If the idea of driving a fine specimen of German engineering or an Italian power car gets your heart racing, you’re destined to own a European vehicle.
All that’s left is to make it happen.
And if you’re reading this post, you probably haven’t quite made it there yet. But there’s some good news.
First, you’ve already taken the first step by setting a goal. Now, it’s time to get a bit more specific.
Here are 6 techniques that can help you afford a European vehicle.
1. Consider a used vehicle
Even if you’re buying a domestically-made car, buying used makes good financial sense. Cars depreciate at breakneck speeds, but you can save yourself the loss by purchasing a car that’s about two years old.
According to CarFax data, new cars can lose as much as 10 percent of their value within the first month. So, look at it this way. If you’re drooling over a $40,000 BMW, it will only be worth $36,000 just 4 weeks after you make that purchase.
And while you may not be able to find many 1-month-old used vehicles, you can benefit from buying a European vehicle that’s about 1 or 2 years old. If you were to buy that same car one year after its release, it’s value would be more like $32,000. Wait one more year and you might pay $28,800.
Yes, you’ll miss out on getting a shiny new vehicle, but you could save $11,200 over 2 years by purchasing used. That’s $5,600 a year or $466 a month.
Instead of buying that car new, look for a deal on used BMWs (or other European vehicles).
2. Trim your budget
If you don’t already have a budget, get one stat! And if you do, look at where you can trim money. Any money saved can go towards your car purchase. Stick to your budget and you’ll be driving that European car before long.
3. Lower your auto insurance
If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, you’re probably starting to think in terms of monthly payments. With this in mind, your auto insurance payments can eat up a lot of your budget. Shop around to find a better deal, and you’ll have more money to spend on your European vehicle.
4. Sell your current vehicle
This may seem like an obvious tip, but remember that you’ll get more for your vehicle on a private sale versus a trade-in. So, try listing your car on a free online marketplace to get more to put towards your new car purchase.
5. Factor in maintenance
Research what it would cost to maintain your vehicle before you buy. For example, the cost to maintain a 2018 Audi A4 is about $1,400 per year within the first five years. The cost to maintain a BMW M5 is about $1,900 annually within that same timeframe.
6. Lower your sights
If getting a BMW M5 isn’t in your cards any time soon, consider a less expensive European vehicle, such as a Volkswagen Passat. It isn’t quite as sophisticated and luxurious, but you can still benefit from the German engineering you love so much.
Anyone can own a European vehicle, but it’s up to each of us to make the necessary sacrifices and adjustments to make it happen. If making more money isn’t an option, you must find a way to make more out of the money you currently have. But with that said, it’s probably a lot easier than you think to get behind the wheel of a European vehicle.