A Step-By-Step Guide to Budgeting for Your Next Car
Buying a car is like choosing a faithful companion for all your future road trips. With many factors to consider, purchasing a vehicle can be a challenging decision.
What model should you go for? Where should you buy it from? These are all fair questions that require a bit of research. But, above all, you need to think carefully about one thing: your budget.
cinch, leading expert in online car trading, takes a look at some handy tips to keep an eye on your finances and help you find the best car for your needs.
Determine how much you can afford
First things first, you need to figure out how much you’re able to spend. Sometimes, people skip this step and go to the dealership without having a clear idea of what they can afford.
In the spur of the moment, you may end up picking an attractive car that really tickles your fancy, regardless of whether your pockets agree or not. Over-stretching your budget can have a pricey effect in the long run, especially if you have limited savings or are faced with unexpected costs.
Lease vs Buy
PCP or PCH? The decision to lease or buy a car through hire purchase is something you need to consider fully.
Leasing will bring your monthly payments down but may require a larger deposit, and you won’t own the car at the end of the term.
Hire purchase may cost a little more on a monthly basis but you will own the car at the end of the term. The decision is yours!
So, make sure to do your sums and subtractions and consider things such as your income, expenses, and financial goals. This way, you’ll know exactly how much money you can put aside for your new vehicle.
Choose the right car for you
Once you’ve set your budget, it’s always worth making sure that your chosen vehicle meets your personal needs. Having time to reflect on how you’ll use your car is crucial.
For instance, if you have children, any two-seaters on the market are probably a no-go – no matter how inviting they are. Likewise, why invest in a spacious vehicle if you’re the only passenger riding it?
Mindful of your essentials and priorities, as well as your budget, you can confidently steer towards that blue BMW you really like, or that sporty Audi you’ve been dreaming about.
Factor in working and additional costs
Calculating how much it’ll cost you to run your new vehicle is also important. On average, UK motorists spend more than £2,500 per year to keep their cars on the road. So, when jotting down your budget, make sure to take into account any extra costs.
Here are some of the extra bills you’ll need to face:
· Fuel – Let’s be honest, you can’t drive very far without fuel in your tank (or electricity if you opt for an electric vehicle). How much you’ll spend on fuel every year depends on your car model, driving speed, and vehicle weight. To save money on petrol, diesel, or electricity, you may want to fill up or recharge your car at supermarket fuel and recharging stations. As well as being cheaper, you may be able to collect points each time you power your vehicle and benefit from vouchers and discounts when you next go shopping.
· Insurance – You need car insurance to drive on UK roads. But the amount you’ll pay on your insurance is based on aspects such as age, address, credit score, and the vehicle you drive. The good news is that, generally, used cars are cheaper to insure than new ones. This is because used vehicles tend to feature older technology and, therefore, are less costly to repair.
· Servicing and maintenance – Unless your used car is fewer than three years old, by law it will require a yearly MOT. The government has set the maximum fee to £54.85, but there may be MOT centres that offer cheaper tests, so make sure to shop around to source the most cost-effective rate.
Car servicing, on the other hand, is not a legal requirement. But , Sam Sheehan, motoring expert at cinch, says that it may be something you want to think about. “Unlike an MOT, car servicing isn’t required by law,” Sheehan explains.
“However, getting your car checked every so often will make sure it stays in good condition and is more attractive to potential buyers for when you decide to sell.
“A full service will assess your tyres, brakes, lights, engine oil and oil filters, bodywork, and coolant levels, and will give you much-needed peace of mind.”
· Car tax – Vehicle Excise Duty, or car tax as it is known, is used to fund the building and maintenance of roads across the country. You’ll need to pay on a monthly or annual basis. To work out the costs for your chosen car, you can find all the relevant information on the government’s website. If you want to purchase an electric vehicle, you won’t be exempt from road tax – but you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to pay any added fees.
Check for tell-tale signs
One way of saving money on your next car is to look for any tell-tale signs of wear or damage, as it’ll give you an idea of how well it’s been maintained.
If a car has been kept in good shape, it’s less likely to leave you with pricey future repairs.
Tyres are often a tell-tale clue. If the vehicle has mismatched tyres, alarm bells should ring. This is also the case if you spot worn upholstery and scratched fabrics too.
Inspect a car before committing to it – one careless owner could have a unwanted impact on your finances.
If you’re on a tight budget and are looking to buy a used vehicle, there are several steps you can take to limit your expenses.
From figuring out how much you can afford to factoring in additional costs and looking for tell-tale signs of use, you can save cash and find the right car for your needs.
This way, you can drive into the horizon with the perfect vehicle.
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