An advice guide to buying a car

An advice guide to buying a car

Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash.

Like it or not, we live in a consumer society – but over the past couple of years, the reasons and need for transport have been turned upside down and inside out.

For example, as far back as ten years ago (I know, right) it was essential to have a car to lug groceries to and from the supermarket. God forbid if you wanted to buy something substantial like a bedside table or new lamp without some kind of wheels to take them home. Now, we can have them all delivered to our doorstep, sometimes within the same day.

If you worked in an office five years ago, chances are you might work from home now. For some working women, cars have become an irrelevance. For working mums, cars may be a necessity. So, what are your options?

In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of car buying – and if you don’t think owning a car is for you, here’s what you can use instead minus the downsides!

Buying new versus a used car

When we say we’re buying a new car, we may as well say “new to us”. Buying new is expensive compared to buying used.

That said, new cars are more reliable, fuel efficient, and safer than something used. (You can’t beat that new car smell, either!) You can nab a real bargain on a used car, if you’re prepared to research and do a whole lot of ‘tyrekicking’ and test driving.

You could also opt for the middle-ground of certified used vehicles. These are at most three years old, are refurbished and cleaned by the dealer, and come with an extended warranty. They’re cheaper yet as good as new, but more expensive than used if you bought from a private seller.

Electric or petrol?

Buying an electric vehicle (EV) is a popular choice, even though most (though not all!) EVs compared with petrol or diesel cars have a higher sticker price.

Even so, electric vehicles are a dream to run. You plug them in overnight and voila! You have a fully charged car good to go in the morning.

It’s also cheaper than filling up at the station – and servicing can be up to 70 per cent cheaper. Plus, since they’re zero emissions, you’re saving the environment too! Woo hoo!

Of course, petrol cars are everywhere and cheaper and they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. It really depends on your preferences at this stage in the game.

Borrowing vs saving for a car

If we waited long enough to save for a new-ish car, we’d be waiting forever. Even the cheapest new or near-new car will set you back at least $17,000-$18,000, and few of us have that amount of money just burning a hole in our banking-app.

You should save at least 15 – 20 per cent for a car deposit, so you don’t have to borrow as much to finance your new (or new to you) car. To get the best possible deal on finance, you should consult a broker so they can shop around for the best loan that suits your situation.

If you haven’t got good credit, you may want to pay down debts first or set a strict budget before applying for finance – the more applications you make, the harder it is to get approved down the line.

Do you really need a car?

If you live in the inner city or suburbs of a major metro area like Melbourne or Sydney, it may be impractical to own a car, especially if you can walk or use public transport.

For those in the outer suburbs or regional towns, car ownership seems like a must. Or does it? With the rise of car sharing services such as GoGet, Flexicar, or Charter Drive, women everywhere can gain access to a car when they need it without worrying about rego, insurance, fuel, and repairs.

It’s cheaper than a long-term hire car or a taxi/Uber. If you don’t feel like you need to add disco balls to the rear mirror and don’t mind when heavy metal blasts through the radio when you push the ignition sometimes, car sharing could be the best option for you.

If you’re still unsure, remember to ask a financial adviser or car expert before making a decision.


This article was made possible thanks to Savvy. As one of Australia’s leading financial comparison sites, Savvy aims to help everyday Australians to compare and make smarter financial decisions.