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Deciding How Much To Spend

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Deciding how much you can afford to spend on your used car:

Step 1: Create a budget

Create a budget for yourself so you can see exactly what you have and what you don't have to spend. Creating a budget can save you time and money because you'll know exactly what you're working with. Your budget should provide you with the following information:

  1. What you can afford to spend on a car in total.
  2. How much money you have for a down payment.
  3. A monthly payment you can afford.

Step 2: Get a copy of your credit report

This is a very important step. When you go into a car dealership, you do not want the dealer knowing more about your credit than you do. If you have your credit report and you know what's on it, you'll know what they might try to throw at you. A dealer could give you a price on a car and then call you a few days later and tell you that a bad credit report is going to cause a rise in the amount they quoted you. If you don't know you're credit history, you won't be able to fight back against this. Most credit agencies can get you a copy of you report for $6 - $12 that same day. Be sure to take it with you when you go to look at you new car and talk to the dealer. (This step is unnecessary if buying from a private owner.)

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