Tuesday, 2 September 2014

How to Pick a Family-Friendly Car on a Budget

Image from http://www.motoring.co.uk/
(Guest post)

When it comes to choosing a family car, the top three factors to consider are safety, reliability, and of course, value for money. We understand that maintaining a home means numerous expenses such as food, utilities, clothing, and children’s education. Buying a car is also a necessary expense, so it is important to get the right one without sacrificing quality and your savings. Here, we’ll give you tips on how to choose the best one that meets your family’s needs and fits your budget.

Work out your budget

Next to the house, a car is a family’s biggest investment. Knowing how much you can afford to spend on a car, including insurance, maintenance, vehicle tax, and fuel costs, would determine the kind of car you can buy. In the UK, motorists spend an average of £3,500 a year on running costs. If there’s a particular model you think would meet your requirements nicely but you can’t afford to buy it new, you can consider looking for it in used-car markets.

Keep in mind that the costs of running a new car can cost twice as much as those of a pre-owned one, considering that depreciation causes new cars to lose value after a year of use. There are many online tools that can help you work out the running costs of the model you have in mind. Whichever option you prefer, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford. Having to pay more can be problematic, especially if you have other expenses to think about.

Things to consider

Choosing a car from the hundreds of models available in the market can be daunting. To keep you on track, you first have to think about several factors to help you arrive at the kind of car to get. For instance, how big is your family? Will you go out on trips that would require you to have four-wheel drive? Will you use the car for carpooling? Are there any features you require, such as wheelchair access? Will you be taking the family pet along? Thinking about what the car will be used for can help narrow down your selection to a few models you can seriously consider as your family car.

Do your research

Even if you already have a particular vehicle model in mind, it’s still worthwhile to consider alternatives that may also meet your needs. Once you have determined your requirements, go online and read up on different vehicle models, along with their unit and running costs. There are many reliable websites that come up with lists of great family-friendly cars, with ratings on safety, reliability, mileage, added features, and value. Whether you’re looking for a sedan for your small family or a van for carpooling, these websites can inform you of the best models for family use.

Time to buy

When you have come up with a short list of models, it’s time to shop around. Check the costs of each car, both new and used models, on consumer websites so you can have an idea of the price range. Next, take a look at online dealers of these cars and see how much they are offering along with add-ons such as insurance, service packages, and accessories. Some dealers may unnecessary items you won’t need, so be sure to ask the basic price minus the extras. You can also set out to inspect used cars for sale, but be sure to take a trusted mechanic or a friend who knows the ins and outs of vehicles to check if the car is worth the price it’s going for.

Remember to stick to your budget and allow for additional expenses such as servicing to make sure that the car you’re getting is as safe as possible for your family. If you think you are paying more than you expected but getting less in terms of quality and safety, go for another car in your list. There are many other models that can keep your family safe, fit your budget, and serve your family for many years to come.

Disclosure: Guest post written by Sophie Davidson