1CAR LOANS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL
There are no special loans, deals, or financing options for cars
offered by the VA. But many lenders and credit unions have
people who specialize in car loans for military personnel. If you're
buying a car on finance, your best option is to use one of them.
But be sure they're credible and respectable. Service members
are often targets of predatory lenders so research your options
2IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO PURCHASE A VEHICLE OUTRIGHT, DO IT
Even with the best possible loan and lowest interest rate, your
car will cost thousands of dollars more paid overtime than if
you'd bought it in one swoop. If you can’t afford this option, then
try and make the biggest down payment you can. A bigger
down payment means fewer future payments, less interest
accrual, and less money out of pocket overall.
3KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
Review your budget, consider what plans you may have for the
future, and talk things over with your family. At what price do
the monthly payments keep you from buying other things you
want or need? Is there an event or item down the line you may
have to pay for that you should be saving for (home ownership,
college tuition, travel, etc)? Don't just consider what your
current financial situation is, think ahead.
4INCLUDE THE COST OF INSURANCE IN YOUR PLANNING
You can't have a car without it so don't forget the additional
recurring cost when budgeting.
5MONITOR YOUR TOTAL VEHICLE COSTS
A good rule of thumb to go by is not allowing your total vehicle
costs per month to go above 20% of your income. And that
includes gas, repairs, cleaning, etc.
6COMPARE PRICES FOR CARS AND INSURANCE
The internet is chock full of good advice and solid info in this
regard with plenty of trustworthy sites out there. If you’re trading
in a car when buying a new one, check your current car’s value as
well so you get a good trade-in price for it.
7AVOID GETTING OVERCHARGED
The easiest way to avoid getting overcharged is to know your stuff
before you head into the dealership. Know every last detail not
just about the vehicle you want, but your own financial situation,
credit score, and financing options. Do your research, talk to
friends and coworkers about their car buying experiences, and
speak to your base or unit’s financial advisor if available. If you
walk into the dealership prepared and informed, you’re bound to
get the best bang for your buck.