**This post is sponsored by Capital One Auto. As always, all opinions and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Somethin’ Southern running.
Happy Monday! I’m thrilled to be partnering with Capital One Auto Navigator to share a few pieces of car buying wisdom I’d love to give the younger me. (You know, if I was Marty McFly and had access to the Delorean…)
If you’re a first time car buyer or if you’re on the hunt for your dream car, these tips are for you! Be sure to read about my latest car buying adventure, here.
ONE // Establish a realistic budget. Going into my latest car buying adventure I had set a pretty large budget – about twice the amount I’d spent on my previous car. While it’s always ideal to pay cash for your car purchase, that wasn’t realistic for us since we had to purchase two vehicles in the same month. I knew I’d be financing part of the purchase. We started playing around with our budget, did some number crunching, and thought about our goals for the next few years. We realized that a more expensive car didn’t really fit in with those goals. I’d MUCH rather go on a fun vacation or save for a project around the house than to spend more money on a car payment each month. Once we came to a conclusion about what we wanted the payments to look like, we figured out a max budget for the total cost of the vehicle. The Capital One Auto Navigator helps you find out this information with the click of a button. You’ll quickly gain access to thousands of listings as well as the monthly payments and APR for each one. But the best thing about the Capital One Auto Navigator … you can take care of financing at the same time!
On the flip side of things – I’d definitely tell my younger self to set a higher car budget and do what was necessary to reach that goal so I could purchase a more reliable vehicle. It would have been worth the wait!
TWO // Do your research. Surprisingly, researching your new car options is the easy part these days. Capital One Auto Navigator simplifies the research process like nothing I’ve ever seen! It’s. So. Easy.
How does it work?
Step One: Pre-Qualify. You’ll find out almost immediately if you’re pre-qualified for auto financing.
Step Two: Get your numbers. This is the coolest part! You’ll have access to thousands of vehicles and you’ll be able to find out your monthly payment and APR for each one. This is such a big help when making the final decision!
Step Three: Adjust your financing. In this step you’ll be able to adjust your term length to see how that impacts your payments and APR.
Step Four: Go get your new ride! Now that you’ve done your research and know where you stand, it’s time to visit the dealership. With your pre-qualification and terms in hand, you can buy with confidence.
Dear first time self, use the Capital One Auto Navigator to browse cars online BEFORE spending days driving around car lots. You won’t regret it!
THREE // Ask around. One thing Pearce and I did this time around was to ask friends with vehicles we were interested in, how they liked them. This was SO helpful in making our final decisions. We learned the pros and cons and had a lot of helpful feedback to work with.
This would have been especially helpful the first time around because once I bought my new ride I had friend after friend tell me about issues they had with theirs. You live and you learn, right?!
FOUR // Check it out. If you’re buying a used car, of course you’ll want to take a test drive. But while you’re taking the car out for a spin, press every button, flip through radio stations, insert a CD, CHECK AND SEE THAT THERE’S AN OWNERS MANUAL (speaking from experience here!), roll down the windows, bust open that sunroof, and shift into every gear. Interrogate the dealer (they’re used to it!) and ask about what you’ve seen on the CarFax report (always check the CarFax report!). While you might not find anything that’s a deal breaker – finding issues with the car could help you when negotiating the total cost.
I’m thrilled to have found the Capital One Auto Navigator. The car shopping experience has changed so much since my first time around and I’m sure glad it has. The Auto Navigator Hooray for stress free car shopping! Can I get an amen?!
Learn more about the Capital One Auto Navigator, here!