When you start shopping for a new vehicle, don’t make the mistake of basing your buying plan and choices solely on sticker prices. With any large purchase, there are hidden expenses that could cost you thousands over time. You may not consider them in the moment, but recurring payments, extra fees, and maintenance costs will add up and make your initial purchase seem far less practical.
Before you get too deep into the car-buying process, check out this list of potential expenses and make sure that you choose a vehicle that still fits into your budget with all of them considered.
1. Financing Fees
When you apply for a car loan, you agree to make monthly payments for a set amount of time. The amount that you pay each month is determined by your down payment, your interest rate, and the length of your loan. If you aren’t mindful of the terms you accept, you could stick yourself with a monthly payment that’s higher than you can handle.
To minimize the amount you spend each month, you can offer a bigger down payment, extend the length of the loan, and look for a loan with a lower interest rate. If your goal is to make your monthly expenses a bit more manageable after your initial purchase, this is a great strategy. If your goal is to pay the car off as soon as possible, go for a shorter loan.
2. Taxes & Credits
Depending on where you purchase your car, you can pay different amounts in taxes. While the taxes you pay are usually dependent on where you live, some areas allow you to follow the tax laws for the city or county in which you’re making the purchase instead. However, you should be mindful of different tax laws for your area to avoid any mishaps or unexpected charges.
While hidden amounts are often at your expense, some of them actually save you money. For instance, if you purchase a vehicle with a hybrid or fully electric motor, you could be eligible for a sizable tax credit. This is a great example of how beneficial it is to make informed purchases and stay on top of your finances!
3. Insurance Premiums
While every driver knows that they need insurance, they may not realize how much it will cost to insure a new vehicle. If you’re moving from an older car to a brand new, tech-enhanced model, you may have to pay a higher insurance premium. There are many factors that determine your insurance rates, but new cars with all of the latest features can be particularly expensive to insure.
If you’re set on getting the best and newest car on the lot, you can compare insurance rates to find a plan that offers the best value. Just make sure that you don’t sacrifice coverage to cut corners on your monthly payments!
4. Fuel Expenses
You’ve definitely heard that certain vehicles go through gas more quickly than others, but when you’re talking yourself into your dream car you may not consider how much you’ll have to pay to fill it up. Between your vehicle’s fuel economy and the rising prices of gasoline, you could be looking at higher costs and more frequent fuelings than you can afford. To combat this, try to go for a more fuel-efficient model or keep those fluctuating fuel prices in mind when creating your budget.
5. Maintenance & Repair Costs
Finally, regular maintenance and repairs can be really costly for certain makes and models. Some manufacturers use specialized parts that are difficult and expensive to replace, potentially costing you thousands in item and service fees. Alternatively, some models may not wear well over time and need more maintenance than others. Either way, be mindful of your choice and the long-term expenses that it may entail if you run into problems years into owning the vehicle.
Hidden costs are part of any big purchase, but the car-buying process is notorious for breaking the bank. If you keep these tips in mind and watch out for opportunities to save money, you’ll be able to afford your perfect car with no trouble!