Money management professionals insist you never should spend more than 10% of your take-home pay on car payments, and you never should spend more than 15% of your monthly net on the total cost of operating your vehicle. When you apply for a home mortgage or other kinds of consumer credit, lenders will hold you accountable to those guidelines. You frequently will read, “Cars are terrible investments”; in fact, they are not investments at all, because they depreciate almost at the speed of light, and they drain your bank account in at least a dozen ways. In fact, the longer you look at the real costs of car-ownership, the more attractive bicycles and public transportation become. Therefore, as you shop for and purchase a car, approach the whole process with extreme caution. When in doubt, no matter how old you are, take your father with you.