Not everyone has the kind of change kicking around that it takes to throw down on a used car. Because you’re likely not that eccentric uncle who comes to every Sunday dinner bearing lavish gifts, used car financing is probably the best way to go. However, financing can be a confusing and scary process, so we have a few steps that should help you understand how to go about securing a used car loan.

Prepare ahead of timePrepare ahead of time

You can prepare yourself ahead of time by understanding a few things about what goes into financing a used car. One thing that’s important to know is your credit score. If you have a low credit score or no credit at all, there’s a chance you’ll have a hard time getting the good interest rate on your car loan. However, knowing you have a low credit score does not mean that all is lost, it just means that you have to adjust your budget. You’ll want to lower your budget a bit so that you can account for a higher monthly payment to go with a higher interest rate. Some used car dealerships in Anchorage are also specifically equipped for helping you qualify for a bad credit car loan. This leads to our next point.

Figure out your budget

Make sure you know what you can afford for a monthly used car payment. It’s easy shop a used car dealership’s inventory and let your eyes get big when you see that low-mileage Cadillac, but your wallet will quickly feel the effects. Know how much you can afford to finance for your used car. Figure out your number and start shopping around for used car financing.

A handy tool to help with your budget is a car loan calculator. By plugging your down payment or trade-in amount, loan interest rate, and loan term you can get an estimate of your monthly used car payment.

Find financing

Find financing

There are a number of places you can find financing for your used car. Either go to your personal bank or credit union before you go to the used car dealership or let the dealership itself help you find financing.

You can visit your Anchorage bank or credit union before you step foot on a car lot and apply for auto loans. This saves time at the dealership and gives you the same kind of buying power as a cash payer because you have money in-hand. You can save money on your used car this way.

Or, you can save yourself the effort of applying for a used car loan beforehand and let the dealership help you secure financing. The finance department at the dealership will work with local financial institutions to help secure your used car loan. This takes the majority of the work out of your hands, but you’ll likely end up doing a lot of waiting at the dealership as they work through this process for you.

Shop around for interest rates

Like shopping for your next car, you don’t have to accept the first loan that’s offered to you. You can shop around financial institutions and find an interest rate that’s best for you. Don’t feel like just because somebody has helped you through this process you’re obligated to take their offer. You’re the customer and it’s your money. Be sure to do what’s best for you and take the interest rate that works best for your budget.

Now that you’re armed with the basics for securing used car financing, go out there without worry and get the used car you’ve always wanted.