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Things to Consider when Purchasing a Vechicle
Buying a vehicle is a very exciting process. It can be the second most important financial decision (behind a house) a person will make in his/her lifetime. Therefore, choosing the right vehicle is very important.
Things to consider:
Monthly Budget – Have a strict monthly budget in mind before shopping. Maxing out your budget right away over an extended term contract makes it very difficult to adjust your vehicle as your life stage changes.
Consider the Future – Do you need the two-seat sports car? Do you plan to have a family sometime in the next 2 years? Buy a vehicle that is practical now, and down the road, without sacrificing your requirements. This will eliminate unnecessary “trading” that could lead to upside down (owing more than the vehicle is worth) lending situations.
Conduct Dealership Research – You are not just purchasing a vehicle, you are entering into a dealership relationship. The buying process may be short-term, but the service you receive is for the life of your vehicle. Therefore, take time to find a dealer that is highly recommended, one that will treat you like a customer after the sale and will help with unforeseen issues as they arise.
Know Your Credit Situation and Current Interest Rates – Customers will negotiate for hours over $50 on a vehicle's purchase price, the be strapped with a high interest rate, without realizing it. Check your credit rating before discussing financing options and have an idea what reasonable market rates are before agreeing to a deal. Individuals can save more money knowing their financing options rather than negotiating that final $50. Similar to researching the dealership and salesperson, the business manager must be a trustworthy, honest person who will help you structure a deal that fits your budget.
Vehicle Service Plans Pay Off – Many people like to “chance” major vehicle repairs. If you are dependent on this vehicle to get back and forth to work and the transmission goes out, do you have the money saved to repair it right away? If your vehicle budget was $350 and you settled on $300 per month, can you afford an unforeseen $3,000 service bill? Vehicle service plans allow a person to take care of serious mechanical issues without having to worry about budgeting for those repairs. Additionally, most vehicle service plans come with roadside assistance, towing reimbursement and rental coverage.
Hybrid versus Gasoline – With the rising cost of fuel, fuel economy is a serious consideration today. However, purchasing a hybrid over a gasoline-powered vehicle may not be as financially efficient as once believed. Not only are hybrid parts more expensive, the increased demand for fuel economy also generates a higher than market price tag for the vehicle. In many situations, a person will pay thousands over the price of a standard vehicle of the same make and model. When considering the difference in gas prices and fuel efficiency, pricing pressures due to the increased demand for hybrid vehicles, and the additional interest and finance charges on the “higher” purchase price, it can be 7 to 10 years (or more) to break even and recoup your expenditure on a hybrid.
Next time you are shopping for a new vehicle, be sure to consider these points. It is a milestone purchase you will always remember – “Wow, remember that first vehicle we bought together!” – It is a staple of every marital memory.
- Rasmussen's, Storm Lake/Cherokee, Iowa
This article was also featured in the 2009 VOW Wedding Planner. To view a PDF of this article, go to the HOME, FINANCE & AUTO section of VOW.