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Did You Calculate the Costs?
Don't Forget the Obscure Expenses.

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Remember all the costs involved in purchasing a car. People can underestimate costs simply by forgetting a couple of major costs with one being car insurance. It's possible for car insurance to add 50% to the cost of that new sports car per month especially for young drivers in sports cars. That alone can put you over budget.

Sales tax is another cost to consider. Six percent sales tax added to a $20,000 car will raise the price by $1,200. You will also want to factor in delivery charges, title costs, license plates, and extended warrantees. A $20,000 car can quickly turn into a $22,500 car (not including monthly insurance costs).


Opt for a home equity loan instead of a regular car loan—it's tax deductible saving you more money.

If insurance costs are not acceptable, see if you can find a relatively comparable type vehicle that rates lower in insurance costs. Of course you will need to first consult your insurance agent ahead of time before settling on the car you want.

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Save money by purchasing 3rd party mechanical warrantees on the car, but still ask about what the price would be for the dealer offered warrantee. On some occasions, the dealer warrantee may actually be a better deal.

There are two items of consideration that are often over-looked in operating car expenses. First, there are the general maintenance items such as oil changes, tires, tune-ups, brakes and the like. The other item is the car's reliability record. Sure that Trans-Am is blazingly fast and perhaps cool looking, but they are notorious for taking trips to the repair shop for mechanical problems. Perhaps the smaller Subaru WRX would fit the bill better and not have nearly as many reliability problems. Plus you get 4 wheel drive which is a bonus for people living in areas that get snow each winter and get better overall traction on the take-off. These 2 items, though being latent costs, should not be over-looked.

Other guidelines for buying a car would be:

  • Try to keep the costs within the 10 to 15 percent of your total income.

  • Be prepared to pay more for insurance if you are use to insuring an older used car.

  • Find a car with a safer crash record. This will have an impact on insurance costs.

  • Ensure that you have more than one model in mind when purchasing a car. If a dealer for one model doesn't work with you, make a choice with another car and dealership unless you must have a particular car.

  • Inquire about possible rebates. Some auto makers will be offering them while others are not. A rebate on one particular car can be the determining factor on purchasing one car over another.

Other Resources
Federal Crash Test Reporting
Insurance rankings

Car Theft Rate Claims
Some reports will claim that one car has a higher theft rate than another car. This can be misleading if the wrong statistic is being highlighted. For instance, more Ford F-150's are stolen each year than are Toyota Tundras. But that doesn't mean an F-150 is more prone to be stolen. It's simply that there are more F-150's to steal. When considering that data, be sure to pay attention to percentages of thefts. That will give you a better idea of your risk factor of theft. However, you can help to minimize theft just by remembering to lock your doors.

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Car Buying 101 bl.textbox.rt.top.gif (112 bytes)
v Overview Checklist
v Did You Calculate the Costs?
v New or Pre-owned?
v How Much Should You Pay?
v Get the Best Car Price
v Closing the Car Purchase

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v Car Loan or Lease
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Debt Control 101 bl.textbox.rt.top.gif (112 bytes)
v Debt Management Overview
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