Our Tip: First-Time Buyers Can Be Smart and Still Get What They Want

If you're shopping for your very first car--whether your own or with the help of a parent--it can feel pretty overwhelming. Navigating a sea of car options, price ranges, and types of car loans can seem like a lot, and you want to be sure you can get a car that you like, while making smart decisions and without getting in over your head.

We want to help, from start to finish. Our team has put together a brief overview of top tips for first-time car buyers, to help you more confidently tackle researching, shopping, test-driving, deciding how and what to finance, and more.

Read some top tips and be sure to reach out to us if you have questions or want to learn more about buying your first car.

Needs vs Wants: Practicality Pays Off

Nobody really likes being practical. It's not as fun to buy the generic brand instead of the name brand, or to get the vegetables instead of the French fries--but, it pays off in the long run. The same could be said for buying your first car. Making the practical choices now, instead of the fun choices, will give you a lot more flexibility going forward.

Will you need to be moving a lot of gear, hauling equipment, or carpooling with friends often? Maybe an SUV will be a better option than a sports car. Are you shopping on a budget? You probably don't need the leather seats, navigation system, and in-car WiFi just now. Balance what you want vs what you need--you may actually be surprised to see that you still can afford a pretty nice car, and you can always trade it in down the road for something better.

Budget Like A Pro: Buy in Your Range

This part of buying your first car starts with just asking yourself: "how much can I afford?" and being really honest about how much money you could put toward payments.

You may think "I have $300/month to spend on a car" and start shopping based on that monthly paying--but, consider car insurance (~$50 - $100/month), gas ($25 - $50+/month), and regular maintenance (~$150+ every six months or so), and your budget for the actual car payment is starting to look a lot different.

Make smart budget choices, and you can get a car that gets the job done without dragging you into dangerous debt levels.

Be Flexible: Test-Drive and Research

If you get to a final step of researching--the test-drive--and realize that that efficient commuter car, capable SUV, or versatile pickup actually isn't the right fit for you, it's ok to go back to the drawing board and start over. The most important parts of buying your first car are staying on budget and getting a vehicle that works for you.

If you just don't know where to start, feel free to contact the team at AutoCenters St. Charles. We've helped hundreds of drivers in the St. Louis area to buy, and love, their first vehicle.


Dan Jennings

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