Written by Alina Murcar, Marketing Coordinator
I don't know about you guys, but sometimes when I'm walking to my car and I see its sparkly blue color shining in the sun I think, "Dang...who's car is that? It sure is a pretty ride". I financed my used Subaru, Impreza in 2016 and continuously admire it to this day - almost two years later! Sure, it's just a car, but there's a sense of pride I get when I pull up to a meeting, performance, or event in my beautiful blue Suby (pronounced soo-bee). I made a sensible AND exciting decision when buying my car because it's pretty (a must, obviously) and I financed it for the actual amount that it was worth (with a sweet rate from Spokane Federal Credit Union, if I might add as well!).
I can't tell you how many people I know that are my age who simply just don't know where to start when it comes to buying a used or new car (but let's face it, none of us can afford a new car yet). Your situation might look different than mine, but I wanted to break it down for you in simple steps based on what worked for me in my personal experience.
- Figure out your budget. Be realistic about what you can actually afford every month. There are super awesome calculators you can use to figure out your monthly payments to make the process even easier. Once you decide, make sure you look for cars that do not exceed this price limit and be FIRM on your price (don't let people persuade you otherwise).
- Make a list of "needs" and "wants" that you are looking for in a car. One of my "needs" in a car was for it to be all-wheel drive because well...Spokane winters...enough said. I "wanted" an SUV size car, but my budget didn't allow me to go there this time around, and that's okay!
- Do your research. Find cars that fit your needs and are in your budget. This process can be done online or at various dealerships. You can use The Lot as a FREE online resource to compare and contrast cars, list your needs/wants and even see what local dealerships have in stock. You can also visit local dealerships/look on Craigslist. If you do that, make sure you look up its value by using the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number) in NADA or Kelly Blue Book (KBB) to make sure the dealer or third party provider (aka if you are buying it from a person on Craigslist) isn't swindling you.
- Figure out your financing. Alright, alright, alright, I'm biased. Credit unions ROCK...so you should get PRE-APPROVED at your local (Spokane Federal) credit union before you go to the dealership. BOOM. Do it in that order. You can either call, apply online, or go in for the pre-approval process.
- Once you've been pre-approved at your local (Spokane Federal) credit union, GO BUY YOUR CAR BABY! The dealership will most likely make you sit through like two hours worth of sales pitches, but like I said, be FIRM about your price and don't get those silly bells and whistles that you don't need, nor can afford. Read absolutely everything that's put in front of you before you sign it.
- Admire and enjoy your sweet ride for years to come! That's the easy part.
Here's a picture of me and my beautiful blue fresh off the dealership lot! Still just as happy as I was that day about it.