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Car buying advice

What to think about before buying a car

2. How much can you really afford?

Regardless of whether you’re paying cash or financing your new car, everyone has a financial limit. Pushing beyond that limit because you really, really want that particular car is almost certainly a one-way ticket to Troubletown, and it happens all the time.

Cars cost a lot of money to buy, but people tend to forget that they also cost a lot of money to run. Petrol costs might be the most obvious expense, but there is also insurance, road tax, servicing and other maintenance, and the potential for expensive problems to suck your savings away.

Far too many people finance themselves to the hilt or blow all their cash to get their perfect car, and don’t leave themselves any room to pay for unexpected problems. What if you blow a tyre? It could cost you a couple of hundred pounds or more, and it’s not covered under warranty or insurance.

If the car is stolen or damaged, your insurance may cover most of the cost. But you could still have a hefty excess which you need to pay before they lift a finger to help you.  Do you have several hundred pounds kicking around to cover that at the drop of a hat? If not, you’re up for more money and inconvenience paying for bus tickets and taxi fares until you can pay the excess.

Man running to catch a bus
Please don’t let this be you.

Why is this important?
The Car Expert gets loads of enquiries from car owners desperately trying to get out of their finance agreements because they can no longer afford the payments (seriously, just check out our forum).

Unfortunately, there is rarely an easy exit and you are likely to lose a lot of money if you bite off more than you can pay for. Your credit rating could be destroyed or you could even end up in bankruptcy. Swallow your pride, set a very conservative limit and don’t go one penny beyond it.

Find informative and impartial car finance articles at The Car Expert

You should also read this:
Before you apply for car finance…

Now we know your motivation and how much you can afford, all we need to do is find the right car for your needs.

Next page: What do you actually need the car to do?

Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.


  1. I’m not sure car sales people can manipulate people as easily as they used to do.
    With the internet, car owners are starting to be savy and know what they want.

    Budget might and should be the most important thing. How expensive is a car to run with depreciation/fuel/insurance/servicing. You will obviously wont find that on the internet as people would start panicking on how much they actually spend!

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