John Nielsen: There is often a lot of concern about purchasing a vehicle, but it doesn't need to be a stressful experience. There are a few things that everyone can do to make this process smooth and actually enjoyable.
The first step in this process is going to be to determine what you can afford and a great rule of thumb is 8-10% of your monthly income. And quite honestly, being a little bit below that wouldn't be bad.
Once you determine what you can afford, it's time to go online and do some research. Find out which vehicles are available in that price range, make sure you check for things like safety features, fuel economy, features that are really important to you, for your children or for the way you drive a car.
When you narrow that down to two or three vehicles, take a test drive, visit your dealer, drive them and make a determination on which one is best.
Once you've decided what you want to buy, now it's time to negotiate, and to do that, you take the information that you gained in your research and really try to negotiate a price that's fair for both you and for the dealer.
Don't forget that your trade-in vehicle is also a negotiation, your financing is a negotiation and any of the additional products, extended warranties, sealants and conditioners, all those are an individual negotiation, and your research that you do upfront is going to make you an informed consumer and should take the majority of the stress out of the process.
So with this information, it will help you take what could be a really stressful process and turn it into something that's straightforward and perhaps even enjoyable, but you will end up with a car that's right for you and a price that's right for you and years of enjoyment.