My ex-husband had provided me with cars before we separated, and even got me a cheap run around after we separated as the Land Rover we shared would have cost too much for me to run as well as the up keep costs.
Buying my own car was one of the biggest decisions I had to make as a single person (other than finding a house to live in obviously) and, although exciting, I knew I had to research and really think about what I wanted prior to making the purchase.
Ask friendsI think it’s really important to at least ask other peoples opinions on certain purchases. I asked friends for recommendations on car brands. I already had a particular brand in mind which I knew and trusted and wanted to at least get an idea of other brands and other people's experiences. This was also the case when it came to car showrooms and garages.
Create a wishlistThe thing with buying a car is that we are all different. We all have different wants and needs. Ok, the basics are the same, we want a car that will move forward.
I created a list of what I wanted, and I decided that actually...I would be fussy and not feel guilty about the little things that mattered to me.
I wanted air con, I wanted 5 doors, I wanted a radio, CD player, two cup holders, and colour was important. I wanted nice interior and a nice steering wheel. Boot space was also important and leg room in the back for two growing boys. Not too old, in fact 5 years old max.
I only ended up going to one showroom. In fact I was window shopping whilst I tried to research what sort of budget I was looking at, and had such a good rapport with the salesman that I didn't go anywhere else. I work in sales so maybe I should have accepted that most salesmen would have a similar attitude as the man who I was dealing with, however with internet shopping now so easy I knew that I could visit one showroom and still look elsewhere.
Determine your budgetThis for me was the biggest aspect to get my head around. I didn't know what sort of budget I needed with the wishlist I had. And in all honesty, my original budget wasn't at all realistic with what I wanted.
Arrange financing in advance
I fell in love with a car before I knew the exact date my finances would be available. Not knowing whether or not I could put enough of a deposit down made me panic and realise that I had gone about it a little wrong.
It's well worth finding out at first what kind of deposit each garage or showroom will take. If you know you can afford that, then it's worth then looking further into which car is for you.
If you have money coming in due to a house sale, inheritance or work bonus then make sure you know exactly, or roughly when that will be. Or, if you are going down the route of using finance or a loan, make sure these are either in place or that you know about your credit history and chances of being accepted for a loan/finance before attempting to make a purchase.
As with the car, make sure you look into these options as there are so great, low-cost deals out there.
The important details
Before you drive your new car home make sure you have looked into road tax and insurance. Be aware of how much these will cost so you don't have any nasty surprises when it comes to arranging them after you have bought your dream car.