Planning the Car Purchase/Finances


I have started to research the car buying process, and it has become time for me to set up and plan exactly what cars I’m going to be looking at, how I’m going to save, and the timeframe for everything.

I’m looking for a compact car or a midsize car that gets good mileage.  Specifically, I’m looking for a car that will average around 38 miles per gallon.  The cars that I have narrowed down have been separated into categories.


Honda Civic- MSRP $26,907, gets 28 city, 39 highway

Hyundai Elantra- MSRP $23,875, gets 29 city, 40 Highway


Hyundai Sonata Hybrid- MSRP $32,240,gets 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway

Ford Fusion Hybrid- MSRP $34,701, gets 44 mpg city, 36 mpg highway

Honda Civic Hybrid- MSRP $27,774, gets 44 mpg city, 44 mpg highway

Toyota Prius- MSRP $36,132 gets 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway

I know these will not be the prices I am paying (which will be slightly lower with incentives/haggling).  I am assuming that the prices will remain similar for features that I am interested in, and I will be purchasing the 2013 versions of whatever car I decided.

I set a goal on, and contribute money each month towards my goal.  According to, I am two months behind, after taking into consideration I didn’t save during the holidays.  We’ll see if there’s any way to catch up over the coming months.  I am hoping that I will be able to save approximately 2/3 of the car’s price.  For each car, it amounts to the following:


Honda Civic- Desired Saving: $17,758.62

Hyundai Elantra- Desired Savings: $15,757.5


Hyundai Sonata Hybrid- Desired Savings $21,278.40

Ford Fusion Hybrid- Desired Savings: $22,902.66

Honda Civic Hybrid- Desired Savings: $18,330.84

Toyota Prius- Desired Savings: $23,847.12

I think my time to purchase (when the 2013 models are available) will be in September/October 2012.  I believe in early September 2012, I will begin visiting dealerships and test driving the vehicles.

Do you have any car buying tips?