Things to Consider When Buying a Car

things to consider when buying a car

Things to Consider
When Buying a Car


Back in 2019, my car was totaled by a deer (Surprisingly, the deer made it out just fine). From the moment I received the payout from my insurance and hitched a ride with my mom back to my apartment, I realized the game was afoot and it was time to buy a car. Yet, I had never bought a car before and quickly realized that there was a lot more to it than I had originally thought.

Through the journey of vehicle buying, I ended up buying the wrong car twice for different reasons. Finally, I found the one for me. Through this process, I distilled three things to consider when buying a car.

1.  Your (actual) Budget

What you’re going to find is that most car dealerships have no respect for your budget. They have very smooth ways of downplaying your financial situation and making you feel like you’re being an idiot for not taking a payment that’s “only $20 more per month.” The thing is, if you’re getting financing, the money you pay is more than just the “extra $20 per month.” Most loans have interest rates. If you finance more than you planned, then your budget hasn’t just been blown, but it’s been exponentially altered. 

The point is this: take control of your budget before you walk onto the car lot.

There is always room to negotiate. Word on the street is that dealerships mark vehicles up anywhere between 10-30%. Given the current market in 2024, I’m not surprised if it’s above 30%. That said, you don’t have to let them walk you into their cost framework and you should feel no shame in pushing your pricing. It is still your money and you get to make the decision, not them. If they decide not to budge on price, that’s okay. There are a thousand cars out there that are just like the one you’re looking at on the lot.

2.  Reliability and Maintenance

Budget is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when buying a car, but this next piece is perhaps just as important. Take a look at this 2×2 below and ponder it for a second.

things to consider when buying a car

Take any car you can think of and it fits into one of these boxes. Cars can be lots of things in terms of reliability and maintenance. Every car needs maintenance, but it’s just a matter of the degree to which it does and the costs associated. As an example, a Honda Civic is not only reliable (i.e., it will just run in spite of you), but it doesn’t need much in the way of maintenance. An Audi A4 can be reliable, but it will need a much more specific bit of maintenance and perhaps more often than the Civic will.

Take care that you look into the care and feeding required of your vehicle before you decide to buy it. There are plenty of online forums and articles related to whatever year, make, and model of vehicle you’re looking at ( is one of my favorite sites to look at for this).

3.  Fit and Enjoyment

Take a moment and think about what you spend your money on and how much you spend. What singular items in your life do you sign up to spend multiples of thousands of dollars on over the course of a few years? Odds are, not too many, other than perhaps a house or a retirement account. Much time and consideration should be exhausted before signing on the dotted line for a finance application or before writing out one of the biggest checks of your life.

If you’re about to spend $20,000 on a vehicle, you don’t want to grow to resent it. Make sure it’s right for you in all the ways that matter. If you and your spouse like drastically different cabin temperatures, your car should have dual climate controls (I literally couldn’t have a car without it). If being able to hit the back roads is your thing, don’t get talked into something that can’t do that. The saying “if you don’t love it in the store, then you won’t like it at home” is more true than ever here. Get what you’re looking for and don’t settle for anything less.


There are lots of things to consider when buying a car and before you walk onto the car lot or order a vehicle online, take the time to iron out what’s important to you. Price, reliability/maintenance, and overall fit for my life are important things to consider. Perhaps this is a good short list to start with the next time you’re looking for a car.

As always, if you have any questions or just need to talk through a car decision, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can find us on Instagram at @findthecarforme or you can email us at

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