First-time automobile purchaser? Right here’s what you ought to be budgeting for.

Proudly owning a car prices extra than simply the month-to-month fee. Be sure you finances for all the working bills, as effectively.

If enhancing your monetary literacy is one in every of this yr’s objectives, CPA Canada might help sharpen these spending and saving habits. Previous articles on this sequence explored the true value of getting a child and changing into a pet guardian. Right here we’re leveraging the monetary experience of CPAs and different professionals to make clear each the anticipated and surprising prices of automobile possession. 


Whenever you begin to buy a automobile, there are a couple of preliminary choices to make, together with new or used and electrical or gasoline powered. One other alternative is whether or not to purchase or lease. 

“In case you discuss in regards to the distinction, on the finish of the day, buying is about possession,” says CPA Ryan Hillstead, a associate with Grant Thornton LLP in Regina.

No matter whether or not you lease or personal your subsequent car, or if it’s new or used, gasoline or electrical, you’ll must put aside a month-to-month finances for ongoing prices. 


Probably the most apparent working prices for a gas-powered car is gasoline. “Gasoline is sort of an costly and risky commodity,” says Hillstead.

“Costs are clearly altering in comparison with a yr in the past,” says Kristine D’Arbelles, director, public affairs with the Canadian Vehicle Affiliation (CAA) in Ottawa. “Utilizing compact automobiles for instance, driving 20,000-km a yr, proper now gasoline costs can add as much as $2,000 a yr on common.” 

There are on-line instruments out there, corresponding to CAA’s Driving Price Calculator, that may enable you decide your probably month-to-month prices, based mostly on the make and mannequin of the automobile and mileage, together with gasoline, depreciation, upkeep, license and registration, and insurance coverage. 

Insurance coverage is obligatory and might fluctuate broadly relying on the make and mannequin of car and jurisdiction. Anticipate to pay on the very minimal $1,200 a yr. If leasing a automobile, there could also be further protection necessities, says Hillstead. “For instance, my regular insurance coverage coverage doesn’t cowl off sure issues corresponding to windshields. Which may require a bit of additional insurance coverage,” he says.

Add to that license and registration charges which common round $120 a yr. 


“Upkeep might be everywhere,” says D’Arbelles. “The yearly common is about $1,000 for a compact automobile for scheduled upkeep corresponding to oil adjustments, filter replacements, tire adjustments and wipers.”

Upkeep prices shall be larger with a pre-owned car, says David Robins, principal automotive analyst and head of Canadian Car Valuations at Canadian Black Guide in Mississauga. “With a used automobile, you might be often going to be larger up within the upkeep cycle, as some gadgets, like brake pads and rotors, shall be sporting out sooner and wish alternative.”

If leasing a automobile, among the upkeep prices could also be lined underneath the lease settlement and you may ask for readability about that on the time of buy. Whereas that could be the case, mileage penalties for going over the allotted allowance might be heavy, cautions CPA Lloyd Monteith of Monteith Enterprises Restricted in London, Ont.

Hillstead notes that, most of the time, month-to-month lease funds shall be lower than different financing plans. “It’s a bit cheaper from a money move standpoint. However you don’t get the fairness on the finish.”

One factor to bear in mind with hybrid and electrical autos (EVs) is that, whereas the sticker worth could also be larger, gasoline and scheduled upkeep prices may very well be decrease, on condition that they don’t require gasoline or oil and filter adjustments. “As an alternative of spending $2,000 a yr on gasoline, you’re most likely spending lower than a few hundred [dollars] for the electrical invoice, relying on the place you might be charging your automobile,” says D’Arbelles. 

Hillstead says he paid a couple of five-per-cent premium for his hybrid car. “Like several accountant, I did my calculations to seek out the break-even level. It ended up being about 4 years.”   

Relying on the province, there might also be incentives that may mitigate the prices. Federal level of sale incentives for EVs, for instance, vary from $2,500 to $5,000. 

Patrons of electrical autos ought to take into account an EV charging station for the house, says Robins. Relying on what stage of charging station you go for, these run round $1,500 on common, plus set up. 


“The largest value in automobile possession is definitely depreciation,” says Robins. 

He notes that the overwhelming majority of depreciation takes place over the primary 5 years of possession. “The following 5 years, the depreciation issue is much decrease. Which means the longer you may maintain a automobile working on the street in good situation, the much less you’ll find yourself spending.” 

Relying in your utilization and placement, parking charges might be wherever from zero, when you reside in a rural neighborhood, to a couple hundred {dollars} a month in city environments the place parking is at a premium.

Additionally, remember to consider seasonal tire adjustments in addition to curiosity on cash borrowed, when you financed your car buy.   


No matter what kind of auto and fee choice you go along with, keep in mind to do as a lot analysis as you may and ask numerous questions. And, most significantly, plan for the surprising and depart a little bit of a cushion in your month-to-month finances. It’s one of the best ways to make sure you drive comfortable.


In search of extra budgeting ideas? Learn CPA Canada’s useful guide, A Canadian’s information to money-smart residing

Plus, learn how a lot it prices to personal a pet, and take a look at CPA Canada’s guide, Infants: afford your bundle of pleasure, to see what bills you may count on whenever you welcome a brand new child. 

Supply hyperlink