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How to Save for Your Next Car without Losing Your Sanity

Have you been thinking about purchasing a new or used vehicle, but are apprehensive about taking the leap due to personal finances? It's no secret that cars cost money, and you won't find anything safe or reliable without spending a couple thousand dollars up front. If the thought of tightening your purse strings makes you cringe, I've got good news for you- saving for a new car is easier than you think!

No one likes having to fork over their hard-earned money for major purchases, but the truth remains that it just isn't safe or practical to drive a vehicle that is older than your college degree (if you're my age, that is!). If you have a family, you definitely want to make sure that you are keeping them as safe as possible, and that just might mean letting go of an old clunker and upgrading to a newer, safer vehicle.

The First Step

You don't have to drive yourself batty over how to save for a new car. The first step is to make the decision that you're going to put money aside to save for the new car. Next, determine a realistic budget. Are you going to lease or buy? You might want to check with local dealerships to look into sales, leasing specials, etc., to help determine which option is best for you, financially.  Some people frown upon leasing, while others love it and swear by it. The choice will be up to you.

Set Your Budget

Once you have your budget figured out, figure out how much you need to save for a down payment. This will give you an attainable goal to work toward. Depending on your income, you might have to save for a longer period of time. It all comes down to how much 'extra' you're able to save or how much you're willing to sacrifice in order to put that money aside for the car.

Cut the Extras

Now it's time to sit down and make a list of monthly expenses. Start with your most important monthly payments- housing, utilities, insurance. From there, take a look at what you're spending each week on food, clothing, and any extras. Trim your grocery budget by switching grocery chains, trying store brands, or getting creative with your meals. Use leftovers to create new meals for your family. Have you ditched cable TV yet? Lots of people are doing this & paying for streaming services only, in an effort to save money. It's amazing what you don't miss when you don't have the option to watch it.

Eat at Home

This one might be the hardest of all to run with. Going out to eat offers incredible convenience. Eating at home is something that even my family struggles with- as some nights it's just easier to grab takeout or go out to eat. We do it far too often and I am sometimes astounded by the amount of money we essentially waste each month when we could be sticking to our grocery budget and eating at home.

Ditch Coffee Runs and Happy Hour

If you're used to grabbing a quick coffee on your way to work or in the afternoon for a pick-me-up, this is a good time to sever the relationship. Same goes for happy hour after work. If you want to meet a friend for drinks, invite them to your house and stock up on good, but inexpensive wine or beer from stores like ALDI or Trader Joes.

Make Do with What You Have

Another thing that will help you save is to be content with the things you have- at least for right now. Ask yourself if you have to have the newest handbag or shoes that just came out from your favorite designer. Does last season's swimsuit still fit? Just wear it for another season and you can get a new one next year. If your kids need new clothes, check reviews for local consignment shops. Many consignors bring in like new or brand new apparel with tags for resale, which you can snag for just a couple of bucks!

It Takes Discipline

You might not like all of the immediate changes at first, but you'll soon see just how easy it is to put money away for something you truly desire- like a new car, after you just take that first step and make the shift in priorities. If you need a little motivation to stay on track, just tape a print out of the car you want on the bathroom mirror, and glance at it when you walk past. It will be yours for keeps soon enough!

What are some of your favorite ways to save money for big purchases?

Brought to you by West Loop Mitsubishi

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