How to buy your first car

It’s an exciting time in anybodies life: buying that very first car. The doors this can open up for you are seemingly endless, from epic weekend road trips to the complete abandonment of public transportation during rush hour. However, it is also not a decision to be taken lightly. There are countless pitfalls first time car buyers can fall in to, which can affect not only your bank balance, but your safety. Therefore, it is exceptionally important that before you take this momentous step, you arm yourself with as much knowledge as Google can willfully bestow. To wit…

 

  1. Establish your budget. You need to know how much you can spend before you start haggling to ensure you don't send yourself into debt. This includes being aware of how much you can spend per week, and therefore how you would go about repaying a loan, if a loan is needed.
  2. Determine what you actually need a car for. There's no point getting a mini if you'll need to be lugging tools around during the week, or bags of sports gear on the weekend. Likewise, inner city living won't really require a 4WD, no matter how good you look in it.
  3. However, you do need to establish your non-negotiables. There's no point buying something that's not quite what you want, so allow room to stretch yourself for those features you really want.
  4. Locate a dealer you feel comfortable with, and that boasts a good reputation. While the majority of car salespeople are actually good folk, there will always be the odd employee more interested in your money than finding your perfect car, so just be wary.
  5. When you do find a car you're interested in, take it for a test drive. This is a must. Sometimes a car can look like exactly what you want, but it's not until you really get to know what they're like on the inside that you can see if they're really the one for you. A good life lesson, really.
  6. If this is definitely the car for you, do your research. Figure out what the proper purchase price should be, and base your negotiation around this. Remember, stick to your budget! If your budget is $10k, and you're looking at a car selling for $12k, don't start negotiations at $12k. It's easier to work up than it is to backtrack.
  7. Through all this though, remember to enjoy yourself. This is a big step after all, so have fun with it.