The summer season brings back great memories of earlier days when I was young and carefree… and fond memories of my 1st car. It was a bright orange, 1971 Ford Mustang. All those summer nights cruising down Main Street… Boy I loved that car!! I knew the moment I saw it I had to have it! All I needed was $750.00!
I was working, washing dishes at the local convent (and not making very much), but I was determined to own that car! I went to my local bank and asked for a $1,000.00 loan. This, my friends was very scary!! I was extremely intimidated by the man in a suit behind the desk asking me financial questions! I don’t remember a lot about the actual loan as far as terms or interest rate. But I do remember how nerve-racking the process was… keep in mind I was 17 years old at the time!
As a financial service representative, I see many people come into my office in that same situation. So, if you don’t have a chunk of money saved and are looking to purchase a car, here are some tips from someone who has been on both sides of the desk!
- Be prepared! It’s important to know what your limitations are. If you’re too young you may need a co-signer, and that is not something to take lightly. You are asking a person to be responsible for your money matters. If for some reason you are unable to make the payments, that person will be held responsible. So make your decisions wisely, if grandma is on a fixed budget and something happens that you can’t make the payments, poor grandma will be stuck with the bill.
- Make sure you can afford what you are asking for. Some banks are happy to do a payment calculation for you before you even apply. There are also payment calculators on the web you can use. I found one on the Kelly Blue Book site. Once you know the approximate payment amount you will need to figure out your total monthly bills and make sure you can afford the new additional monthly payments. This is important for building your credit and keeping yourself in check.
- Call your local treasurer’s office and ask how much the tags and taxes are before you buy. Some counties even have a tax estimator on their website for your convenience.
- Call your insurance company and ask them to give you a quote on insurance rates before you buy. This will help you determine if you can afford that new car or not.
None of this will guarantee you for approval, but by doing your homework you are preparing yourself for success. And hopefully you will get the keys to a summer full of wonderful memories!