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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 Citreon, 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!