When browsing your options, keep in mind that financial experts will typically tell you to spend less than 10% of your monthly take-home pay on your car payment. That means if your take-home pay is $3,000 a month, plan to spend no more than $300 on your car payment.
Financial experts recommend spending no more than about 10% to 15% of your monthly take-home pay on an auto loan payment. These percentages do not factor in total car expenses, including gas, insurance, repairs and maintenance costs.
According to experts, a car payment is too high if the car payment is more than 30% of your total income. Remember, the car payment isn't your only car expense! Make sure to consider fuel and maintenance expenses. Make sure your car payment does not exceed 15%-20% of your total income.
The result is that the car will be a lot more expensive in the end. In the example we've given, a car payment of $400 per month for five years (60 months) equates to $24,000. But the same $400 per month spread out over six years (72 months) is $28,800, while it's $33,600 over seven years (84 months).
Expert estimates range broadly. Greg McBride, a senior vice president, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, advises that a car payment should equal no more than 15 percent of your pretax monthly pay. That means that if you make $50,000 a year, your monthly car payment could be as much as $625.
Average monthly car payment
By the beginning of 2022, the U.S. saw the nationwide average car payment reach $648 for new vehicles. This was a 12.31% increase from the previous year — and it will likely continue to inflate further due to rising average car prices and the overall rise of inflation.
Paying off your car early eliminates your auto loan from the equation. Your DTI will naturally be lower, which opens you up for other forms of credit. It also helps improve your chances of refinancing other loans or consolidating credit card debt at a lower rate.
Whether you're paying cash, leasing, or financing a car, your upper spending limit really shouldn't be a penny more than 35% of your gross annual income. That means if you make $36,000 a year, the car price shouldn't exceed $12,600. Make $60,000, and the car price should fall below $21,000.
Paying cash for your car may be your best option if the interest rate you earn on your savings is lower than the after-tax cost of borrowing. However, keep in mind that while you do free up your monthly budget by eliminating a car payment, you may also have depleted your emergency savings to do so.
The pandemic and resulting supply-chain issues, inflation, rising interest rates all play a part. Depending on whom you ask, the average car buyer in the U.S. is paying $657 (Edmunds.com) or $712 (Moody's) a month for their new vehicles.
If you pay double each month, you cut down on the interest twice as fast and start paying on the principal much sooner. Doing this, a five-year loan could very well turn into a two to three year loan. By paying more each month you will be spending more in the short term but saving more in the long term.
On a $2,000 a month income, car loan payments plus all other expenses shouldn't go above $1,000. If this isn't possible, then look at your other expenses and see where you can trim to get as close as possible. Reevaluate the type of car you want to buy, and consider a less expensive car.
So, theoretically, if your salary is $50,000 you could afford a car payment of $430 or less. With a $100,000 salary, you could afford a mortgage payment of no more than $2,500. For those with a salary near $30,000 your home, car, and debt combine should be no more than $1,250 per month.
Experts recommend that you spend $5,000 to $10,000 on your first car. But honestly, it all comes down to what you can afford. Here are a few simple tips to help you calculate a figure that would work well for you: Don't spend more than 15% of your gross pay or 20% of your take-home pay.
It is indeed a good feeling to pay cash for a car, but your cash resources might not be enough to purchase the car or truck that fits your needs. That is where a loan might be the better option, giving you a more comprehensive selection of vehicles from which to choose.
Dealers prefer buyers who finance because they can make a profit on the loan - therefore, you should never tell them you're paying cash. You should aim to get pricing from at least 10 dealerships. Since each dealer is selling a commodity, you want to get them in a bidding war.
In the short-term, paying off your car loan early will impact your credit score — usually by dropping it a few points. Over the long-term, it depends on quite a few factors, including your credit mix and payment history.
Financial experts generally recommend capping auto payments and related expenses at 10%–15% of monthly income.
A $30,000 car, roughly $600 a month.
If you make the median per capita income of about $42,000 a year, for example, you should limit your budget to $4,200.
Once you pay off a car loan, you may actually see a small drop in your credit score. However, it's normally temporary if your credit history is in decent shape – it bounces back eventually. The reason your credit score takes a temporary hit in points is that you ended an active credit account.
If you pay off your only active installment loan, it is considered a closed credit account. Having no active installment loans or having only active installment loans with relatively little amounts paid off on those loans can result in a score drop.
PAY HALF YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT EVERY TWO WEEKS
That adds up to 13 full payments a year, rather than 12. If you have a 60-month, $10,000 loan, you'll save only about $35 in interest, but you'll repay the loan in 54 months rather than 60.
A bunch of related bad economic news has hit car buyers pretty squarely: Rising inflation has pushed prices up, the Federal Reserve's interest rate jumps have pushed auto lending rates higher, and supply chain issues have squeezed the availability of new cars, further driving prices up.
As of 2021, the average monthly car payment in the U.S. is $575 for new vehicles and $430 for used vehicles. New cars buyers borrow an average of around $34,000, while used buyers need about $21,000.