a trip in your own vehicle anytime.
If you’re able to check all the eight boxes above, don’t hesitate to buy your first car. This means that you’re ready to take on the responsibility that comes with taking a car loan and owning a vehicle. If not, work your way to check all the points mentioned above.