4 tips to make buying your first car a positive financial experience
Buying your first car is a huge moment, and it should be taken seriously. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time in it: The average American spends 101 minutes every day driving, according to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch. So, you should find a car that fits your lifestyle, as well as your budget.
While it's tempting to go to a car dealership and drive away with the first shiny thing you see, this isn't the best approach because it could end up costing you much more than you expected. It's critical to take into account anticipated gas, insurance, maintenance, and depreciation expenses when you compare vehicles.
To get a great deal, keep these four tips in mind when purchasing a new car:
1. Keep your options open.
Instead of "falling in love" with one particular car, find two or three models that could potentially work. Make a list of pros and cons for each — and then sleep on it. There might be a car that catches your eye, but wait a few days (or weeks) before you actually buy it.
2. Keep your eyes open for deals.
Most manufacturers and dealerships regularly offer incentives. When you find a few cars you like, keep an eye out for discounts and special offers. Try directly asking dealers and scouring for deals online.
3. Do your homework.
When you're looking into which car to buy (and the total cost of owning it), you have the entire internet at your disposal. Take advantage of reviews, guides, and online services — like USAA's Auto Circle® program — to help you find the best car for you, at a good price.
4. Minimize emotions.
It's critical to think logically, rather than emotionally, about which car will work best for you. (You're choosing a car, not a mate.) For example, if you need a car that can sustain a lot of mileage during a long commute, don't be tempted to get the flashiest vehicle to impress your friends.
Even though it might take more time, weighing your decisions and doing research will help you find a great car — at a great price. If you act impulsively, you might end up with a less-than-stellar experience.
More from Business insider:
Mark Cuban explains why a 401(k) is a no-brainer
This onetime 'house of the year' in Nevada just hit the market for $5.48 million
The secretive Bilderberg conference looks to the future but is stuck in the past