Edmunds.com Helps Car Shoppers Stick to a Budget

Edmunds.com Helps Car Shoppers Stick to a Budget


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Edmunds.com Helps Car Shoppers Stick to a Budget

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 5, 2009 — Many families are now paying extra attention to their household budgets — including their monthly car payment.

Typically, car buyers have a payment in mind when starting to shop for a vehicle. They spend hours researching only to discover that the chosen vehicle's MSRP doesn't translate into a monthly payment that fits the household budget, since the payment depends not only on the purchase price but also on a number of other factors that can be complicated to calculate.

Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, has launched a new Affordability Calculator as a recommended starting place for car-shoppers aiming to stay within budget. Instead of calculating payments like a traditional calculator, it calculates sticker prices. Simply plug in a ZIP code, a desired monthly payment and some other relevant information. The tool factors in interest rates, loan terms, typical discounts, sales taxes and other data to deliver a range of sticker prices for a shopper to use to kick off their research, saving hours of fruitless and frustrating research.

For example, consider a family who lives in Philadelphia, could make a $3,000 down payment and would like a monthly car payment of no more than $400. Using the calculator, they can easily determine that their trade-in is worth $15,000, that they can expect to get a 60-month loan term with a typical 7.36% finance rate and that they should shop among vehicles that have a sticker price between $32,500 and $38,200.

After choosing a vehicle within that range, the family should research the vehicle's True Market Value® price. Then, when negotiating at the dealership, they should target the TMV® prices for the new vehicle and the trade-in, and should check the finance rate and loan term, in order to arrive at the desired monthly payment. Each of these "moving parts" is negotiable and therefore important to research prior to entering the transaction and to review closely on the sales contract.

"Car-shoppers should be aware of their desired monthly payment, but not actually focus on it during negotiation," said Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor for Edmunds.com, who covers this issue in more detail in his article Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager. "Thinking of a vehicle purchase in terms of the ideal monthly payment can hide the bigger picture, and you never want to lose sight of the bigger picture when making a major purchase."

Reed also recommends that automotive expenses — including insurance, gas and other components included in the Edmunds.com True Cost to Own® tool — never exceed 20 percent of the household budget.

To find out how much car you can afford, visit Edmunds' new Affordability Calculator.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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