Before getting any type of loan, especially a car loan, it’s important to figure out how much your monthly payments are going to be. This makes it way easier to budget your money and figure how much you can afford. By doing this first, it makes it easier to make the right purchasing choice! That’s why we have this handy Car Payment Calculator.
How to use the Car Payment Calculator
This Car Payment Calculator gives you a rough estimate of how much your monthly car payments would be. When you shop for and compare loan offers, you can use this calculator to make the best decision.
Here is what you enter in the calculator:
- Vehicle Price: Here you enter how much you’re wanting to pay for your car. This amount is after your negotiated price
- Down Payment: This is how much cash you’ll be putting down towards the car. If you’re trading in your old car, add that here too.
- Interest Rate: This is how much interest you’ll be paying for your car loan. Your interest rate is determined by your credit score
- Number of months: Enter how long you’re going to take to pay off your car loan
- Credit Score: This will automatically estimate how much your interest rate would be for this car loan
Once you enter your values, the calculator will automatically show you the results. Easy as that!
Get Pre-Qualified to avoid overpaying
Here is something pretty important to remember. When you’re car shopping, it’s easy to get distracted, excited, and overpay for your car! I have to admit, those salespeople are super good at their job. Don’t underestimate them. Instead, make sure you go there prepared. Here’s how.
Getting pre-qualified first before going car shopping gives you a hard limit on how much you can spend on a car. If you show up to a dealership with a pre-qualified loan for $15,000, you can only spend $15,000 period. Showing up at a dealership without being pre-qualified makes it so much harder to figure out your limits. At that point, the sky is the limit, and that’s a bad bad move!
To get the best rate when shopping for a car loan, I always recommend people check out there Credit Unions. Credit Unions typically have the greatest rate out there when it comes to car loans and are way more flexible.
Things to consider when getting a new car
Buying a car is one of the biggest expenses next to buying a house. So before making such a large payment on something, it’s important to take certain things into consideration.
1. Shipping costs
Depending on where you are located, there may be shipping costs involved. If the new car you want is near you, then it’s easy to just go buy and drive it home. However, if you are like me and like to find the best deals out there, then a cheaper car might be further away.
When I bought my second car, it was 5 hours away from where I lived. I elected to drive one way with a rental car and drive back with my new car. You might not have that luxury and instead, opt to ship your new car instead. So take into account any shipping costs that may be involved in your new purchase.
2. Buying new or used
I’ll just cut right to the chase! Never buy a brand new car! I repeat, never buy a brand new car!
The thing is, car salespeople almost always try to convince you to buy a new car. They tell you all the bells and whistles it comes with, the wonderful warranty, and that new cars always break down less often. Don’t believe the hype, resist the urge!
I can tell you now, that could be no further from the truth. A used car, even just three years old, can be just as good as a brand new car. The biggest reason to buy used is that you don’t have to bear the brunt depreciation. New cars lose value like a rock, and that’s money down the drain. I wrote an extensive article about that here.
There are so many things people say to justify getting a new car, but it is 100% better to get a used car. A 3-year-old car is just as good as a brand new car, trust me on this!
3. Keeping your old car instead of getting a new car
Just for a second, take the time to consider your exact motivation for getting a new car. Are you getting a new car because your old car is irreparable? Or maybe you are just bored with your old car and want something new and shiny?
If getting a new car just means a status symbol or to look cool for your friends, then its time to take a second and consider your motivation. You might be making an expensive purchase for no legitimate reason.
If your old car is working just fine, needs minor repairs, or maybe has a bit of cosmetic damage, then you might consider holding off getting a new car. Unless you are financially sound enough to justify getting a new car, you almost always should rather keep your old one.
If your existing car runs and drives fine, is paid for, and you just want a new car for the sake of it, then getting a new car it’s something you should really try to avoid doing. Investing your money and saving it are much better uses of your hard-earned money. Just food for thought.
4. Trade in or keep the car
Here’s the thing with trading in a car. I will never recommend anybody trade in a car. You will almost always make more money back if you sold the car yourself. You can use platforms like Facebook marketplace or Craigslist to do it yourself. It’s really easy to do.
When you take your existing car to a dealership, they will always offer you less than what the car is actually worth. They gotta make a profit somehow, right? You can use services like Kelley Blue Book to check and see how much your car is worth in the private market instead. So if you go to a dealership and trade-in your car, you will almost definitely lose money on the transaction.
If, however, you are facing a seriously expensive repair bill and the dealership offers you something decent, then you might consider doing a trade-in instead. These are also factors that need to be taken into careful consideration, so take your time.
Work on a budget
One last thing you definitely need to do is get a budget ready! By having a budget, you can make sure that you can keep up with these new car payments without falling behind on your debt. That my friends is what we call financial suicide. Tread carefully when it comes to debt.
Making a budget isn’t that hard. It might be time-consuming at first to keep track of your expenses, but it builds a good habit with long-lasting positive effects. Don’t worry, I have an article showing you how to get started budgeting.
So make sure you use this car payment calculator to work on your car-buying budget and figure out how much car you can afford. Have fun with it 🙂
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