Purchasing a vehicle can be intimidating, especially if you've never bought one before. There are several steps you can take to prepare yourself and your bank account for this large purchase. Doing your homework now can prevent future headaches.

Your first step should always be to reflect on what you'll want on your checklist. Make a list of all the things you want from a vehicle, as well as all the things it needs to do. A soccer mom may need extra seating for carpooling and lots of room for sports equipment, while a bachelor or bachelorette might enjoy a smaller sportscar for zipping around town and easily parking in tight spaces.

Second, consider money; what is your price range? A typical rule-of-thumb is to set your highest budgeted amount at 20 % of your take-home pay. For example, someone making $50,000 should designate $10,000 as their maximum purchase price. When making this decision, you must take into account the cost of owning the car, paying for gas, and your other associated bills. You may adjust your budget accordingly.

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Next, check the vehicle history on a site like Carfax.com. If the vehicle checks out, schedule a test drive of the car, and try to test it on roads like the ones you would typically encounter during your day-to-day routine. Ask any used car dealers you visit for records. After considering all the aspects of the car and whether it fits your budget, make an offer to a trusted salesperson.

While negotiating, feel free to take time to think about counter-offers, use the bathroom, or eat a meal. There should be no rush when making this decision, and the salesperson should help you feel at ease.

Practically all the cars being produced today are automatic. But when it comes to driving lessons, some people still take manual driving lessons instead of automatic. In fact, even some driving schools recommend novice drivers to learn how to drive a manual car first. This is because manual vehicles are still around and it seems it would take more time for them to disappear in the future.