You’ve landed a job! Now you need a car to get you there. There are a number of things to consider when car shopping: should you buy new or used? Should you buy or lease? And what will your payments be? Used cars are, of course, more affordable. However, you want to make sure that the car isn’t a lemon. Before purchasing any used car, take it to a trusted mechanic so you can determine what repair issues you’re about to inherit. Like new car loans, the interest rate on used car loans depend on your credit rating and vary by city and state, but they are likely to be higher than new car loans. In addition to your monthly payments, you will also have to consider: the cost of gas which is likely to be higher in an older, less fuel-efficient car. Insurance, which will be lower in a used car since you insuring something of lesser value. Repairs: a new car will be under warranty, but for a used car it’s wise to set aside money each month for unexpected repairs. You don’t want a major cost, like new brakes, to put you deep into a debt hole. If you do go with a new car instead of a used car, you will have to decide between buying or leasing your new vehicle. Buying means you are purchasing the entire car outright, while leasing means that you’re paying for a portion of the car – the depreciation amount that you will be using for whatever specified time period. We’ll talk more about what leasing means in a minute. But first, let’s talk about purchasing a car. New car loan terms are determined by months in the contract, and they go anywhere from two to six years. Buying a car is preferable to leasing if: you can afford the monthly payments, you plan on being in the car beyond the length of the loan, you eventually want to own a car and don’t want monthly payments forever, you drive more than 15,000 miles a year, you can afford repairs once the warranty has expired, you don’t work hard to keep your car in prime condition, and dings and dents are likely to occur. Some new car loan agreements will offer a 0% interest rate or cash back. However, it’s extremely difficult to qualify for zero-interest loans, and these are usually only given for short loan terms such as 36 months, which means your monthly payments will be higher. Also, be sure to calculate the cash-back incentives. Will it save you money? Or is it tacking on additional cost to the car that you will have to finance? Now let’s look a little deeper into leasing. The benefit of leasing a car is that you can reduce your monthly payments on the vehicle by anywhere from 25-50% or more depending on the car and the terms. However, it also means that you have to return the car in prime condition in order to not be charged for any dings, dents, or additional miles. Leasing is a better option only if: you drive fewer than 15,000 miles a year, you take extra good care of your cars, ensuring nothing gets scratched or dented, you want a new car every few years, and you can afford continuing with monthly payments for as long as you lease new cars. Of course whether you’re leasing, or buying new, or previously used, It comes down to determining what is right for you! By exploring your options and seeing what works best for your lifestyle, you’ll be able to make a smart decision and stay on the path to success. And now that you’ve made these big decisions, some of the biggest decisions you’ll make as you face your future, the road ahead becomes easier to navigate. You know what you need to make wise choices. You’re in the driver’s seat now, enjoy the ride!