An older couple excited over their new car

How to Get the Car You Need on the Budget You Have

A car is the biggest purchase that most people make outside of their homes. Even a moderately priced car can cost tens of thousands of dollars, putting it out of reach for many people on limited budgets. For those who have poor credit, the options are even more limited.

Fortunately, there is such a wide range of options for vehicle ownership that even those with limited circumstances can get quality transportation. Here are a few things you can do to get the car you need on the budget you have:

Shop Used Cars

Shopping used car dealerships is the best thing you can do to get a quality vehicle at an affordable price. The harsh reality about car ownership is that most vehicles start to lose their value as soon as you drive them off the lot. That means that if you tried to sell a car you just purchased brand new, you wouldn’t get as much money for it as you paid.

The good news about this is that you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by shopping for a previously owned vehicle. Even if you are shopping for the current model year, you will save a lot of money if the vehicle already has some miles on it.

Even though the price will be lower, the quality doesn’t have to be. If you choose your used vehicle carefully, it can last 10 years or more — the same as a vehicle you purchase brand new. It’s not the age of the vehicle that counts so much as the overall mileage and condition, as well as the reputation of the model. Some cars are just made to last. Do your research before you shop, and you can save big while getting a quality vehicle that will deliver reliable performance for years to come.

Try Your Luck with Auctions

You can get a steal on a previously owned vehicle on an auction, but you are taking a major gamble. Car auctions can be hard to find, and you might have to pay a fee or have a certain membership to gain entry. Even if you can get into the auction, you will still be at the mercy of whatever inventory is available and whether there are other buyers interested in the same model as you are.

You also take a gamble on the quality of the car you buy. No guarantees are offered on auction vehicles, and some may have been seized in legal proceedings. You may get lucky with dealer overstock, or you may end up with a car that was seized in a drug raid.

If the gamble works out in your favor, you can save thousands of dollars on a car. If it doesn’t, you will have wasted an afternoon and an entry fee with nothing to show for it.

Lease a Car

Leasing a car often costs less than financing one. The value of the lease payments is determined against the value of the car and how much it is expected to depreciate over the lease term. Typically, you lease a car for just a couple of years, and you can pay quite a bit less each month than you would with a car loan.

Leasing is typically an option for purchasing a new vehicle since the depreciation value can be calculated more clearly. However, some used car dealerships do lease previously owned vehicles, especially if they are newer vehicles. If you can find a lease on a used vehicle, you can expect to save even more money.

The other benefit of leasing a vehicle is that you can afford to have a newer vehicle than you might if you were purchasing outright. Many people choose to lease so they can enjoy owning a new vehicle every few years. However, if you fall in love with the car, you typically have the option to buy it when the lease is up.

Choose the Base Model

For every model you look at, there will be other trim levels that offer upgrades like leather upholstery, a more powerful engine, and advanced convenience features. The cost of each trim level goes up by thousands of dollars.

You may like a few of the features that the higher trim levels offer, but you may not need the fully loaded package. You can get the features you need and save some money by purchasing the base model and investing in an options package that has only the features you want. The package can cost a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand dollars, depending on what features it contains.

You can also shop Lexington, KY used car dealerships for previously owned models in higher trim levels. You can get the advanced features without having to pay top dollar for them. You can get a top-of-the-line automobile that fits in your budget by just shopping for a model that’s a few years older.

Get the Right Financing

The financing terms you get can make all the difference to how much you can afford. A couple of points on the interest rate can make the monthly payment go up or down a significant amount. You can save over $100 a month by just getting a better interest rate.

Of course, you can also lower your monthly payment by making a good down payment. You may not have enough money saved to buy a car outright, but you may have enough for a nice sized down payment. The larger the down payment, the more attractive you will be to lenders, which means that you will get a lower interest rate. The down payment also lowers the loan amount, which translates to an even lower monthly payment.

Save as much as you can before shopping for a vehicle, and make sure your credit is in order. If you don’t qualify for traditional financing, you may be able to get affordable dealer financing.


Whether you are shopping for a new car or a previously owned vehicle, you can save thousands of dollars by simply negotiating. Don’t ever accept the sticker price as the final asking price. Always attempt to lower the price by negotiating.

Don’t limit your focus to the selling price. You may be able to negotiate by getting a package added to the vehicle or having the dealer throw in the extended warranty for free. All of these extras will improve the value of the purchase but won’t be raising the cost. You’ll save money by getting more for less.

Some dealerships advertise a no haggling policy. Don’t let this deter you from trying to negotiate. The dealer may not come down on the price of the car, but may offer you other incentives to make the purchase more worthwhile.

Buying a car is a big purchase. You may not be able to afford a luxury automobile, but you can still find a quality and stylish vehicle on just about any budget. Shopping Lexington KY used car dealerships like Dan Cummins Chevrolet is one of the best things you can do to find a great car at a great price. Visit us today to explore our selection and take a test drive and learn about our financing options.

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