Now that we have a baby on the way, Brian and I have been having more and more conversations about our cars. We actually have 3 cars; My 2007 Saturn Ion with 80,000 miles, Brian’s 2009 Toyota Camry with 120,000, and Brian’s Camaro. Now, I know what you are thinking, sell the Camaro and buy a ‘practical’ car, but Brian loves that car and so it isn’t going anywhere. Both of his cars are paid off and mine will be paid off in a month or two. So really, buying any new car would mean a car payment and I’m not sure that we need that.
But we have a baby on the way and so we need to consider all of our options. So whenever we decided that it might be time to look at cars again, I jumped over to Cars.com and started plugging in what we were looking for, what we can afford, and comparing our options. I love Cars.com because it allows me to look through all available cars on all the car lots in Owensboro without ever leaving my couch.
Whenever I first pull up the Cars.com webpage, I see boxes where I can type in the type of car we are looking for, our price range, and the distance we are willing to drive to go look at an available car. Then, I am presented with search results of actual cars that I can compare. Whenever I see one that I really like, I can call the dealership or just stop by to give the car a test drive. Cars.com saves me lots of time that I would otherwise spend wandering through car lots and that is definitely a good thing!
Cars.com is also a good resource whenever it comes to researching cars because you can search a specific make and model and see reviews for that car. I’ve been able to find a review for every car that I’ve searched for. It’s great to have all that information at my fingertips so that I can make an informed decision about what is right for us.
Now, here are five things that we considered whenever deciding which car is right for us.
Safety is the most important aspect of a car, hands down. I won’t even consider buying a car unless it has the highest safety ratings in it’s category. With safety in mind, I will also research how the car did in crash simulations and how it is rated for car seats. You’ll also what to think about feature that are specific to your location. If you get a lot of snow then you’ll want to make sure that your car handles well in snow.
Photo from Cars.com.
Right now, a car is really all that we need. We can easily fit one car seat in the back of a sedan, however whenever we travel to Ohio it’s going to be hard to fit our new baby and two dogs in the back seat! Also, we may want to have another baby in a few years, so it’s a good idea to go ahead and find a car that will grow with our family. Something with third row seating would be nice for whenever we have more children and our dogs.
Money is already tight with a baby on the way, so how much can we really afford to spend on a car? That’s something that you need to ask yourself before you even begin to look at cars. How will you pay your car payment? Or do you have enough money in savings to buy a car right out? Have a clear budget in mind before you shop and don’t blow your budget. You will only regret it later.
Photo from Cars.com.
It’s always good to take a look at what others liked or didn’t like about a car before you buy. Through reviews, you might find that a specific car burns through oil a little faster than it should or that the wheel makes a mysterious knocking sound. People who have actually owned that type of car will give you insight that the car dealership won’t.
Where Will You Buy?
You can walk onto any car dealership and you’ll find plenty of salesmen who will be happy to find you the perfect car. You can also search for cars to buy from owners in the newspaper or on craigslist. You’ll get lots of help picking a car out at a dealership but you might get a better deal buying directly from the previous owner. So you’ll need to consider how much you know about cars and how comfortable you are the purchasing process.
If you are considering buying a family car, my advice would be to start at Cars.com. Once you have a basic idea of what you are looking (minivan vs. SUV, new vs. used) you can just plug in your preferences and see what is available. A little research at the beginning of your search can go a long way!
Did you purchase a new car whenever your family grew? What was most important to you whenever it came to buying a new car?