Car

Saving for Your Next Ride

by Lila Quintiliani, AFC ®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator

One of my biggest financial mistakes came early on in my marriage.  My husband and I fell madly in love…with a large, extended cab pickup truck.  But the honeymoon was over when the car payments started.  After just a few months, there was a trickle down effect – because we were struggling to make the payments, we weren’t able to pay off our credit card fully each month.  We ended up carrying a balance on our card, and that balance got bigger and bigger.  After a couple of years of this, we finally realized we had to stop hemorrhaging money and we sold our truck and got a used SUV.  Eventually we paid off our credit card debt.  But we were so scarred by the experience that we now do our darnedest not to have a car payment.  And when we do have to take out an auto loan, we make paying it off one of our first priorities.

I have seen plenty of people struggling with huge car payments.  Several times I have counseled service members who had TWO car payments totaling nearly half (or more!) of their monthly take home pay.  Here are some tips for saving for your next vehicle so you won’t be crippled by your auto loan: