Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vroom Vroom: Car Shopping

One of the big 'adult things' I did in 2014 was that I bought a car. I never really planned on writing about the process, but in the past 6 or so months, I've received a lot of e-mails from Summer Wind readers who have just recently graduated from college and are buying their own cars, too.
To be honest, I am really not into cars at all. In fact, car shopping might actually be the most boring shopping experience I've ever encountered. And the prices? I feel that my money would be better spent on travel or shoes and sushi and champagne....in Paris ;) But I guess these things wouldn't really get me to work, now would they? Ohh the joys of being an 'adult'. 
I don't really get the need for all the gadgets and the engines and the different wheels, either! Just giving me some heated seats and I'm set. I know some of you car lovers are probably cringing right now. 
Anyways, before I started looking, I set a budget for myself and then gave myself wiggle room on either end of my budget in case I found something I really loved. 
After my budget was set, I started looking around on line to see what I brands I liked and what fit within my price range. I made a list of my requirements. Things like leather seats, heated seats, sun roof, satellite radio, bluetooth, etc. were all on my list. I also knew I wanted a black car with tan interior. I actually really wanted a Jeep, but I am a terrible driver and knew I'd never be able to parallel park an SUV. From online browsing, I also knew I wanted a 4 door car and a new car, rather than used. I was also able to figure out what brands and models I liked. 

Once I had an idea in my mind, I started looking. My parents generously got me a Toyota Camry in college and loved it, so I went back to the Camry dealer and looked at all the cars and prices to get started. I decided that this time around, I didn't love the Camry options, so I headed to Audi, Acura, Volvo and VW (all brands I liked online). 

Ultimately, I ended up going with a Volkswagen Passat SEl. When I was looking, the price seemed to be right and had all of the qualities I was looking for (and more!). I've had the car for a little over 6 months, and I don't have anything negative thing to say about it. It's the best! 
In full disclosure, my parents were with me while I was shopping around. They helped me to make the decision and helped me with setting a budget and all of the paperwork. I was really happy and feel lucky to have had them to really hold my hand throughout the entire process because to be honest, the thought of buying my own car was super intimidating (in my mind). But in the end, the process was simple and stress free! So here's the run down of the steps to how I came to my decision:

1. Set a budget
2. Browse Online
3. Make a list of likes and dislikes
4. Shop around in person/test drive

Happy car shopping! Have a fabulous day! 


Unknown said...

I just started college and I've already been thinking about when/how I will purchase my first car after college. It's a daunting thought!!! Congratulations on your purchase :)

xox, Antonia
Bashful and Bubbly

Ashley said...

My first car was a Volkswagen Passat, black with tan leather, like your new one. It was such a fantastic car, and I miss it! Now I love the look of the Tiguan as a smaller SUV. (I completely agree with the scariness of trying to drive big SUVs!)

Ashley Wissel said...

I went through the same process very soon after graduating from college and ended up with a VW Jetta. I found that of all of the dealerships that I went to, VW had the most ah-mazing customer service, and even 4 years later, I still stand by that! Congrats!

Casey said...

The smartest thing to do is buy a car that's 2-3 years old with no more than 15,000 miles per year on it. That way it's taken most of the depreciation hit but is still relatively "new" feeling. Also consult Consumer Reports so your not getting a car that will kill you with repairs. The other smart thing to do (which I didn't) is once you've paid off your car loan, stick that money into a savings account. If I had done that, I'd have $10,000 saved so far to pay for my next car(theoretically, in actuality it'd be less because I'd take money out for oil changes, and regular maintenance).

Victoria Robbins said...

Buying for function is sometimes the best approach. This is supremely true when you are on a budget. It is nice to have a ton of features that you actually use. When you aren't using them, then there is no reason to pay extra. Purchasing a car with fewer features is fine. As long as the model gets good fuel economy and is safe to drive, the car is going to do its job.

Victoria Robbins @ Diviniti Auto


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