Car Buying Rules of the Financially Savvy

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Car Buying Rules of the Financially Savvy

This post is sponsored by Capital One. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How does the average person describe their car-buying experience?



Downright confusing.

According to a recent car buying survey from Capital One®, only 20% of respondents are confident in the car-buying process. Furthermore, only 6% of respondents think the car buying process is completely transparent, with 20% saying it’s actually not at all.

I believe that in all circumstances our attitude towards the process will determine our success with the process. My stance with anything personal finance related is that unless we take personal responsibility, we’ll never be empowered to get the best outcome of any transaction.

So, what are those 20% doing that the rest of us aren’t? Probably following the principles I’ve learned over and over again from personal mentors, or using Auto Navigator® by Capital One.  

The car-buying process can be intimidating, but Auto Navigator provides a confidence-building car shopping experience by helping you find and finance a car easily.

No matter where you’re starting out, follow these tips and master the car buying process with ease and grace with Auto Navigator.

Rule #1: Be Realistic

The 80% tend to fall in love with a car before doing a background check on that beauty and really taking into consideration everything that comes with her. After all, financing a car is not just about the car payment. Whether you choose to buy a new or pre-owned vehicle, you should know that there are other out-of-pocket expenses that must be factored into that “Auto” line item on your budget. Above and beyond a monthly payment, there’s gas, insurance, maintenance, registration and possibly even garage expenses based on how your housing is set up.

Auto Navigator allows you to see your estimated  APR and monthly payment on each car once you pre-qualify, which will help you better understand what is feasible for your budget so you’re not going into the process blind.

Financially savvy people empower themselves to make the best decisions based on factoring in real numbers rooted in research and not make-believe numbers rooted in fairytales. You don’t have to be a finance whiz to start running best and worst-case scenarios by testing out factors such as asking price, down payment amounts, term lengths and more. With Auto Navigator, you can build your offer to see how these items impact your APR and monthly payment.

Rule #2: Read the Reviews

There’s a phrase I heard often growing up that you may even find yourself using from time to time: “Hindsight is 20/20.” This is a saying which means that it’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it’s hard to predict the future.

Those unprepared for the car-buying process tend to make this popular phrase a go-to reference for when they end up with a car that is not as reliable or much more expensive than they bargained for. Know for certain that you have done your due diligence and made a purchase you can be confident about so that you don’t have to waste time later.

Capital One’s Auto Learning Center is a great place to educate yourself on the latest research and findings so you have the information you need to make an informed car-buying decision. Plus, Auto Navigator provides access to dealer ratings, car reviews, and car history reports – all in one place.

Rule #3: Remember that Time is Money

You’ll spend the bulk of your time at the dealership in the finance department. In fact, 84% of survey respondents reported that working with finance on paperwork and pricing are the most time-consuming elements at a dealership. If time is money, why not use a tool like Auto Navigator to save you valuable time?

My absolute favorite feature of Auto Navigator is the time it gives back to us as consumers during the initial research phase. The fact that you can pre-qualify for financing with no impact to your credit score is powerful to say the least. Being able to search an inventory of over 3 million cars at more than 12,000 participating dealerships nationwide and knowing your estimated APR and monthly payments  is icing on the cake.

Imagine finding the exact car you want from the comfort of your own home or office, printing your own offer summary or pre-qualification letter with a click of a button and walking on a car lot ready to go!

Car buying should be simple. It’s a regular part of life, but it shouldn’t be perceived as one of the most stressful parts of life. If you want to empower yourself to become a confident car buyer in the marketplace, make a choice to be realistic with yourself, diligent in your research and respectful of your own time. It’s time that we make this process about having the tools to make a decision quickly and get back to doing the things we love.

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