Are you thinking about buying a new vehicle? Will this be the first new vehicle that you've ever purchased? If you've only ever purchased used vehicles before, your decisions have likely been largely opportunistic. You've bought what you could, when you could, for whatever you could afford. While certainly not an ideal way to go shopping for a reliable vehicle, it would have at least allowed you to have transportation available. But now that you can purchase a new vehicle, you need a new strategy. Some things to keep in mind about shopping for a new vehicle include:
Make a list of must-have features: Before you head to the car dealership, make sure you've decided exactly what you want and don't want in your vehicle. For instance, some people might be willing to sacrifice some passenger seating in exchange for better gas mileage, while others might absolutely need the extra space. Make sure to write all of these things down so that you can compare the different vehicles at the dealership. It's all too easy to get caught up in the moment and wind up with a vehicle that does not really fit your needs.
Know what you can afford: At the car dealership, they will use a formula to calculate how much you can afford based on your current salary and a few other factors. This is not necessarily a completely accurate analysis of your financial state, however. The dealership might calculate that you can afford a payment of up to $500 a month but, after adding up all of your bills, your grocery costs, and the cost of gas and insurance for your vehicle, you find that you can actually only afford a $300 payment. Knowing this ahead of time will help prevent potential financial difficulties. Neither you nor the dealership will want your payments to be more than you can afford.
Don't be afraid to walk away: Buying a brand new vehicle for the first time can be extremely exciting. You can't wait to get in it and drive away. This is exactly the time that you should take a step back and return in a day or two. Once you sign the papers on a vehicle, it is often extremely difficult to return it to the car dealership if it turns out that you hate the color or otherwise dislike the vehicle for some reason. A cooling-off period will help you to determine if you really want that particular vehicle or if another one on the lot would actually suit you better.