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Auto Loan Basics  Chapter 1: Getting started
Before you go car shopping, do your homework. Know what you want and how you plan to pay for it.
 
   
Getting started

Getting started: Introduction
 

A car is one of the "big" purchases you will make. Before you get your heart set on a specific model, you need to know what you can afford.

Often when people go shopping for a car, they begin by looking at dealer or manufacturer Web sites to see what type they'd like to buy. Before that step, though, shoppers should figure out what their needs are, how much they can afford to spend, and decide whether they should buy or lease or choose a used car instead of a new one. This chapter will help you make those decisions.

What can you expect to learn from this chapter:
Begin with a budget
  If you don't have a family budget, you should create one to see how much you can spend on a car. Here's how.
Check your credit first
  By checking your credit score months before you buy, you can be sure you'll get the best interest rate on a loan.
Buying new vs. used
  The pros and cons of a new car versus a used car are outlined here. Which one is right for you?
Buying vs. leasing
  Here are five questions to ask yourself when trying to decide whether you should buy or lease that new car.
How much can you afford
  Experts say you should spend only 20 percent of your monthly budget on automobiles. Our calculator can help you determine how much you can afford.
Finding the best car for you
  Consider your lifestyle and the needs of your family before you choose a car. Here are 12 questions to help you make the right choice.
Chapter 1 quiz
  Three questions to test what you learned in this section.
Begin >>  

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