Things ask when shopping for a used car

Sometimes buying a used car on a budget feels like we have to buy the first car we find that still runs and fits within our budget. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. It’s still possible to find the right car for your lifestyle even when you’re on a budget. Just ask yourself these few questions when buying a used car, and it’s easy to find exactly what is right for your budget and lifestyle.

what kind of used car do i want

What do I want?

Just because you’re shopping on budget, doesn’t mean you can’t buy something you love. Start with a list of realistic used cars that you would like to have. You can start your list as specific or broad as you would like. There’s nothing wrong making a list that has both a heavy duty truck and a compact sedan on it. You’ll narrow your inventory down as you go through this process.

What are my needs?

This is where you start to whittle down your list. Think about your everyday drive and your needs. If you have kids or are planning on having kids in the future, you might not want to go with something with just two doors. If you live somewhere that’s cold or rains nine months out of the year, a convertible might not be ideal. You can save money and heartache by finding something that is practical but also fits your needs.

What size is best?

It’s important to find a used car that’s the right size. If you have a long commute to and from work every day, a heavy-duty truck is probably a bit excessive because you won’t want to pay for that kind of fuel for all that unused space. Unless you own massive amounts of stock in oil companies, figure out the size car, truck, or SUV that is best for you and your daily drive, then shop within that window.

what's my budgetWhat’s my budget?

Stay within your budget. You’ll quickly regret spreading your budget too thin by springing for something that’s even a little outside your price range. If you’re going to finance a used car, financial experts say keeping your monthly payment within 15 percent of your monthly income is a good way to go. Yes, it’s great to drive a really nice car and roll up to the club with all eyes on you, but it’s all is lost if you can’t afford anything when you get inside. Use a car payment calculator to help figure out your budget.

How much does it cost?

Continue to whittle down the list of cars you like after you’ve set your budget. Something to remember is that you might have a specific make and model in mind that fits the size of used car you have decided on. However, as you shop, you could find that exact car is out of your financial plan. Shop around for comparable used cars that are the same size as what you have been searching for. Again, don’t spring for that luxury used car just because it’s the one you have your heart set on. It’s important to find something within your budget, and you can do that by shopping around for something similar. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something you like better.

By asking yourself these five questions, you can easily find your next used car that is right for your lifestyle.