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Buying a Car

Buying a new or used vehicle can be a lengthy process and a rewarding one. There's nothing quite like that "new car" smell to make you feel good when you know you've purchased the vehicle you want at a fair price.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea where to begin when it comes to buying a car. The entire process can be downright intimidating. We can help, because buying a car starts with knowing exactly how much you can afford.

The First Step

The best way to start shopping for your vehicle is to apply for your loan first. That way, you'll know what you can afford and how much you're approved to borrow before you set your sights on a car that may be out of your price range.

As a general rule of thumb, your total monthly debt should be less than 40 percent of your gross income (before taxes). This includes rent or mortgage, credit cards and other loans. If you have no other debt, try keeping your car payment(s) below 20 percent of your monthly take home pay.

Once you know what you can afford, you're ready to start shopping. Check out our online resources for buying a vehicle.