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Setting a budget - Buying a Car

Look through our tips to get some pointers on making your cash work for you.

• Set a budget and stick to it, no matter what the dealer or finance company says you can afford.

• Work out how much cash you realistically have to spend after mortgage/rent, tax, bills, entertainment and other outgoings have been considered.

• Besides any repayments on the car itself, you also need to consider other running costs such as fuel bills, insurance premiums and servicing – these will cost you thousands each year. Look at our pence-per-mile or true-cost figure to see how much the car you've got your eye on will cost to run, on top of the loan/finance.

• Consider whether you really need a brand-new car. Depreciation is the biggest cost in owning a car, with the biggest drop coming in the first year. If you buy used, even just a one-year-old model, you could save plenty and still have two years of warranty protection left.

• Use the What Car? Target Price to find out the most you should be paying for any new car. There are very few models that you will need to pay the full list price on.

• Use What Car? Cars for sale to find out the best deals available on cars today.

• Use the What Car? Price Guide or online valuations to get the best price for your old car when you trade in, or to make sure you're not paying over the odds for the second-hand model you're after.


More tips on buying a car: Car Payment | Buying Online | Cars for Disabled Drivers | Contracts | Delivery Times | Finance | How a Showroom works | How to Haggle | How to reject and complain | How to test drive | New or Used | Paperwork | Setting a budget | Test drive checklist | Understanding your needs | Used car buying scams | Used car inspections and tests | Used car precautions | Where to buy | Your part exchange  

Used Cars ZA - South Africa