"Save for a car, so you can make a big down payment" – you've heard that, right? But it's easier said than done. Whether you're looking for something used or brand new, it still takes time and discipline to save for a car. It's easy to get impatient, especially when you really need transportation, but believe me, patience is a virtue when you're trying to save up for a new vehicle. You just can't let yourself get too impatient, or you might make a big mistake. I'm currently in this boat myself, so I put together the most effective ways to save for a car and I hope they'll help you, too!
1. Know What You Want
It's hard when you want to save for a car because there's always somewhere else for the money to go, plus there are so many options out there. For that reason, you have to figure out what kind of vehicle you want from the first. That way, you'll start out with a realistic idea of how much money you're going to be spending on your new ride. Mind, this includes deciding whether or not you want a new or used car.
2. Work out a Budget
If you don't know how much money you have, you can't save. When you're saving up for any big purchase, especially one that may require a down payment, you have to do a budget. Find out where your money is going and how much you can reasonably save each month.
3. Discipline Your Spending
Having a budget will also help you find new ways to save for a car. You may discover that you have too much money going into one area, and it may be better spent on a car. Regardless, it always helps to know how much money you have and where it's going. Working out a budget is one thing, but then you have to discipline yourself and follow it.
4. Find out the Blue Book Prices
You need to know what you're buying, too. Knowing the Blue Book price on the car you want, new or used, will make sure you aren't taken advantage of when you go looking for a car. Salesmen won't be able to charge you an outrageous amount for a car you know isn't worth that much.
5. Save up for the Extras Too
Don't forget, when you save for a car, you're not just saving for that. You have to think about plates, insurance, and things like that, too. It also doesn't hurt to start building an emergency fund for car maintenance.
6. Trim the Fat
Debt can be bad when you're trying to save for anything. If you can, trim the fat before you start saving, by erasing some of your debt. It may take a little longer, but it can help a lot, especially if you end up needing a loan on a new car.
7. Set a Goal
When you save for a car, you have to have a goal – a realistic one. When do you need it? Do you want it in six months from now, a year from now, or do you need it much sooner? It may not be possible to get a car in three months, but by having a goal, it's easier to discipline yourself.
8. Cut the Luxuries
This may stem naturally from doing a budget … but then again, it might not. If you're really eager to get a car and you're worried about meeting your goal, then ease up on the luxuries. Don't go out to eat so much, don't go to the movies so often, and try to cut your shopping trips, too.
9. Comparison Shop
As you save for a car, you can feel free to start shopping around. In fact, you should, because you may be able to get the car of your dreams for a cheaper price. Find out what's on the offer around you, see who's offering the best deal, and if that place is reputable, you may get your vehicle faster than you thought.
10. Go for Quality
You always pay for what you get and get what you pay for, and that's never truer than it is with a car. Don't go for something point blank cheap. Sometimes you just have to put quality first. After all, you might be able to get a car for $1000, but how much are you going to have to spend to keep it running?
When you want to save for a car, it's especially important that you budget yourself. However, you have to walk a fine line, and you can't put so much into your savings account that you scrimp in other important areas. It may take a while to save for a car, but sooner than you think, you'll be ready to get the ride you want. Of course, then you have to make sure you're getting something good – but that's another post altogether! For now, what are some other ways to save for a car?
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