Getting Your First Car

Young man standing next to a car with key in his hand

A car to take you places!

We kid you not — you’ll remember your first car for the rest of your life. Here’s how to make your first vehicle purchase memorable, fun, and smart!

Where the rubber meets the road

Have you looked at the price of cars? A tiny, shiny new subcompact car will set you back at least $15,000, and the average price for used vehicles is actually $16,000-$19,000! (That’s some serious coin!) Plus, any vehicle owner also has to have auto insurance. And gas. And money for maintenance, repairs, and tires.

If you’re buying a used car or truck (a great idea because they’re more affordable and cheaper to insure), you can look up pricing based on condition using Kelley Blue Book as a guide.

Soooo… what’s the plan, Stan?

Are you saving up? Will you need a loan? Maybe a little of both? Your first step might be to meet with one of our financial counselors. We can steer you in the right direction. (Yeah, we meant to say that!) Let us help you determine an affordable vehicle price and provide tools to help you budget and save for your purchase. Get a jumpstart on that with our savings goals calculator.

SAVINGS GOALS CALCULATOR – What will it take to save enough for a car? This financial calculator helps you find out.

Auto Loans 101

If you’re planning to get a loan, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Rev up your research by figuring out the total cost as well as the monthly payment you can afford using the auto loan calculator. (You’ve already made a budget and know how much is available, right?) The total purchase price is important to know, because it can creep up when financing comes into the picture.

AUTO LOAN CALCULATOR – Find out how much automobile you can buy based on your monthly payment, or find out your loan payment based on your purchase price!

AUTO LOAN EARLY PAYOFF – Find out how much interest you can save by increasing your monthly auto loan payment.

  • Do you have funds for a down payment? A down payment of up to 20% of the total price helps reduce your monthly payment, making your purchase more comfortable on a monthly basis. The larger your down payment, the less you pay in interest on the auto loan.
  • Car dealers offer financing deals that often sound appealing, but it’s possible that you’d benefit more from our low interest rates. Plus, we may be able to preapprove you for a vehicle loan, so you can walk into any dealership knowing exactly what you’re able to pay. (This gives you leverage to negotiate the price!) We encourage you to review the options and decide what works best for you.

DEALER FINANCING VS. CREDIT UNION FINANCING – Use this calculator to help you determine whether you should take advantage of low-interest dealer financing or credit union financing combined with a manufacturer rebate.

LEASE VS. BUY – Should you lease your automobile or finance it? Find out with this calculator!

Bottom line: Do as much research as you like (but don’t get overwhelmed) and come see us when you need help! (We’re your credit union, and we’re here for you!)