Buying a car can be expensive. For many, it’s one of the biggest purchases of our lives, coming only second to real estate. You might have been saving up for a few years. Or, like over 90% of motorists, you opt for car financing to cover the expense, so you don’t have to.
But with the rising cost of living on most people’s minds, how can you make your next car purchase affordable?
Here we look at some simple ways to keep costs down low without having to compromise too much on the motor you have your eye on:
Look at your budget
Spending above your means will instantly have negative consequences on your bank balance. So before you go storming down to your local dealership or private seller, you need to see how much you can reasonably afford.
First off, figure out what you are spending money on:
- Utilities and phone bill
- Travel expenses, including fuel
- Motor and other insurances and tax
- Servicing and repairs on your current vehicle
- Other expenses
Once you’ve broken all that down, work out how much you are spending on your current vehicle overall. Then, you’ll know roughly how much you should be able to afford at the forecourt.
If there are things you can cut down on, such as eating out and added extras, work out how much that leaves you at the end of the month.
Figured out your budget? Now, stick to it!
Do your homework
The internet is the best resource you have when it comes to finding out about the best motors on the market – new and old. You can compare models, trims, engine sizes, and more, so you know how much you should the car you want should cost.
Reading professional and customer reviews is also an excellent place to start. You can build up an impression of how the car handles on the road, its fuel economy, and whether it’s worth the asking price.
Consider car finance
Car finance is the most popular way to purchase a vehicle in the UK. It allows you to have more choice, flexibility, and accessibility to the latest technology and safety features than cash alone can get you.
But more than that, car finance makes buying a motor more affordable. Low, fixed monthly installments mean you know exactly how much you are expected to pay in advance of your agreement – so naturally, it allows you to budget more easily.
While having a good or excellent credit history pretty much guarantees you a yes from the lender straight away, people with a poor or bad credit history aren’t written off. Poor credit car finance is available from specialist lenders who are passionate about getting everyone behind the wheel.
If you get approved for a car loan, regardless of your circumstance, as long as you make your payments on time, you will instantly build up your credit rating. This, in turn, makes you more “creditworthy” for future purchases and gives you more comparable deals as a result.
Fossil power vs. electric
You can’t escape the soaring success of modern electric vehicles (EVs). Fueled by the UK’s government to become net-zero emissions by 2050, the race is on for the industry to meet the 2030 new diesel and petrol ban deadline.
During the next decade, you can expect even more EV choices ranging from affordable to high-end prices. You’ll get longer-lasting, more durable batteries, more rapid charge, and home charge facilities, and much more. You see, the infrastructure is already changing to cope with the increasing demand.
But what does this mean for diesel and petrol vehicles?
If you have driven through London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or Birmingham, Bristol, or Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ), you’ll have noticed the heavy signage on show.
Currently, motorists driving through these areas can face a daily penalty of £8-£12.50 if their vehicle doesn’t meet the strict emissions in force. So for now, if you’re driving a Euro 5 petrol or Euro 6 diesel, you pass. But anything older than 2005 will likely get billed for the privilege.
The many perks of EVs
EVs are better for the environment. Pure electric cars produce zero tailpipe emissions, are cheaper to “fuel” than their traditional counterparts, and use regenerative braking to make the power go further.
You’ll also discover that many charging points are free to use. So next time you park up to do your weekly shop, hop on the train or visit everyone’s favourite Swedish flatpack store – dock up and charge up!
Manufacturers are more focused on developing cutting-edge EV technology than ever before. And pretty much everyone in the industry is on board – whether they like it or not! From Aldi to Volkswagen, every brand now offers pure electrics to hybrids.
To encourage drivers to make the switch, a Plug-in Grant of up to £1,500 is available, which can be used to bring the dealership price down on the spot. While you can’t use this towards premium brands such as Tesla, there are plenty of cars to choose from. Check out the government’s long list of vehicles to see if any hit the mark for you.
Bonus extras and perks
If you opt for car finance, you can expect a whole series of extras to be included with your purchase, such as:
- Manufacturer’s warranty (between 3-5 years, sometimes 7 years cover)
- Servicing and repairs
- Simple trade-ins when you’re done with your vehicle
- Tyre, key, window protection, and more (may cost extra)
- Discounts on insurance, road tax, and more
Make sure you read your contract’s fine print before signing on the dotted line. And ask your dealer to be clear with what is included with your purchase. Feel free to be cheeky–it might get you a bonus prize.
Are you ready to find your next car? With our handy tips up your sleeve, you’re guaranteed to discover the bargain you’re looking for without breaking the bank!
Alex Thomas is the co-founder and Managing Director of Breakline – a reputable digital marketing agency. His work has been featured in E27, Hackernoon, ReadWrite, Relevance, B2C, and more.
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