How much to spend

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

When considering how much to spend on a car, you should determine whether you've saved enough money to be able to pay cash for it, or whether you'll need to finance the purchase. If you're financing, take a careful look at your budget to determine how much you can afford as a down payment and how much you can spend on monthly payments. Shop around for interest rates, which can be competitive. Some insurance companies, auto clubs, and credit unions have arranged special pricing and financing on new and used vehicles through local dealerships exclusively for their customers or members. Once you've decided on an affordable price range, decide what type of car you want. Consider such factors as the number of passengers that will be riding in the vehicle, the kind of driving you do, and the types of cargo that you may carry. While a sports coupe might appeal to your ego, a larger vehicle may be more realistic if you need the car to shuttle children to and from their activities, and it may be more suited to your budget, as well. Try to buy using your head, as well as your heart. Keep in mind that the sales price is only the beginning of figuring the cost of buying a car. The total cost will be determined by the sales price of the car, plus financing, warranties, insurance, as well as repairs and maintenance. Don't forget to also factor in state and local sales taxes, title costs, and license fees when calculating the purchase cost. Investigate and compare to make certain you're getting the best deal you can. After you decide the kind of vehicle and the options you want and the amount you can realistically afford, then you can begin negotiating.

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