They say that people learn from their mistakes. That’s all well and good, but when it comes to big decisions in life, wouldn’t it be better to learn from the mistakes of others, so that you can avoid making a mistake at all – yes of course it would!

Here we try and do exactly that. We’ll look at one of the biggest decisions that people make in their lifetimes – buying their first car. We’ll consider all of the potential traps, pitfalls and mistakes that can be made (and have been before), so that hopefully you can avoid the same. Once you know what to avoid, such as focusing on factors such as number plates over issues of reliability etc. then you’ll be best placed to make your first car memorable for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

It’s time to get excited about your first car…

Type

We all know what type of car we’d like, but that shouldn’t form part of the decision process. Think instead of the type of car you actually need. What will you be using the car for and how often etc. Where will it be parked overnight and how do the running costs match your financial circumstances. If you’ve got a family, then a two seater is a bad choice, likewise no boot space is a big negative for those with families/pets etc. A great way to save money on cars is to have the same one for years, so the choice is crucial.

Economics

You’ll need fuel, and that’s never cheap. So if your commute is long, or you travel long distances often, then fuel economy is a critical factor. Cars with half the miles per gallon cost twice as much in fuel – think about that for a moment.

Running

Cars need attention, you just do not want your new one to need attention soon after buying it, and perhaps outside of its warranty. Cars cost a lot to get running, above the simple running costs. So keep this in mind.

Impact

Whether it’s the type of car, the number plates or accessories, some like to impress. Their car is a statement about them and they want it to be positive. For your first car, this probably has to take second stage to issues such as reliability, economy and practicality. Sometimes the “dull” things matter more.

Price

You’re about to spend a lot of money, so make sure you do so wisely – haggle like every bit counts, it does. Whether this is on the purchase price or after sale costs, any saving you make keeps money in your pocket. Your car is an investment, and whilst its price will only fall, the important factor is the value it brings to you. Be aware also on the issue of finance. Dealers make good money from finance products that suit them more than they suit you, so shop around.

It’s a big step getting your first car, but hopefully these tips will mean that you are making a step in the right direction! Good luck

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