How much to spend

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

Deciding how much to spend on a car is rarely easy. Most of your decision depends on your overall budget. Thankfully, many budget worksheets are available to help guide you. First, write down your total monthly income. Then, figure out all of your other expenses, like rent, utilities, food, and entertainment. The difference will help determine how much money is left over for a car. It's important to remember that a monthly automobile payment is not the only cost of owning a car. Other costs include fuel, insurance, depreciation, financing fees, warranties, registration, and repair expenses. The temptation of owning a new, expensive sports car is strong, but be careful not to over-extend yourself. Shop only for cars you know you can afford with prices that fall within your budget. Then, research to find the best price for each car. You could be surprised at how much you can save by comparison shopping. If you really like a car that doesn't fit your budget, consider cutting back on another expense, like entertainment, in order to afford the car. By letting your budget be your guide, you can end up with a car you'll enjoy for years to come.

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