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Follow These Simple Tips To Take The Stress Out Of Buying A New Car

In the market? Take the plunge!

By Casey Williams

I review cars, and enjoy driving them, but I do not relish buying them. It always seems so stressful: deciding what you want, determining a fair price, and confirming that the automaker and dealer are LGBTQ-friendly. It could give a queen nightmares, but here are some simple tips to take some stress out of buying a car.

Determine your budget

Before you go any further, add up all of your monthly expenses (housing, food, utilities, clothes, liquor, beer, cologne) and calculate what payment you can comfortably afford (or how much of your savings can depart). Be honest: there’s nothing worse than being saddled with a payment that elicits monthly stomach cramps.

What do you need/want?

I want a Corvette, but with a daughter, husband and two cats, I need a crossover. How are you going to use your vehicle? Is it just a weekend toy for fun in the sun or will you pull a boat to water? And don’t just think about today, but also several years into the future. You don’t want to outgrow the cute little crossover or decide to adopt kids while paying off a red Miata.

Do your homework

Start with online sites that will help you narrow down the vehicle type, brand and price. Even if you already know what you want, sites can help determine a fair new vehicle price and value your used car. If you find a vehicle you love, but don’t love the price, consider certified pre-owned or an earlier model with low miles. Some good sites include,, and Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and automaker websites are also good sources.

Take the test drive

It’s easy to buy cars online today, but don’t skip the test drive. Schedule an appointment to avoid lengthy delays at the dealership. On the drive, pay attention to how the car rides, steers and brakes. Is the performance to your liking? Do you feel comfortable? If you have a kid, take the safety seat along. Is it easy to connect? Do pets and outdoor gear fit? Listen for strange noises. Move on if you can’t imagine enjoying it for many years.

Focus on price, not payment

Don’t let dealers divert your attention away from the price you’re ultimately paying or extend payments beyond 60 months. It is best to get pre-approved for a loan from your bank or credit union. Dealers can often offer better rates through in-house financing, but go prepared. Never get emotionally attached; walk away if you must. There will always be other dealers and vehicles. 

Buy from “family”

My family drives a Subaru, mainly because it is a good car, but also because the automaker is sincere in its outreach to the LGBTQ community. These days, almost all automakers welcome LGBTQ buyers and sponsor PRIDE events, but check local LGBTQ publications for dealer advertisements and liaisons as clues. Do business with somebody who appreciates you. We’re a catch – as long as we follow simple rules.

CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to, the area’s PBS/NPR station.

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