NOT DOING THE RESEARCH
Research is an important part of any major purchase. You wouldn’t buy a house without researching the area, would you?
People even shop around for the best price on everyday items including clothes and computer games. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your car?
Unless you’ve got plenty of spare cash to buy a car for the sake of buying a car – rather than it being a necessity – research is your most important step. Don’t settle for a car based on looks. Research what car best suits your budget, and what features you can get to suit your lifestyle.
MUST-HAVES VERSUS NICE-TO-HAVES
We’re all guilty of spending money on something because we think it’s a good deal, or because it looks pretty, only for it to never see the light of day. When it comes to buying a car, those ‘nice-to-haves’ can add up and quickly blow the budget.
Before you start shopping, write down a list of things you absolutely need – two extra seats, satellite navigation, dual climate control, automatic braking.
Then write another list of things that are considered ‘nice-to-haves’. From this list you can establish which manufacturer offers the best price for the most appropriate add-ons and whether these non-compulsory extras are affordable.
TEST DRIVE QUICKIES
Driving around the block isn’t enough to get a real feel for a car. Ask to borrow the car from a dealer for as long as you can and drive it in varying conditions; take it on a highway and listen out for things that might annoy you.
You wouldn’t buy a house without giving it a good looking over, would you?
FALLING FOR THE FEATURES
Going back to the house analogy – I’ve recently started looking for a new rental place. My non-negotiable list started out with two bathrooms, lots of natural light and plenty of space within the constraints of my budget.
But the more inspections I go to, the more my list grows – now I want all of the above, but throw in a decent kitchen, an extra room or study, a bath, and outdoor space. The more you look the more certain things become necessities.
But unless you’ve got an endless supply of money, don’t fall for this trick. Your budget will blow way out, or you’ll find yourself settling in areas that were once important.
RUSHING THE PURCHASE
The more you rush into buying a car, the more likely you are to make a mistake. Who else remembers that expensive pair of jeans purchased out of desperation, only to realise they gape at the back, ride up the front and force you to walk like R2-D2 from Star Wars?
BREAKING THE BUDGET
Set a budget and don’t get fooled by shiny features. There’s nothing stopping you from setting a budget range: the ‘ideal budget’ and the ‘max budget’. And whatever you do, don’t exceed the max budget!
When buying a car, it’s easy to get persuaded into getting various features and technologies that sound cool but might send your car spiralling out of control. Trust us, once the new-car smell wears off, you’ll still be stuck with those monthly repayments.
FINANCING AND INSURANCE
When it comes to financing, shop around and see what’s out there and what other institutions offer before you settle. You do the same for every other type of loan, so your car loan should be no different. Convenience isn’t always the best.
The same goes for insurance. It all comes back to point one – research, research, research!
SETTLE FOR THE EXTRAS
Most of the profit for dealers comes from the optional extras, so you can be sure they’ll try to push them on you.
While we think there are many extras out there that are worthwhile, don’t settle for what you’re told you need – if you’re going to fork out for something extra, make sure it’s an accessory you’re going to use.
There’s no point paying for a car that can drive itself if you’re never prepared to give up the controls.