1. Determine How Much You Can Afford.
Before you go to the dealership and before you decide which car you want to buy, you have to take a good hard look at your financial situation to make a realistic assessment of how much you can afford to spend. Will you be paying cash? Decide how much you want to lay out. Will you be financing? If you’re honest with yourself about your budget, you can nail down the upper limit of your price range before you ever start shopping – and save yourself a lot of time in the dealership.