Tips for Buying a Car

* This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

For years, I believed that having a car in this country is only a display of social status. But for the past few years, our public transportation system has become so unstable. My apologies for using the term, but it has also become so inefficient. I spent almost my entire life without a car because our family never felt the need for it. I went to school and spent the first seven years of my corporate life patronizing our country’s public transportation. But in 2012, I got a job offer wherein my usual 4-km route from home to the office turned into 8 kilometers. And since my new office was situated in a “developing” city, the means of transportation were very limited. My husband’s job also requires him to go to client visits almost every day. That was why we decided to buy a car.

Our first car was a second-hand 1996 Honda Civic. It served us really well for four long years before we decided to buy a brand new car. If you have all the money in the world and you have the power to buy a car in a snap of your fingers, then good for you. But it wasn’t the case for us. It took us months of careful planning and researching before we actually made the big purchase. So in case you are planning to buy a car and you’re like me who needs to save every single centavo from your meager salary (haha), here are some tips which will hopefully help you.

honda cars
Okay, sorry for the grainy photo! We were saving for a car so we no longer had the budget for a high-end phone! Hahahaha! :p

1. Decide what will be the primary purpose of your car.

We initially got a second-hand sedan because we just needed something for city driving. We were still childless at that time, so we literally just needed a car to get us from point A to point B. When we had our baby four years later, we realized that we needed something bigger so we got a seven-seater car. We needed something more spacious for a car seat and a stroller. And I’m pretty sure that other parents can relate to the fact that you need to bring the entire house when you go on an out-of-town trip with a baby in tow!

2. Set a budget and stick to it.

Back in 2012 when we bought a second-hand car, my husband and I had been married for more than a year. We were still “recovering” from paying for our wedding, and we started with the staggered down payment of our house. If we had more money at that time, getting a brand new car would be a no-brainer. But we had to stick to our budget. The down payment for our house was already exhausting our monthly income, and we didn’t want to touch our emergency fund. If we opted to get a brand new car at that time, I’m pretty sure that the monthly amortization would have put a very large dent in our finances. Four years later, we started paying for the monthly amortization of our house. The amount was smaller compared to what we were paying in 2012. That gave us some breathing room in setting up for a budget for a new car.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of car-shopping. There will always be the “better” car, but always remember that there will always be THE CAR that will definitely suit your needs and your budget.

3. Set your “non-negotiables”, but have some room for flexibility.

We were initially eyeing a different model when we were looking for a car. Unfortunately, it was way beyond the budget we set. It helped that we set our “non-negotiables”. So what were these? We simply needed a seven-seater, fuel-efficient car that will fit our budget. Aesthetics was just secondary for us. We were aiming for a silver car, but we ended up with a white one. We were fine with it. We still got a seven-seater, fuel-efficient car that definitely fit our budget. *wink wink*

4. Talk to a mechanic and car enthusiasts.

Four years ago, my husband had zero knowledge in cars. When we started talking about buying a car, we were so clueless! We had no idea what a good deal was when it comes to buying a second-hand car! That signaled us to talk to a mechanic and a few other people who are knowledgeable with cars. Believe me when I say that car enthusiasts are always more than willing to extend a helping hand. Their eyes always light up when the topic of cars come up! :)

5. Research, research, research!

The Internet is a vast ocean of information! There are various sites like that offer price listings and reviews that will definitely aid you in car-hunting. I remember my husband and I would spend a couple of hours every weekend just looking at different models of cars and reading through reviews of car owners. Doing careful and thorough research will help you get different perspectives.

Like what I mentioned earlier, we were so keen in buying a specific car model. But after months of researching, we learned that the car we now have was the perfect fit for us. We even found out by rummaging through different sites that the branch where we bought our car is one of the top in the city in terms of customer service! We even scored bigger discounts compared with the other branches. And once again, we learned it through research!

So there! I do hope that the above tips will help you in getting the perfect car for you! Best of luck! :)

Car owners, care to share other tips? :)

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