Yes, you’re right. The best time to buy a new car is in December. That’s why I want to help you prepare your bank account for those new wheels now. And speaking of money, we are midway through our 2015 savings challenge. How is everyone doing? A few of you have gotten a bit behind so I want to share some tips on how to catch up.
Lower Your Payments From the Start
The quickest way to lower your monthly car payment is to put money down at purchase. Think of this as making monthly payments before they’re due.
For example, the last car we bought was our minivan. We prepared for this purchase for a number of months by putting money aside in a special, fee-free savings account we literally called “Honda Odyssey Savings.” By the time we were ready to buy the van, we had saved two-thirds of the cost, and dramatically lowered our monthly payments.
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We set a goal for how much we wanted to put aside and then built that into our monthly budget. Doing this made saving a little easier – if we didn’t see it, we didn’t miss it. If there was anything left at the end of the month or if we had an unexpected windfall, we’d put that money in our account.
Transfers, inspections and registration all carry their own costs. You can typically get an idea of what to expect on your state’s DMV website or by calling a local office. Also, if you’re upgrading your vehicle, your insurance rates may increase as well. Talk to your agent before you sign any paperwork to make sure your dream car is still within your budget. Again, saving up for these kinds of costs, including annual maintenance and gas, will make this big purchase easier, and often less expensive, in the long run.
Savings Challenge Check-In
It’s week 29 by my calculations, which means you should deposit $29 into your Savings Challenge account this week for a grand total of $435. https://www.communityamerica.com/savings-challenge Way to go! Or, you’re thinking, “Oh shoot, I need to catch up on my saving.”
There’s an old saying that may help you out if you’re having trouble with the 52-Week Challenge: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is right now. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not meeting every goal, every week. The most important part of this challenge isn’t how much or how often you’re putting money away – it’s far more important that you’re making an effort to save money and that you keep finding different ways to do just that.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.