The Finances of Shopping for a Car

Buying a car is usually a difficult experience. From haggling on price, to making sure that it’s not a lemon, there are so many different factors to consider. But then, once all the basics are covered, you have to figure out the finances of it. Are you going to buy or lease? If you buy, are you going to pay cash or look for car loans? Then what about after you own it? There are so many factors to consider, so here is a breakdown to give you some food for thought.

Buy or Lease?

The first question is should you buy or lease the car? Buying is usually the better option, especially if you are going to own the car for a long period of time (5 years or more). Leasing can sometimes be a good option if you don’t plan on keeping the car, but you need to be careful about fees, such as excess mileage. These fees can unexpectedly make leasing a much worse deal than buying.

If you buy you have to decide if you are going to pay cash or get a car loan. Most people do get a car loan, but you should really think about the cost of getting one. Many dealers try to sell you loans based on monthly payments, but what they don’t tell you is that the loan period could be for 5 years or longer, and you could end up paying a lot more interest than you intended. Make sure you read and fully understand any financing you get for your vehicle.


The next thing to consider is insurance. If you get a car loan, or have a lease, you will most likely be required to maintain a basic level of insurance. Also, in most states, you are required to maintain a basic level of insurance as well.

When getting insurance, you have a few basic options, including basic liability, collision, and comprehensive. You should take into consideration the value of the car whenever you are looking at insurance, and don’t over-insure your vehicle.

Also, if you have a loan or a lease, you may want to consider gap insurance, which can cover any difference in cost between the value of your car and what you owe on your loan or lease, should the car become totaled in an accident.

Maintenance Plans

Finally, every car dealer tries to sell some type of maintenance or care plan with each car they sell. These plans are usually not worth what you pay up front, but they can provide peace of mind.

These plans usually offer maintenance or repairs. The maintenance plans will cover basic maintenance up to a certain mileage, such as oil changes and tire rotations. The repair plans will cover a myriad of repairs for covered parts up to a certain mileage or year as well. Just make sure that you read through the plans and see what is included before you assume anything.

1 thought on “The Finances of Shopping for a Car

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