Become a Car Buying Expert: 5 Tips to Getting the Most Car for Your Money

May 13, 2021

Ready to hit the road this summer? If you are in need of a car, you can prepare yourself for the purchasing process with these five tips.
1. Know your budget
Before you even start looking at cars, you need to review your finances to determine what monthly payment you can afford. Seeing where a car payment fits into your current budget and saving for a down payment will put you in a better purchasing position. Be sure to include in your budget the costs of insurance, gas, and maintenance.
2. Review the value
Once you have determined the car you want to buy, arm yourself with its current market value by reviewing a pricing guide such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. This way, you’ll walk into a car dealership with some idea of what to expect to pay.  
3. Rate matters
The annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost of borrowing money from a financial institution to purchase a car. It’s how your monthly payment is calculated. It’s important to factor the APR into the overall vehicle cost. 
4. Get preapproved
You can be more prepared to car shop with a preapproved car loan. Having this will make it easier to negotiate price as you have a set amount to spend. 
5. Mind the GAP
If your car is ever totaled or stolen, there could be a gap between what you owe on your loan and your vehicle’s value, leaving you to pay the difference. A Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) program may reduce or even eliminate the gap between what your auto insurance will give you and what you owe on your loan. 
Getting approved for an auto loan doesn’t have to take a long time. At MSUFCU, you can be approved in as few as 10 minutes. We offer low car loan rates and simplify the buying process with a ReadyLoan Check, a preapproval check that includes all the details you need to purchase your car, which saves you time.
It’s easy to apply for an MSUFCU auto loan — you can do so through live chat, eMessage, over the phone, or by visiting one of our 21 branches in Greater Lansing, Oakland County, Grand Rapids, or Traverse City.

Tags: Buying a Car, Borrowing Money, Money Management