Figure Out Your Budget
Before you figure out what you want or need, figure out what you can spend. "You should still live the lifestyle you want and not be an adult eating ramen for months at a time," says Degen. It’s important to know the total amount you are able to spend on a vehicle as well as the monthly payment breakdown. If you're unsure, try the Edmunds.com Affordability Calculator. It'll factor in your down payment, trade-in value, and loan rate.