Along with financing, coming up with cash for a down payment on a vehicle might seems like a fight you’ll never win. Take a breather.
Step back and really look at where your money goes each month and where you might find a bit extra. This list should get you started, but don't stop there. When you start thinking the right way, places to save and ways to raise funds have a way of revealing themselves to you. For example:
Trim your vices and hobbies
You don't have to completely give up vices and hobbies, but if you're fighting to come up with a down payment, this is absolutely your first stop to finding extra funds. A pack-a-day smoker can spend hundreds of dollars each month on cigarettes—the average cost is $5.51, with the price in most states being between $6-$8. If you live in New York, it’ll set you back an average of $12.85 per pack. Multiplied by 30. That’s a lot of dough going up in smoke. Even cutting it in half will save a lot of money.
A drinker can spend as much as a smoker or more, depending on preferences. Beer versus whiskey — and then there is each state’s liquor tax on top of sales tax. Yep. That’s a lot of moolah if imbibing is often.
Give your hobbies a critical eye, too. What’s costs the most money? You have the Internet, you can find something worthwhile to do with your spare time for a few weeks or months. Only you know the places where money is spend unnecessarily; cut them by however much you can tolerate.
In case you think I’m being a real killjoy, I’m talking about leaving off those things long enough to put that money toward something you really need—a vehicle. You can go back later if you want. But who knows? You might like having extra cash in your pocket for other things.
Check out financial institutions
You might be surprised by the types of loans you qualify for, especially if dealing with a smaller lending business such as a credit union. Even if your credit has a few bumps and bruises, you might be able to qualify for at least a little help with your down payment.
Many dealerships can and will work with you to help secure a down payment; learn to read the fine print and understand what you're agreeing to. Of course, you don't want to sell your soul for a down payment or put yourself in a state of permanent debt because of an absurd interest rate. Scrupulous and unscrupulous dealerships exist in roughly equal numbers, so do your homework and pay attention.
Trade what you've got
Even a junker that can barely run can be worth something under the right circumstances. Maybe you can get lucky and catch a government program, or maybe sell it to a junkyard for scrap. Find what money you can derive from your existing vehicle as you seek to trade up; what is available might surprise you.
Realign your expectations
It's possible that you're aiming too high with your down payment goals and financing options. If none of the tips in this blog gets you close to a fraction toward what you need, then you might want to look at a different vehicle and work your way up to that dream car.
Save what you can, know your options, and check out used car sales in South Dakota and Florida—that might be your best bet.