Free New Car Savings Tracker: How to Save for a Car Fast

Car savings tracker printable free pdf template

This free printable car savings tracker will have you behind the wheel of a new ride before you know it! Use the step-by-step guide and unique tips to save for a car faster than you thought possible.

How to Save Up for a Car

Here are 5 clear steps for how to start saving for a car.

1. Decide What You Need

Different lifestyles require different vehicles. Perhaps you have a big family or need to drive long distances. First, narrow your search down to car types that fit your needs.

Understand needs vs wants! This can be tricky, but remember that a new $80,000 vehicle may satisfy your needs exactly the same as a used $30,000 reliable one.

2. Set a Budget

Next, look at your income, expenses, debt, and savings. Be honest with yourself, and make sure that buying your car won’t sacrifice your other financial goals. Then, narrow down your search to the best options that fit within your budget.

Don’t forget about the “extra expenses” that come with buying a new car: insurance costs, registration, gas, maintenance, and property taxes. Total car expenses shouldn’t exceed 15-20% of your paycheck.

Compare car insurance rates >>

How to save for a car with a free printable money savings tracker

3. Set a Car Savings Goal

Aim for at least 10-20% on a downpayment. The more money you can put down, the better deal you’ll get! Every dollar you’ve saved up front means:

  • hundreds or thousands less you’ll have to pay in interest
  • potentially lower interest rates
  • more affordable monthly payments

Now that you have set your car budget, decide on one large savings goal. Then, break it down into manageable short-term goals – weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

For example, if you want to save $5,000 in 5 months, you’ll need to save $1,000 a month.

Pro Tip: Understanding what you can afford is the best step in setting a savings goal! You don’t want your monthly car payments to exceed 10% of your take-home pay. Use a car loan calculator to get a better idea.

4. Set Up a Savings Account

Set up a dedicated savings account for your car savings. Make sure it is separate from your other money.

Pro Tip: Online banks tend to pay out much higher than traditional ones. Shop around!

5. Make Saving Automatic

Finally, set up a direct deposit so that your car savings comes straight from your paycheck or checking account to your new car fund. This sinking fund category ensures that you consistently set aside money. Then, use your new car savings tracker printable to see your progress.

Best Saving Strategies to Boost Your Car Fund

Save on these things and then redirect to your car savings for an instant boost.

A piggy bank with coins spilling out, a jar labeled "car fund", a calendar with marked savings goals, and a stack of budgeting books, Best way to save for a car

Do an Expense Audit

This is crucial for picking up on spending that’s holding you back. Most of us forget about subscriptions we no longer use. Or never realize we’re grossly overpaying for insurance. An expense audit could be the only thing you need to find hundreds of dollars in the blink of an eye.

Pro Tip: Make your audit a money date with your spouse or yourself. Grab a treat and put on fun background music

Earn Extra Job Income

Increasing your income can often be faster than scrimping and saving. It’s a secret weapon for supercharging your new car fund! And luckily, there are different ways to choose from:

Check out more: how to make $500 quickly >>

Sell Stuff

Most of us own things we’ll never use. Or we’ve used it once! Declutter your belongings and sell what you don’t need anymore. With one yard sale or selling frenzy on Facebook, you could put hundreds in your car savings fund.

Related: Declutter Challenge for 30 Days

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score affects the interest rate on your loan. A high credit score will give you the best rates, which saves you lots of money over the term of the loan. As you save, check your score and see what you can do to give it a boost.

Make a Low or No Spend Rule

Challenge yourself to not spend or only spend on essentials for a short amount of time. This will rewire your spending habits and also build a significant cash stash in a short time.

Save on Food

Food is one of the biggest expenses we have. If you can save money here, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your car savings goal.

  • Stop Eating Out So Much
  • Try a Pantry Challenge to waste less food
  • Switch grocery stores. This could save you hundreds without lifting a finger.
  • Only warehouse shop for things you need. “Saving” on a bucket of chocolate isn’t saving – it’s just eating more chocolate.

Make a Clear Car Fund savings plan

Don’t just willy-nilly this thing! Use a percentage-based budget to help you with your overall budget. The 50 30 20 budget rule is a plan that guides you to save 20% of your take-home pay. It’s a balanced way to feel like you’re still covering your needs and wants while saving for the future.

  • 50% for needs: housing, food, and transportation — (once you buy your car, monthly car payment and related auto expenses will fit in here)
  • 30% for wants: entertainment, travel, eating out, etc.
  • 20% for savings: paying off debts, saving for your car, and other financial goals.

Put Your Savings in a High-Interest Savings Account

Traditional banks pay horrendous interest rates. By shopping around for an online bank, you can make loads more in interest. And you won’t have to do any work once it’s set up.

Use Your Network to Get Creative

Team up with the people around you to save!

  • Share streaming accounts
  • Carpool to work
  • Move in with someone and split the rent

Get creative to save and you’ll have the car keys in your hands before you know it.

How to Save on Buying the Car

Next, this section covers a few ways to get the best deal and make sure you’re taking advantage of extra cash options.

car buying tips: new car savings tracker free pdf printable template

Sell the Car You Have

Selling or trading in your current vehicle could provide a significant boost to your car savings. In my experience, selling privately gets a better price for your car, but check this out for yourself too.

Explore Financing Options

When you are ready to buy your new car, you have several financing options. You could…

  • do a traditional bank loan
  • opt for financing through the car dealership
  • or look into credit unions or online financial services for potentially better rates

It pays to look around and find the best rates!

Related: Free Car Buying Checklist: Step By Step Guide to purchasing!

Understand Financing Terms

Shorter-term loans, like 36 months, offer lower interest rates but come with higher monthly payments. They’ll save you more money, but you need to make sure you can afford the monthly payment.

Extended loan terms (60+ months) will lower your monthly payment but probably result in paying more interest in total. Often, borrowers will try to convince you to take longer terms because they make more money from you this way.

Remember: A larger down payment means you won’t have to borrow as much. This can help with both the term and the amount of interest you’ll pay. It’s why it’s so beneficial to save ahead!

Car Savings Tracker challenge

It’s time! Challenge yourself to save for your goal! Putting positive pressure on your efforts will give you motivation to follow through. These “savings sprints” help you stay focused!

Free Printable Car Savings Tracker

Next, grab the car savings challenge pdf and get started! To start, write your big savings goal and the due date. Then, divide your number by 20 to get your short savings milestones. Each time you hit a new goal, fill in your thermometer.

Car savings tracker printable free pdf template

Common Q & As

Next, here are straight answers to your most common questions!

What percentage of your savings should you spend on a car?

This depends on your overall life goals and lifestyle. However, never spend so much on a car that you sacrifice on your other financial goals. Buying a car should never come in the way of retirement, debt, a home downpayment, kids college, or anything else you’re working hard to accomplish.

What is the best savings account for a car?

Most likely an online high-yield savings account. If you have enough time to save, check into certificates of deposit. These are still relatively safe, but often pay higher interest rates if you lock into a set amount of time.

How do you save for a car in 3 months?

Get focused! Check out this article on how to save $5000 in 3 months to help!

How much should I save each month for a car?

This number is up to your savings goal. When you find your overall number, divide it by the months you have to save before buying your car.

For example, if I need $5,000 and I have 7 months, I’ll save about $714 a month.

How do you save for a car with a low income?

If your income is low, raising it will give you the biggest bang for your effort. Think outside the box with part-time gigs, creative side hustles, or even moving to a cheaper location.

What’s Next?

Remember, every small step you take leads to big leaps over time!

Do you have other big savings goals? Try these other free trackers and money saving challenges:

Free Car Savings Tracker Pdf

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