In Range and On the Road:  Finding a Car to Fit Your Budget is Easier Than You Think

Getting a new car is exciting, especially if you’re going to become an owner of one for the very first time. Just think of all the barriers this is going to do away with and the freedom you’ll be able to enjoy. However, rushing into the first opportunity that presents itself is a bit too rash. Instead, you should plan ahead, make the calculations prior to committing to the purchase, and stick to it no matter what. This will also help you avoid making impulse purchases that many people tend to regret later on.

Luckily, the formula for buying a car to fit your budget is really simple and boils down to the following components:

Get an Idea of what car would best suit your needs

Smaller cars, for example, are very practical for urban areas where it’s really hard to find a parking space. They’re also much easier to maneuver without having to worry about bumping into something. On the other hand, if you’re more of a tourist or an explorer and you often find yourself carrying a whole lot of luggage with you, getting something with larger proportions makes a whole lot of sense. The same is true if you have a huge family to drive around and support.

The next step is the fun part – by reading car magazines and paying attention to the cars you see on the road, you can let your imagination fly and imagine being the proud owner of a vehicle that has left an impression on you. There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming for a little bit, as long as you make sure to keep your expectations grounded.

Also, don’t limit yourself to a particular model; make your own personal top 10 list. On it, you should list a couple of cars that are out of your grasp and the ones that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, but come pretty close.

Set Priorities

Now that you’ve made your list of cars you’re interested in, it’s time to set some priorities that will help you narrow it down a little bit. Of course, you should remain open to the unexpected opportunities should they present themselves; the purpose of setting priorities is to understand your own needs better, based on which you’ll be able to make a rational buying decision.

The first question you need to answer is as follows: how highly do you weigh safety on the road compared to other considerations? The obvious answer is ‘pretty highly’, but be honest with yourself and be specific with direct comparisons. Do you believe it’s more important than affordable prices? Do you value it much higher than looks? There’s no need to impress anyone here, so being honest with yourself won’t be held against you.

Then, ask yourself the practical type of questions. Do you need a lot of room in your car? How big of a trunk do you require? Do you often find yourself loading and unloading a lot of luggage or gear? If this is the case, only having a set of doors in the front end (and none in the back end) could severely limit your comfort and enjoyment.

The main objective is to set things straight and clearly determine the things you absolutely cannot live without. If you’re concerned about not losing too much value on your purchase over the course of time, consider buying a used car and not an entirely new one. Generally speaking, used vehicles don’t lose their value over time nearly as quickly as new ones.

Compare Prices Online

Once you’ve shortened the list to the final candidates, go online and find the best deal possible. The traditional way of doing this is opening a search engine of your choice, going through all the merchant websites you can come across, then eventually finding the seller that you like.

But what if there was a better way to do it? You might be surprised, but there’s something even more efficient than traditional search engines: comparison shopping websites. These are specialized search engines designed to help you locate the best deals online, and they are always up to date and contain all the details you need to know about discounts, bonuses, insurance deals, and more.

Better yet, by using them, you can freely sort the results depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re simply looking for the most affordable deal, you can have the algorithms sort out the deals for you in a matter of seconds. If you’re searching for the most popular merchant, getting the answers only takes pressing a couple of buttons.

New or Used?

If you’re on a shoe-string budget, limiting your search to used cars is probably the best course of action. New cars are equipped with the latest technological gadgets, but even so, do you really need them? Sure, a built-in navigation always comes in handy. The parking assistant makes it easier to park your vehicle in tight spaces without having to fear scratching it. But at the end of the day, you can probably live without it just fine.

Now, when it comes to used cars, you should always proceed with caution. Ideally, you should aim to buy from someone who’s trustworthy. Otherwise, you run the risk of people trying to sell you a vehicle that hasn’t been serviced frequently enough, or – worse yet – a vehicle that has been involved in an accident.

All in all, being too picky when buying a used vehicle is never a good idea, because you’re always working with what’s available on the market. However, you should always stick to the principles and priorities outlined above. In other words, making compromises is fine, as long as you don’t go against one of your key principles.


In the end, finding a car to fit your budget is really not that hard, as long as you accept that making a smart decision will require some hard work and patience on your part. As long as you remain focused and keep your emotions under control in order to not buy something in a spur of the moment, you should be fine.