This past weekend I went home to my parent's house in order to begin my car buying experience. I mean, my mom is kind of an expert having been there for the test drives of my older siblings as well as for her own car. So I thought I would share my experience and some tips!
So my need to purchase a car comes from the fact that the car I currently drive is on loan from my parents. The car I currently drive was one my parent's purchased for the four kids could learn on, drive to high school, etc. I was actually the first of all the kids to even have a car at college (in-state school perks). It is a decent car, however, my little sister is craving a car for her Senior year at NC State and since I had the car since my junior year at Carolina it is time to return it to her. So, as with my older siblings, the one year after my college graduation deadline is coming up and it's time to be financially responsible for my own vehicle. SCARY!
Step one in this process was to work on a budget, both monthly payment and total of the car so I had a starting point in my research. With bills, student loans, food, etc. I know I have a very specific budget to keep for my car and insurance payments (goodbye shopping, hello car loan). I also talked to my bank and made sure that I was pre-approved to know where my financing would be.
After I began my budget it was on to step two, Research. I knew I wanted a four-door sedan with air conditioning, a radio and power windows. The rest: color, bluetooth, cruise control, etc. were all extra things. I would not compromise on a radio but I would color. I also began to check out what was in my budget parameters and their various safety scores. I plan on having this car for at least 7 years so safety and gas mileage are important. I also decided I wanted only a new car (a warrenty and no worries are a beautiful thing).I looked at places like Edmunds, Car&Driver, and KBB for information.
Step three was to make a list of all the possibilities before going out blindly into the world of test driving. My list looked like this:
Chevrolet Sonic or Cruze
Kia Rio or Forte
Ford Fiesta or Focus
Saturday morning, bright and early, my mom and I adventured into the land of test drives. I must say I thought it was hysterical that at two different dealerships they thought I was sixteen. I know that I was with my Mom and buying my first car but nope, not 16. Test driving included lots of note taking (thank goodness for my May Book) and telling various sales people that NO I would not be making my decision that day (I mean I had to sleep on my college decision between Carolina and U of Richmond, of course I would sleep on a car buying decision).
So the next step was to whittle my list down to two or three and then have my Dad look at the specs to make sure that everything looked ok with each of the cars. My final three were:
*Apparently I only like the foreign cars
All the cars got the approval of my Dad as safe and would be good first time cars that would stand the test of time. So the next thing was to compare prices and monthly payment to make sure I was comfortable. I have since made my decision.I only have to test drive the car one more time to make sure and then it is off to the bank. Here is to hopefully having a car by the end of the month!!!!
More to come soon! The rest of the weekend included hanging out with my parent's and Max the cat, a bit of shopping for work clothes, and eatings lots of great food.
What did your weekend entail?
Peace and Blessings,