The idea of car shopping is daunting to many people. Cars are expensive, and it’s easy to fall under the (sometimes precarious) influence of persuasive salespeople who are trying to meet their monthly sales goals. However, the fact remains that a car is necessary for most people. It takes you from point A to point B and often comes a second home. A car is essential for you, so you want to ensure your new model is perfect for your lifestyle.

Are you on a budget right now? Saving money can feel incredibly challenging to do, particularly during an economic downturn. You might think that buying the car of your dreams is impossible when there isn’t a lot of disposable income coming in, but you’d be wrong! With a little research and setting a realistic budget, you’ll find the best car to suit your lifestyle. 

Buying a new car is an adventure. It’s not always a stress-free journey, but you should try to have as much fun as you can. Check out our guide on starting the process with these money-saving tips.

Stick to Used
While you might be tempted to investigate the new car lot (who doesn’t love the smell of a brand new car?), it’s best to avoid it. Buying new isn’t always worth it — most models lose a significant amount of the value within weeks of driving off the dealer’s lot. Your best bet is to lease or buy used. You'll save money when a car has some miles already on the odometer. Furthermore, trustworthy dealerships will put their used cars through intensive inspections and testing to meet manufacturer standards. Used cars always come with the manufacturer's warranty, so you'll be covered if anything unexpected happens.

Take Your Savvy Friend 
If you don't consider yourself an auto expert, why not take one with you to the lot? You’ll get a second opinion on anything the salesperson shows you, and they’ll ask the questions that may not even cross your mind. Is one of your pals a mechanic, or really into cars? Ask if they’d mind tagging along with you one afternoon to check to scour the car lots. If they’re a car person, they’ll jump at the opportunity to look at vehicles all day!

Discover Online Car Giveaways 
You could skip the lot entirely with online contests instead. You could win a car by entering the countless online giveaways posted every day. All of the best auto manufacturers, such as Nissan or Chrysler, offer exciting contests regularly. Find an online contest website that posts all the latest giveaways and search for car contests. You’ll be surprised at how many are out there. All of the money you would have spent could go to something else by winning a car, such as a savings account or even a holiday.

Buying a new car is a monumental accomplishment in your life. But you don’t’ want to overspend only to regret doing so later. Consider buying used, bring your savvy pal with you to the lot, and check out online giveaways! You’ll be putting the pedal to the metal in no time.