• SmartMoney

Should I Buy Two Cars at Once?

Question: I need to buy two vehicles in the next four months. Would it be better to make these purchases all at once or stagger them? I plan to have one paid off within two years.

– Willie Brown, Manassas, Va.

Answer: Two cars is a good chunk of change. While individual situations always vary, a general conservative rule of thumb is to keep nonmortgage debt (such as car or credit card payments) to no more than 15 percent of your take-home pay, says Robert Swift, CEO of TCI Wealth Advisors in Tucson, Ariz. As for staggering your purchases, experts say there’s not much advantage to that beyond a few months of cash flow relief. In fact, you might be able to negotiate a better price if you buy both vehicles from the same dealer, potentially saving several thousand bucks,
says Swift.

Copyright 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit