Last Update on February 5, 2016 // Written by Hank
It doesn’t really seem like there is a simple, stress-free way to buy a car. There are so many questions that pop into your mind during the process, and along with those questions sit a host of nagging thoughts that permeate the back of your mind.
“Don’t spend money on a car that will depreciate half of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot.” “Cars are depreciating assets.” “Cars are a liability.” Vehicles are a money pit.”
These thoughts are essentially correct thoughts to have, but it’s rather impossible for you to live without a car, nor would you want to. It’s doable if you live in a city with miles and miles of public transportation, even still, the chances that you as an individual need a car are definitely high.
It’s can be a very complicated matter, but before you get confused and upset, let’s go over the questions you need to ask yourself before even starting the quest to find the right family vehicle. Once you answer these questions, you’ll be a little more at ease in your search.
How Much is Too Much to Spend on a Vehicle?
This question will be answered differently for everyone. It all depends on your age, your income, how badly you need a car, how much you drive, and how much you love to drive. For the individual who could really care less about cars, but needs one to get around, it’s quoted that 10 percent of your annual income is the maximum amount of money you should put towards a vehicle.
For people willing to spend a little bit more in exchange for safety and reliability, the number is about 20 percent of your annual income. This is the category most people will fit into. For the individuals who go crazy over cars, spend most of their time driving, and want all the luxury details they can get, they might spend 50 percent of their annual income on a vehicle.
In order for you to decide which category you fit into, you need to answer the questions ‘What can I afford?’, ‘How much do I drive?’, What do I really need?’ It’s ultimately up to you to decide how much you spend, but remember, life is full of other expenses, so think long and smart on this one.
What Are Your Practical Needs?
The question shouldn’t really be ‘How much can we get away with spending?’, it should be ‘How much can we get away with NOT spending?’. If you’re a family unit, chances are you’re putting a majority of your money into other assets already.
When selecting a family car, list out the practicals like ‘How many seats do we need for our growing family?’ and ‘What safety features do we need?’ Few questions beyond these besides budget and whether to buy new or used are even things that should be considered when buying a family car.