shopping for a car loan? here’s what you need to know

Car loans are not created equal and the dealerships may not be so forthcoming with information to help save you time and money. Before signing on the dotted line, use the tips below to have that self-assurance while driving in your new ride:

Determine what you can spend

Similar to house shopping, if you choose to get pre-approved there’s a good chance you’ll be approved for a higher amount that you may be willing to spend. Based on your budget, approximate how much you can casually afford on a car payment. Remember, it’s always better to be conservative with this number as circumstances change – such as family size, current obligations and employment.

Contact local banks and credit unions

Take your time in this step and do the research. Many local banks offer various discounts and rates by simply being a member of that financial institution. Take the rates you find during this step and cross compare with those at various dealerships – you may be surprised at the deals once their written on paper.


The car isn’t the only thing that can be negotiated! If you decide to finance through a local bank versus a dealership, there’s always an option to negotiate. Leveraging a good credit score along with being persistent could potentially save you money in the long run.

Purchase without the pressure

If you’re not completely at ease, don’t jump the gun just yet! Purchase a car when you and your pockets are fully ready. Don’t allow anyone or anything force you to move in haste. This is a purchase you’ll have to pay for much longer after the new car smell fades.

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The Finance Bar is a personal finance suite helping women and couples achieve financial wellness through coaching, education, and an innovative learning hub on wheels. Creator Marsha Barnes is a Certified Financial Social Worker, Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named the 2018 Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category.

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