As a college-aged individual, you have probably never made a purchase as large as buying a car. But now that you’re preparing to go to school, it’s time to get your own set of wheels. Chances are, you haven’t yet experienced the excitement and stress of car shopping. Before you do, make sure you secure your finances and that you are prepared to make this significant decision. Moreover, by following some guidelines, you can be ready.
Save, Save, Save
For many people, the time leading up to college is as good a time as any to save money. You won’t likely have as many financial responsibilities as you will in the coming years and decades. Therefore, start putting away as much money for a car as you can today. For instance, the more you can save to put toward a down payment, the better off you’ll be. Your purchase price will be less, and you won’t have to make as large of a monthly payment. You may also be able to get a lower interest rate. Moreover, if you can save enough to buy a suitable car with cash, you’ll be even better off.
Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your bank account. For example, you may have your sights set on a specific model, but if you can’t afford the monthly payments, you’ll put yourself in a difficult position. Set a budget so that you purchase something within your spending range. Firstly, evaluate how much you have in savings and how much you make per month. Secondly, look at your monthly debt and other bills. Ideally, you will spend less than 20 percent on your car (including insurance, maintenance, and fuel) of your total income.
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Check Your Credit
It’s always wise to know your credit score before you start shopping for a car. Importantly, you’ll want a higher score if you plan on securing financing. A better score will get you more favorable rates and terms. You’ll be able to qualify for a better car too. If your score is on the low end, you may not qualify for the vehicle you need. Or, you may get a high interest rate.
On the bright side, you can ask a family member or close friend to cosign with you. This is common for college-age shoppers who have little or no credit history. In this case, the lender would consider your cosigner’s credit and income too.
In summary, when it’s time for you to buy a car to take to college, be wise. Use these tips today so that you can get the right vehicle at a price you can feel good about. You will then have peace of mind financially. Stop by the showroom at Cavender Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM in Columbus, TX, to start shopping.
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