Budgets are one thing you do not want to mess with. What may seem like a few harmless dollars out of your comfort zone could easily spiral into stressed finances, delayed payments and major monetary headaches. Needless to say, keeping to a pre-set budget is key when shopping for new or used cars, but that's getting tougher to do as new car prices climb.
New car prices are too high for many
Requisite Press, LLC recently released its Auto Buyer's Affordability Index for December 2014. According to the report, the latest figures show that a median-income household in the U.S. can only afford 51.3 percent of the average price of a new car
That represents a 3.2 percent drop from the month before, thanks in large part to a sharp jump in the average price of new light vehicles. This increase is at least partially due to lower gas prices and accessible credit offers, which are making it easier for a wide variety of drivers to get behind the wheel of cars.
"All the stars aligned in December to push new-car prices higher," said Phil Kelton, president of Requisite Press. "However, affordability is likely to continue improving in 2015 as pricing pressures increase, assuming continued income growth."
USA Today reported that high used car prices
are also contributing to the problem. Because these pre-owned options are relatively expensive, dealerships can continue to sell new models at higher price points.
Finding ways to cut costs
The sticker price of vehicles may be high, but there are still ways drivers can save on car care. One of the most popular methods for this is preventative maintenance. This is essentially for both new and used cars, as it can keep an automobile function at a high level even as the miles begin adding up.
Drivers should begin by getting a standard car tune up
at a local auto repair franchise
. At this time, they can set up a record of all of the vehicle's servicing and repairs, which will enable owners to track all the work that's been done and what needs to be completed in the future. Whether motorists find they're behind on their tire alignment
or oil changes, they may be surprised by all of the manageable tasks that can improve the car's function.