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Your car budgeting and financing questions, answered.

How Much Car Can You Afford | CarMax

What car can I afford? How much car can I afford? These are questions we hear pretty often from our customers. If you’re curious about budgeting, financing, and buying your next car, we can help!

Check out these car budgeting tips, financing articles, and best cars for the money buying guides so you’ll have a better idea of how much you can comfortably spend on your next car purchase.

Car financing: budgeting for your next vehicle

How Much Car Can You Afford | CarMax

We’re not financial advisors, but at CarMax, we share common tips with our customers to help them with budgeting and so they can make a purchase with less stress and more confidence.

Arming yourself with knowledge about financing a car will help you to feel in control when it’s time to make your purchase. And, when you know how much you have to spend, you’ll have sturdy guardrails to help you stay on track!

Car payment calculator

How Much Car Can You Afford: Car Payment Calculator | CarMax

The online calculator we offer customers is easy to use — and it’s free to use, too. Just plug in the price of a vehicle, and click the box to include estimated title cost, taxes, and fees for the state where you live. Then plug in your estimate for an annual percentage rate on the amount you’ll finance.

Finally, adjust the sliders for down payment, and monthly payment to estimate your car payment or finance terms.

This will give you an estimate of the amount you’ll need for your purchase, and what your monthly payment could look like.

Why your down payment matters

A down payment is the amount of cash or trade equity you pay up front when you finance a car or truck. At CarMax, we encourage customers to make a down payment when they finance with us. A down payment of even $100 is better than not making a down payment. Why? Because your down payment reduces the amount you finance with us — and this in turn can affect the size of your monthly payment.

In addition to sharing the importance of down payments during a car purchase, this article shares the four main factors taken into account during an auto finance credit decision.

How auto financing works

Hundreds of thousands of customers finance their car purchases with us each year, and we’ve answered a lot of questions about auto financing. Customers have concerns about credit ratings, about how to get pre-qualified, and whether they can bring their own financing when it’s time to purchase a car, truck, or SUV.

This article answers 10 of the most common car financing questions we hear from our customers.

Once you’ve got a good idea of how much car you can afford, you can check out these top-selling cars for the money!

  • Best Cars for the Money - Here are two dozen of our top-selling cars from January 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018 with average prices from $10,000 to $35,000.1
  • Used Car Pricing Guide - Here you’ll find the price ranges for some of our top-selling vehicles from January 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018.2 Some of these cars and trucks may have CarMax prices that are below and above these ranges depending on model year, trim, and available features.
  • Best Cars Under $30,000 - Our 10 best used cars with average prices under $30,000, based on CarMax sales data from December 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.3 Certain model years and upper trim configurations may bring the prices of some of these vehicles over $30,000.
  • Best Used Cars - Based on sales in 2017 and the first half of 2018, these are 115 of our best-selling used cars, including AWD sedans, SUVs, minivans, and muscle cars!

1Based on average prices on carmax.com from January 1, 2018 to April 30, 2018. Actual prices may vary based on your selected features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
2Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees. Price ranges based on the middle 50% of prices for our top selling years/makes/models from January 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018.
3Based on average prices on carmax.com from December 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018. Actual prices may vary based on your selected features and trim packages. Prices do not include taxes, tags, titles, and any applicable fees.
Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.