If you think you can’t buy a car, we’re not here to argue. In fact, we’re here to agree with you. No one knows your finances better than you do and, if you say you can’t buy a car, you can’t buy a car. Who are we to disagree? However, while you may not be able to buy a car right now, there’s nothing that says you can’t buy one in the future! Follow these tips and you could be among the happy elite of the car ownership world:
1. Research Your Options
While you may have grown up with Lamborghini posters adorning your pre-pubescent walls, it will behoove you to come down from the clouds and research cars that you can really afford. What type of car do you need? If you have enough children to form your own football team, a two-seater Smart is immediately out of the picture. If you’ve got nothing to cart around but yourself and your cat, a small car may suit you just fine. Find the car that fits your needs, even though they may not necessarily be your wants, and decide how much you’ll need to save.
2. Pay Your Bills
Let’s face it, that credit score you have is holding you back. There’s no way that a bank or private lender is going to trust you with their money if you don’t have a great track record of paying your bills on time. It’s time to break your bad bill-paying habits and get back on the right path! Sit down, create a budget and start paying your bills when they are due. You can expect to get turned down at every single reputable lender until you have at least six months of on-time paying under your belt.
3. Set a Goal
Rather than plugging along, putting money away haphazardly, decide how much you need for a down payment and how much you’ll need to sock away each week to reach your goal. You may have to give up your Starbucks habit but, really, what’s more important? Having over-priced coffee or driving your own car?
4. Get a Loan
When you’ve saved up enough money for a down payment and your credit report reflects that of a responsible adult, head down to your local credit union or bank and secure an auto loan. Alternately, you can attempt to score a loan at the dealer after you’ve taken a few test drives. No matter where you secure your loan, keep your wits about you. Virtually anyone can get approved for an auto loan these days but can you afford 18 or 20 percent interest? Don’t get so excited about your approval that you get stuck with ridiculous car payments for the next six years.
5. In the Meantime
While you’re saving for the not-quite car of your dreams, how do you get from place to place? You have a few options here. You can walk, bum rides from friends, take advantage of available public transportation or become a hermit. We don’t suggest becoming a hermit so look into your other options first.
It’s true; you may not be able to buy a car right now. That doesn’t mean that a shiny red vehicle can’t be parked in your driveway several months from now. Save your money, build your credit and soon you’ll be the one people are asking for a ride!
Author Sheila Barnett writes on personal finance and budgeting for www.financialcalculator.org, a site with helpful details and financial tools such as an investment calculator, a millionaire calculator, and even a brand vs. generic calculator!