Car Buying Checklist

From securing financing, to choosing the right vehicle and visiting a dealership, car buying can be a very exciting and stressful process. However, with a little effort, and the checklist below, you can create a plan which will help make your next vehicle purchase a much happier experience.

Set a Budget

Take a look at your finances to see what funds you have available. Will you trade-in your current vehicle or do you have money set aside for a down payment? The price of the vehicle extends beyond the sticker price. Don’t forget to calculate insurance, gas and maintenance costs too. Calculate how much car you can afford to find the price range that best fits your budget. Once you know how much per month you have for buying and operating a car, it’s time to find a car that fits that number.

Get Pre-Approved

Dealers are notorious for trying to focus your attention on the monthly payment (is it a payment you can afford?). That’s why having your auto loan pre-approved improves your chances of negotiating on what really matters: your new auto’s price. When you have a pre-approved auto loan, your monthly payment is none of the dealer’s business – so there are no games to play. You and your lender have already agreed to something, and the dealer just needs to decide if you’re offering enough for them to let go of the car.

Research

No one wants to overpay for a car, but you need context to know you’re getting a good price. Free programs, like Apple’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar®, makes it easy to access unlimited price and market reports, compare car features, see pictures, read reviews and check your trade-in value. You can also review the TrueCar Price Curve to see the average other shoppers have paid for the car you want, learn what you should be paying and discover what you could save off the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

Purchase

Once your loan is pre-approved and you’re ready to make an offer, it’s important to find a trusted dealer. “You know what you can afford and you have found a couple of cars that fit into your budget. Don’t allow a salesperson to push you into something else”, says Russ Heaps from Autotrader.com. “Keep your monthly budget amount to yourself. The salesperson doesn’t need to know it. Your goal is to find the right car and then negotiate down the purchase price. Don’t muddy the water by revealing what you can afford to pay per month.”

 

To more easily navigate the car buying process, use the checklist below. And remember, the folks at Apple FCU are always happy to help. With low-rate Auto Loans and Apple’s Car Buying Service we’re sure you’ll find the car you want, a price you can afford and enjoy a hassle-free buying experience.

Best of luck with your car shopping experience and happy hunting!

SmartCarBuyingCheckllist

Quick Tips for Buying your First Car

Buying a car is typically an inevitable purchase many of us have to make at some point in our life. New car excitement; unfortunately, is often balanced with the dread and stress of loans and dealerships.

There’s good news.

With a little prep work you can nearly eliminate the uncertainty you feel. Here are a few tips to help you lessen your stress, pay what you can afford, get the best deal and fall in love with your new set of wheels.

Find out what you can pay each month.

Take a look at your cost-of-living. Calculate what you spend on rent, food, insurance and what you would like to have in the way of “fun money.” What can you afford to pay for a car each month? This will include not only the car payment, but the insurance cost as well. Next, determine how long you want to make payments. Loan terms can be spread out from 36 to 72-months depending on how much money you put on the down payment, how much you are financing and what you can afford.

Figure out your cost of ownership.

Loan payments, insurance costs, gas, oil changes, maintenance costs and taxes should all be considered when calculating your monthly cost commitment. When you have better knowledge of where your money is going, you keep from being surprised in the long run.

Get pre-approved for your loan.

Don’t waste your time looking at cars you can’t afford. With a pre-approval you can focus on options within your price range.
Research your options. Keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on a $35,000 vehicle, but you can only afford to spend $10,000. Consider new and pre-owned options within your price range. Test drive several vehicles before you buy. You and your car will have a long relationship, you want to make sure it’s the right fit.

Get the negotiations out of the way.

You may hear conversations about how sitting through your first car deal can be daunting. Well, buying a car just got easier. There are free car buying services that allow you to shop online and avoid all the dealership negotiations and haggling ? often saving you money in the process. Simply, choose your make and model, pick the color, options/specifications and view all of the available incentives. The process is similar for used cars too. After you have decided on the car you are interested in, you get a certificate showing you the guaranteed price from a certified dealer. This includes the TrueCar® Price Curve which shows others have paid for the same vehicle. This information will help ensure you are getting a great deal.

Go finalize the deal.

At the dealership always review your contract details. Before signing, make sure you are comfortable with the terms. Ask the dealer to remove any add-on fees that you did not agree to.

Follow these steps and you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that you made smart choices, got the deal you deserve and did it completely on your own. Good luck.

Student Discounts Save Big Bucks

Did you know that simply by showing your Student ID, you could be taking advantage of a variety of amazing, money saving deals?! So, dig it out and start shopping.

Student discounts are available at a variety of retail locations. Many locations don’t advertise their student deals, so before you pay, ALWAYS ask. Here are a few places where you should have your card handy.

Computers.

If you wish to purchase a computer to get you ready for your college days or even started with your career, now is the time. You may be thinking, why should I even worry about that now? Well, if you see how much you can save with these options, especially whenever you are wanting higher dollar tech items, this will come in handy! If you have recently graduated (high school or college) you may want to take advantage of your student discount ASAP!

Cheaper Eats.

Some restaurants like Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Burger King will have unadvertised student discounts. They can range from 5-15% off or maybe just a free beverage with purchase. Offers often depend on location, so don’t be afraid to ask what discounts are available.

New Threads.

Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters offers a variety student savings. Plus, Target.com provides discounts for clothing, home goods and groceries. Visit Target’s website and look up “target student coupon” to see what select items qualify for the student discount program.

Extras.

Save a few bucks at the theater or gym. AMC Theaters cuts student ticket prices. If you are looking for more than what is available from your campus gym, 24-Hour Fitness provides membership savings for students. Save money when you take your car to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change or any other service so you can keep your car healthy for the trips home or for a getaway.

Student discounts are available if you take the time to look for them. Try asking some other students if they happen to know any hidden gems or research what is available out there on the internet. And of course, there’s “an app for that”! The University Network (or TUN) can show you some local deals.

If you find another coupon to add to any of the deals above, you are truly a thrifty saver.

Help your fellow reader and share what deals you have found while out and about the area.

 

Source: Pisani, Joseph. “College Student Discounts Can Save Money For Shoppers with School IDs” Huffington Post. 23 Aug 2013. Huffington Post. 16 Jun 2014 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/college-student-discounts_n_3805667.html>.

How to Maximize Your Online Services

Online account management tools have modernized banking by making it greener, quicker and more convenient. Today, Apple offers perks, such as heightened security, easier access and helpful applications for smartphones creating an enhanced banking experience.

Online account management tools  have modernized banking by making it greener, quicker and more convenient. Today, Apple offers perks, such as heightened security, easier access and helpful applications for smartphones creating an enhanced banking experience.

Through a secure connection you can pay your bills, transfer funds, review your account balance and much more. Here’s how tens of thousands of Apple members keep tabs on their account. Will you join them?

FREE NetBranch Online Banking– Armed with a web browser and internet connection, you can save yourself a trip to the branch and take control of your finances. Simply login to NetBranch at AppleFCU.org to review your account, apply for a Loan, transfer money, pay your bills, access eStatements and much more.

FREE Mobile Apps¹– With our FREE App for your iPad®, iPhone® or Android™ device, you have secure account access when you’re on the move. Not only can you check your balances, transfer funds and search for an ATM or Branch, you can deposit checks with FREE Mobile Deposit² and pay your bills with FREE eBill Payer!  See if an App is right for you; check out our Mobile Apps Demo.

FinanceWorks™ Money Management– This is the checkbook of the new millennium. With FREE FinanceWorks you can categorize your transactions and set up budgets for future spending.  This user-friendly system will track your activity and send alerts and reminders to help you track your account goals.  You can link accounts you have with other financial institutions too.

Popmoney™ Transfers* – This easy, fast and secure online personal payment service lets you send, request and receive money directly from your bank account via text or email – no need to know the other person’s account information.  Request or pay your family, friends or just about anyone at all and they don’t even need to have an existing Popmoney account.

FREE eBill Payer** – Did you know you can pay all of you bills, or a person, using FREE eBill Payer within NetBranch Online Banking? Setting it up is as easy as 1, 2, 3!  Simply enter the business or person you want to pay, set the amount and set the date. That’s it, you’re done! In a few simple steps you can pay all of your bills—phone, insurance, credit card, school, cable/internet and more… you can even pay your buddy back for lunch! Plus, with eBill Payer you can setup recurring payments to avoid late or missed payments. The best part, if you need to pay a bill on the run and you are nowhere near a computer, eBill Payer is available within Apple’s FREE Mobile App.

________________________________________________________________________

¹Requires mobile Internet access from your device. The trademarks, logos and names of other companies, products and services are the property of their respective owners. ²Some restrictions may apply. Airtime and carrier fees per your contract/plan may apply. *Must be enrolled in NetBranch Online Banking and the primary or joint account owner. Use of Apple FCU’s Popmoney service and texting of funds to a mobile phone are FREE. For email transfers, a $1.25 per use fee is required. For direct deposit transfers, a $5.00 per use fee is required. The request money fee is $1.75. Airtime and carrier fees per your contract/plan may apply for funds forwarded to any mobile phone. **Some restrictions may apply