5 things to consider before buying a new car.

Things have changed significantly over the last few years when it comes to buying a new car. While I’ve been driving for over a decade, I still struggle to comprehend the financial burden of owning a vehicle.

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Things have changed significantly over the last few years when it comes to buying a new car. While I’ve been driving for over a decade, I still struggle to comprehend the financial burden of owning a vehicle. Between fuel (currently at an all-time high), insurance, and maintenance, the costs never end. And that’s not even including the hidden costs!

Up until August 2021, we were a two-car household. My husband had his vehicle, and I had mine. While he had been through three cars in his five years of driving, I had been through just one. But in April 2021 I bit the bullet and finally bought a new car. After 10 years of my lovely Citroen, it was time to move on. But I had to consider my personal budget, and ensure that it could also cover tax and insurance. I wasn’t planning on taking out any finance, so I really had to get it right!

Image from Jose Carbajal.

Five things you MUST consider before buying a new car.

Know the true cost!

The most important thing is to know what you have! You can’t go about buying a new car without enough for the initial payment, and then some! There’s the tax, maintenance, MOT, and, of course, ongoing fuel costs. While you can pay for a car over time, you need to be able to keep up with payments. Can you afford monthly payments for both the vehicle and its road tax? What about unexpected costs? And what about fuel economy?

There’s so much to think about! And if you’re considering a loan, that too can be complicated. That’s why online car payment calculators can be really helpful. All you have to do is input your information, budget, loan repayment, etc and it does the work for you! You can adjust the information as you like to determine what would best suit you. There’s no commitment or fees associated with this particular calculator, and results appear instantly!

Want to discover new ways to reduce the cost of running your car? Check out this post.

Get car insurance quotes BEFORE buying a new car.

Checking my insurance costs is always the first thing I do when researching a new car. I’m more likely to go for a car that’s going to be financially viable in the long term. It’s among one of my biggest influencers along with fuel economy and space. There are many comparison sites that can do this for you fairly easily.

Even if you can afford the insurance now, just be aware of future increases through either inflation or due to a claim. If you’re looking to save money, you’ll want a car that’s cheap to cover. The cheapest to insure tend to have a lot in common, including size.

Image from Callum Hill.

Do your research!

Buying a car is a big purchase. The budget you’ll need to both buy and finance one is much more than that of a grocery shop or even a mobile phone. You need to take time to research how you can get the best for the money you’re willing to spend. Even if you just need a runaround, something to get you from A to B, you’ll still need to ensure that it’s both safe and reliable!

You can either choose to do your research online or at your local car dealership! Sometimes getting the opinion of an expert can be helpful. However, be aware of dodgy tradesmen! Don’t be afraid to ask for a test drive, a look under the bonnet, and even to have a third party assess before buying. I always take along my best friend and his partner when viewing cars because I simply haven’t a clue.

While Google can be helpful in doing research, there are so many articles and opinions that it’s easy to get lost. Choose what information you receive carefully and don’t be tricked into the latest bells and whistles. A built-in sat nav is great, but if the vehicle is known for its short life span, then what’s the point?

Consider your wants and needs.

Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend on your vehicle, it’s time to assess what you need and want at this stage of your life. A single person in their twenties may have a different checklist than that of a family of five.

Make a list of non-negotiables pertaining to vehicle size, safety features, fuel economy, and other options. This list will help you determine what kind of vehicle will best satisfy your needs. Then list everything you want but don’t necessarily need, like technology, conveniences, and add-ons. Keep this list in mind when researching specific models.

If you’re looking for a family car, this post is for you!

Be fuel Smart!

Now more than ever the car we drive and its fuel economy is important. With some places seeing fuel reach highs of two pounds a litre, even those of us in the smallest of vehicles are feeling the pinch.

It’s no secret that the smaller the engine, the cheaper it is to run. For example, a 1.0 litre engine will use significantly less fuel than a 2.0 litre. While the horsepower may be greater, the amount it takes to run is too. A small engine is most efficient when it’s used as intended, such as a short trip to work or even to the shops. But if a small engine is used consistently at a high speed, it’ll need to work much harder to keep the car going, therefore burning more fuel. Consider where and how far you travel on a daily basis and assess the size of engine you need from there.

Next, it’s smart to consider the type of fuel you’ll be using. While diesel engines are often more fuel-efficient than petrol, this doesn’t mean they’re better. Cars with diesel engines are often more expensive, and cost more at the pump than petrol cars do.

But, to make things easier, here are a few of the advantages of each fuel type.

Petrol is often cheaper in the UK and is good if you’re only doing short journeys. For example, my husband and I have a 1.0 petrol car which takes us to and from town fairly cheaply. We also use it to make the forty-minute journey to our home town or to see friends. While this car isn’t ideal for longer journeys, they aren’t often and therefore the cost works out better for us long term.

Diesel, however, is more economical for longer journeys as you get higher miles per gallon (mpg). Engines are also typically more sturdy, and cars maintain a higher resale value than that of petrol cars.

How can you save money on your fuel by adapting your driving technique? This article tells you all you need to know!

Image from myenergi.

However you go about buying a new car, make an informed decision!

If you have any other thoughts or opinions on buying a new car, I’d love to hear them in the comments section! Perhaps you’ve thought of something I haven’t, or maybe you’re an expert? Either way, the more information we have to use, the better!

41 comments

  1. Super good tips and things to keep in mind when buying a new car.. There are many things like insurance cost that not everyone considers. Very helpful! 🙂

  2. I haven’t started my driving lessons yet due to a number of things but mainly because of my work accident and been trying to get stronger. I will definitely try in the next few years to drive. These are really helpful tips when I buy my first car. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren x

  3. These are all very helpful tips! When I bought my first car I had my parents with me who ended up making the decision when I first got my driving license. What I never thought about were all the extra costs on top! Thank you for sharing x

  4. these are fantastic tips. my husband wants to buy a new car soon so i’ll def keep this in mind.

  5. These are all such great and practical things to consider before buying a new car. Thanks for sharing all these tips!

  6. This is such a helpful post and I really wish I had this years ago when purchasing my first car because I definitely didn’t consider a lot of this until it was too late! While I’m still years off (i hope) from having to buy a new car I will keep this in mind and pass this along to friends who are shopping!

  7. Some fab tips. I wouldn’t bother going down the route of diesel cars anymore, considering they’re not going to be made any more soon and the ULEZ zones around London are getting larger and larger, it’s going to cost a bomb to go anywhere!

  8. We were a two car family up until recently when we finally bit the bullet and sold one. The costs were just too high and with us both working from home it’s not that often we need to drive one car let alone two. There’s so much to think about when buying a car, insurance is definitely a good one to calculate before deciding which one to go for.

    Claire.x
    http://www.clairwemac.co.uk

  9. These are some really insightful tips. Knowing the true cost is essential as many people just go ahead with the marketing offers without knowing all the hidden costs. Well thought out post.

  10. These are helpful tips. I agree with you that it is important that we do our research before the big purchase and yes, with the rising fuel charges, fuel efficiency is a top consideration.

  11. Being fuel smart is the way to go now. Any car that drinks like a fish isn’t economical to drive.

  12. I was thinking of getting a new car, but i’m going to pay this one off and give it to my teen who will be old enough to drive when I hit that last note. 🙂 It’s a plan. I hope it works.

  13. There are lots of things to consider. The most important to me is not to get carried away and spend more than you can really afford. You don’t want a huge car payment, one so big that it negatively impacts your lifestyle.

  14. There was so much to consider when my husband and I got our new car (a number of years back now); I wish I had been a bit more prepared. If we ever look to get a new car again; I will keep all these tips in mind!

  15. These are some great tips for someone looking to buy a new car. I am not planning to add a vehicle right now but save it for near future.

  16. It will be a while for me to get a car but I will keep these in mind. Thank you for sharing!

  17. So many good tips! My dad was int he car business for 30 years so I have never really had to research much!

  18. I am a car owner for more than 10 years now and I can still remember that I initially thought that the only thing i need to worry was paying the car little did i know that there were regular maintenance, insurance and gasoline and many many more unforecasted expenses hahaha. Love how you are able to be very detailed about this post and new car owners should defo read this.

  19. Yes to being fuel smart! I will finish paying my car (a very fuel smart car) off when the teen is able to drive solo. That will go to him and then I’ll be in the market for a new one again. 🙂

  20. We’re praying to have a car soon because we need it. Like Stephanie, I also didn’t know you can get insurance quotes before buying a car. That would really be helpful for us so we can choose the one that will work well for us and the budget.

  21. Hhhhmmmm…these are good tips to have in mind. Personally, I would choose a petroleum powered car.

  22. Awesome! Definitely, these are the things we must consider before buying a new car! Great help especially to first-timer buying their very first car! Loved it and will make this as a reference for future use!

  23. Research is very important. It took me months of research before I bought my own car. Because this does not happen a lot of times. Asking friends who have bought their own is also a great idea.

  24. I think it is not smart to get a new car at this time considering the increase in fuel every week, at least in the Philippines, where I live. Thanks though for the Car Payment Calculator. Figuring out if you can afford to pay car amortization has neven been this easy.

  25. These are all important things to consider, for sure! We are buying a new car soon, and we will get pre-approved through our bank for a loan before we start shopping. In the US, we get a better interest rate from our own bank than from the financing at the car dealership. That is on my list of things to do this summer!

  26. Ooh! Getting a quote for insurance beforehand is such a smart idea. I hadn’t thought of that one before!

  27. These are great tips! I must admit that I have bought cars without doing all the research. With the costs, of fuel it is smart to choose wisely.

  28. Doing research is very important before buying a car. I always make sure iI look for cars within a certain price bracket, age and insurance bracket.

  29. Finding this information as a person who never even had one car is great. Since me and my partner we looking for a run around for work thank you for this informative article.

  30. Research is absolutely key because it leads you to all the other things that you need to know. Excellent post!

  31. I never knew you could get insurance quotes BEFORE buying a car! We haven’t purchased a new vehicle for 7+ years and plan to keep these as long as we can. But I will definitely be looking into that especially since the next vehicle we get will likely include adding a teenage son to the insurance which I know will greatly increase the cost.

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