5 Tips to help you find a vehicle that will fall in love with your budget!

Here are the most important tips to consider before you buy your next car

Sheryl Thiel
buying a vehicle on a budget
buying a car on a budget

It’s funny how love works! Imagining your ideal partner will have a certain hair colour, be a certain height or body shape – only to find the person you fall in love with has completely different attributes!

The same thing goes for finding your ideal car.  You may have imagined a red convertible as the love of your life, but if you had to buy one, would the relationship last?


There are many aspects to consider when purchasing a vehicle, and one of the most important is choosing one that your budget will love. Especially now as we find ourselves in uncertain times and economic restraints.

In the excitement of falling in love and shopping for a new car, many people forget about this especially important thing! It's amazing how few take the time to actually figure out what they can comfortably afford.


Here are 5 important tips to consider before you buy your next car:


1. Review your budget

Before you start researching the latest models and test-driving vehicles, you first need to determine your budget and how you’ll pay for your new car.

  • How much money do you have saved for a deposit?
  • What’s the best interest rate you can you find?
  • What fees and licensing costs will you have to pay?


Look at your recent bank statement and monthly bills to determine your budget. Add the trade-in value of your current vehicle to this budget — you can use this to make a larger deposit that will lower your monthly payment and interest.

The cost of purchasing a vehicle is more than just the price of the car itself, so make sure to plan for additional expenses such as the registration fee or add-ons you might want such as an extended warranty, as well as the monthly running costs like fuel and insurance.

Establish what you are willing and able to pay using our finance calculator.


2. Determine your wants vs needs

Once you have figured out how much you can comfortably spend on your car, it is a good idea to assess what you want and need at this stage of your life. A single person in their twenties will have a vastly different checklist than that of a family of five.


Make a list of non-negotiables such as vehicle size, safety features and fuel economy to determine what kind of vehicle will best satisfy your needs. Then list everything you want but do not necessarily need, like technology, colour preference, conveniences, and style. Keep this list in mind when researching specific models.


3. Do your research

Once you  know what you need, you can choose the exact brand and model that best meets your requirements. Compare listings online to find vehicles that come with the specs you are looking for.  Take a look at new, used and demo options before deciding what will be best for you.


Take your top two or three choices for a test drive.  Pay attention to the car’s acceleration, comfort, and handling. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have about the engineering or functionality of the vehicle.


4. Consider ongoing costs

You have found one or two cars you love, and you’re almost ready to make your decision. But before you sign the paperwork, make sure your budget will love it too by taking into consideration the ongoing costs. For example, some models have parts that cost more to repair, which means your maintenance costs will be higher. Others are not so efficient on fuel which will cost you more every time you fill up and some have a higher insurance price tag. Make sure you can afford the car you choose throughout its lifetime.


5. Financing your car

We would all like to pay cash for our new car , but most of us cannot afford it, so we have to finance the purchase of our car. Make sure that you shop around. Try and choose a short-term repayment plan with the lowest interest rate possible. Be wary of balloon payments, as they can make repayments seem small, but could leave you still owing quite a sizeable amount on your car by the end of your term. Try to make as big a deposit as you can (ideally anything from 10% to 20% of the purchase price), as this will help lower your monthly instalments.