3 tips to finding the right car for you

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cars.com. The opinions and text are all mine.

Shopping for a car can either being really exciting or really stressful. You can finally be getting the car of your dreams or having to suddenly replace one because of an accident. 

The latter situation happened to me in 2015. A lawn care truck just backed into me in the middle of the road, because he missed his left turn. Next thing you know, my car was totaled.

ALSO READ: 3 Things I Learned After A Car Accident

I wasn't in the market to get a new car, but suddenly, I immediately needed to get one.

1. Budget

The first thing I needed to do was decide how much I could actually afford. My last car was paid-in-full, so I wasn't really willing to take on new debt for this replacement car. Once I got the final assessment for what the insurance would pay me for my damages, I then looked into my savings account and pulled money from there to reach my total spending budget.

2. Research

My totaled car was a luxury car - an Infinity FX35. It was in pristine condition with less than 100,000 miles; but it was a 2005 model - a 10 year-old car. So, I didn't get equal value from the insurance claim, and with the addition to my added savings, I knew that I could not get another luxury car.
Or so I thought.
I started looking a mid-range cars, but just couldn't see myself driving any of them.
Using a resource like Cars.com, I was able to see that if I was willing to compromise and get a car that was a few years old, I could still drive a luxury car.

Cars.com offers written and video reviews on a wide selection, that are straight forward. So, if a car is crap, then they'll let you know straight up. 

3. Key factors

Much to my surprise, I was able to track down a low-mileage BMW that was 3 years-old. It was still under the manufacturers warranty and the model I got included special upgrades. It's a pretty slick car and my friends get a kick that I call it "my replacement car."

Are you in the market for a car? Let us know!

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