Financing Your Vehicle

Budgeting For Your New Car

You want a car, but how much can you really afford? The only way to know is to figure out a monthly budget.

 

Do the math.

Start with knowing your regular monthly take-home income.

Next, list all of your monthly expenses: rent, food, utilities, student loans, cell phone and entertainment (like that daily cappuccino!). Be as thorough as possible and most importantly, budget for savings, too.

Add up all those expenses and subtract the total from your monthly take-home income. If you have accurately accounted for all expenses, the balance is about what you can spend per month on a car. Keep in mind though, besides the loan or lease payment there are other expenses associated with owning a car.  A car budget must also cover:

  • Gas
  • Car insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Parking
  • Annual fees (for example license, registration)

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Sample Budget

MONTHLY TAKE-HOME INCOME        

                ________________

MONTHLY EXPENSES

______________  

Rent/Mortgage

______________  

Utilities

______________  

Food/Clothing

______________  

Loans(e.g. student)

______________  

Cell phone

______________  

Credit Cards

______________  

Entertainment

______________  

Savings

______________  

TOTAL EXPENSES

                               minus (________________)
  ______________  

CAR COSTS         

______________  

             GAS

______________  

             CAR INSURANCE

______________  

             MAINTENANCE/REPAIRS

______________  

             Parking/Annual Fees

______________  
     

TOTAL CAR COSTS     

                               minus (_________________)
     

TOTAL MAXIMUM CAR BUDGET     

                __________________

Okay, now that you know what you can afford, also remember to look at the total cost of the vehicle including financing.  Time for the fun stuff - car shopping!

Other Topics:

Credit Basics

Dealership Experience

After You sign

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