Skip to Content
Skip to Content

Buy a Car the Smart Way

Skip the financial stress and know exactly what you can comfortably afford with the help of a budget.

How Much Should You Spend?

You want to buy a car, but it’s hard to know how much you should spend. And the car dealers? They’ll do everything they can to get you into the tippy top of your price range (or perhaps even beyond).

Some cars cost $5,000. Some cars cost $50,000. There are leases, loans, or some people pay in cash! Where do you find the magic number for you?

“I make $40k/year and paid off a $20k car loan in two years.”

When Amanda purchased her car, she came up with an arbitrary number—because it felt like an adult-like number. Then, she was locked into a payment that didn’t feel quite so good. See how she refined her priorities and now drives a paid-for car.

  • I Didn’t Want a Car Payment Hanging Over My Head

    I purchased an expensive vehicle. And I took out a loan to do it. A $20,000 loan.”

    —Amanda Paid off in 2 years

Our Top Car-Buying Articles

  • How to Save Time & Money When Buying a Car

    Skip the haggle-a-thon with the dealer: we’ve got four ways you can save your most valuable resources when making a car purchase.
  • How to Pay Off Your Car Loan Fast

    There’s no rule that says you have to have a car payment forever. See how to find more money for your loan payoff and debt-free goals with YNAB.
  • How Much Car Can I Afford?

    Eyeing that epic sunroof and dreaming of remote start? Learn a sneaky powerful way to determine if you can actually afford that new car.

You Might Also Like…

  • 4 Rules For Buying A New-To-You Car

    I discovered I loved driving when I was 23. I thoroughly enjoyed the roar of an engine and the feeling of having an open highway right in front of me. Learning to drive a car is a right of passage—check! And I believe buying a car—the research, the hunt, the wheeling and dealing, the purchase—the …

    Read Blog Located in: Learn to Budget / Blog
  • Cars And The Identities That Drive Them

    For the last ten years, I drove a very, beat-up Honda Civic. May she rest in peace. That Honda Civic served us well for a very long time. I think it was four or five years old when we bought it. It was an old car, had a lot of mileage, and with our big …

    Read Blog Located in: Learn to Budget / Blog
  • How Car Insurance Works

    Wondering how car insurance works, which insurance company to choose, and how to make sense of deductibles? At first glance, it can feel pretty confusing but knowing a few important things about insurance coverage could save you a few hundred dollars per year. How Does Car Insurance Work? The best insurance policy for saving money …

    Read Blog Located in: Learn to Budget / Blog
  • 2 Rules You Need To Know To Buy A Car With Cash

    Here is the thing, you can buy a car with cash. It won’t happen on accident. It won’t happen without effort, but it is a realistic and worthwhile goal. If you’re a long-time YNABer, you already know how to do this, but for those of you who are thinking, “How in the world would I …

    Read Blog Located in: Learn to Budget / Blog

Drive your car, don’t let your car drive you.

Don’t let the pricetag on your car derail your financial progress. You can try YNAB free for 34 days. No credit card required.