Start by creating your budget. Make a list of all your monthly bills and related payments
- such as utilities, credit-card payments, rent or mortgage payment, insurance, food
Spend no more than 20% (one-fifth) of your net income towards a car payment. For
example: if you bring home $2,000 after taxes, multiplied by 20%, you'll have $400 to
spend. If you can’t afford a new car right away, buy a used one for now.
To stay within your recommended 20% net-income spending range, use an auto loan
calculator. It can help you figure out which loan terms you need for approval. Loan
interest rates generally go up if you finance beyond 60 months. You might be able to
negotiate a lower price than what you figured. Chase has one you can use for $1.