How to Find the Right Car for You

Shopping for a new car?

Shopping for a new car? With so many options, the choice may seem overwhelming. Here are a couple of questions that can guide you to just the right car for your needs and lifestyle.

Is it affordable?

No matter how much you love a particular car, if paying for it is going to leave you short on cash each month, then you haven’t found your perfect match. Generally, what you shell out for transportation — including car payment, insurance and gas — shouldn’t come to more than 20% of your take-home pay each month after you’ve paid your other bills.

That said, you need to weigh your existing expenses before deciding how much is manageable. Financial institutions such as US Agencies Credit Union can pre-approve you for an auto loan and may reward you for setting up e-statements and automatic payments, for choosing a fuel-efficient model or even just for making your payments on time consistently. You’ll also have the advantage of knowing exactly what you can afford before you shop.

What are your lifestyle considerations?

Once you’ve set your budget, narrow the possibilities by examining your needs:

  • Will you be traveling in winter conditions and benefit from all-wheel drive?
  • Do you commute long distances, making fuel efficiency a priority?
  • Do you often drive passengers and need enough seating for everyone? Would having four doors make life easier? What about room for child seats?
  • How much cargo do you carry, and which vehicle types have enough room for your stuff?
  • Do you love to work on engines, or do you need something with top reliability ratings?

Credit unions like USAgencies often provide other helpful auto services like GAP and MRC coverage, and debt protection. Some credit unions also partner with organizations that provide car-shopping help.

Choosing a car can be a hassle, but knowing the right questions to ask will put you in the driver’s seat on the way to a new ride.

By Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

7 Tips to Keep in Mind When Buying a Car

Buying a car, especially if it’s your first one, is an exciting experience!

By handing you those keys, the salesman will be opening up a whole new world of opportunity.

But don’t hit the gas too quickly. Before you sign any papers, or even before applying for an auto loan, take a look at these seven car-buying tips.

  1. Set a car-buying budget, which should include how much you can afford on a down payment and for monthly loan installments. Factor in insurance as well.
  2. If you want to finance your vehicle but haven’t established great credit, consider getting a relative to co-sign your application. This can improve the chances of your loan request getting approved.
  3. Consider prearranging that loan before stepping into the dealership. That way, you’ll know exactly what your interest rates are and can select a vehicle that’s appropriately priced.
  4. With your budget in mind, make a list of cars you can afford. Remember: Practicality should trump flair. For additional guidance, take a look at auto buying assistance services like those offered by lenders such as USAgencies Credit Union.
  5. Comparison websites can give you accurate quotes based on a car’s year and model, so you can get a feel for market prices.
  6. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, take the time to inspect any car that has caught your attention, keeping an especially close eye out for any easy-to-overlook imperfections like scratches and worn tires.
  7. Simply say “no” to unnecessary add-ons your dealer offers you, like rustproofing. Rust problems are pretty much nonexistent among newer cars nowadays, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Surveys.

These suggestions should put you on the right path toward purchasing a car that’s best for you. With the right game plan, you’ll be on the open road in no time.

By Tony Armstrong, NerdWallet

 

Car Buying Tool Kit

Resources from our partnership with BALANCE

BALANCE, a financial fitness resources that’s free and always available to our members (find it here!), has a great Car Buying Tool Kit full of articles, insights, videos, and more.Here’s a sampling of a few resources that you may find helpful as you’re considering a car purchase:

View the full Tool Kit!

Drive Into Reading Spring Car Sale

 Get 1.00% APR off already low rates*

From March 1st – April 30th, get 1.00% APR off already low rates* with USAgencies when you purchase a vehicle from Enterprise Car Sales. As a bonus, we’ll donate $70 to SMART (Start Making a Reader Today). This will buy 1 year of SMART books for 2 children in their program!

 

To learn more about this sale and other ways to give to SMART, visit USACU.ORG/CARSALE.

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*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. 1.00% off current rate offer is offered to qualified USAgencies Credit Union members by USAgencies Credit Union. Offer valid for terms up to 72 months. Current rate will vary based on credit worthiness and terms. Financing for qualified USAgencies Credit Union members. Offer valid only on Enterprise Car Sales vehicles purchased from 03/01/2015 – 04/30/2015. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

Save the Date : 79th Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Calling all members – join us as we celebrate another year of serving you. We’ve reserved space at the World Trade Center, Building 2 (121 SW Salmon Street in Portland). Registration begins at 11:30am and the meeting will begin at 12pm. RSVP information will be provided as the date nears.

Online Highlight : MoneyMark

Worried about having more month at the end of your money? Take control, with MoneyMark.

What is MoneyMark?
MoneyMark is a Personal Financial Management tool inside Online Banking and in our Mobile App. It has the power to aggregate data from all your financial accounts (from USAgencies and other accounts too!) so you can see everything in one place.

 

3 Ways MoneyMark Can Help:
  • Spending Targets: track where your money goes. Once you know where exactly you’re spending, you can set goals to spend less and save more.
  • Cashflow Calendar: input your income and expenses so you can monitor cash availability from paycheck to paycheck.
  • Alerts: set alerts for when bills are due, how much you’ve spent in a certain areas, and more.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE AND MOBILE BANKING AT USACU. ORG/ONLINEBANKING.

Financial Literacy Month

April Seminars & Webinars

Increase your financial knowledge by joining us for our Financial Literacy Month of Feast&Forum financial seminars and webinars.

When:
  • Every Wednesday in April from noon – 1pm
Where:
  • Brown Bag Lunch at the Credit Union: 95 SW Taylor Street | Portland, OR 97204
  • Webinar: join us remotely, wherever you are!

Want to Sign Up?
RSVP by clicking the link below for the seminar or webinar you’d like to attend – just follow the steps when prompted and you’ll be all set! Or, you can RSVP to Kasey Rockwell at (503) 275-0346 – or – events@usacu.org.


 

April 1 – Investing Concerns in a Fragile Market
Take a deep dive into common investing mistakes and discuss the importance of asset allocation.

April 8 – Roth IRA
Learn the benefits of Roth IRAs and how they are different from Traditional IRAs; plus learn about the TSP option with a Roth.

April 15 – Understanding Retirement Plan Rollovers
We’ll cover rolling over 401(k)s, IRAs, TSP accounts, and others.

April 22 – Asset Allocation
Discussion on how to utilize asset allocation to work toward your short, mid, and long-term goals; plus we’ll look at TSP L-Funds.

April 29 – Transition to Retirement
Learn ten critical factors to help you plan for your retirement.

News and Events happening at USACU