How Much Car Can I Afford?

How much do you need to make to RESPONSIBLY put that dream car in your driveway?

We all want a nice car. I mean, who doesn’t want a Rolls Royce or a BMW or a McLaren in their driveway? Hell, at about $35,000 a MINI Cooper John Cooper Works and Subaru WRX STI are lofty goals in their own rights. But, that begs the question, just how much car can you afford? Or, put another way, how much money do you need to make to buy that new BMW M4? Ferrari 488 GTB? Ford Focus RS? Lamborghini Aventador?


2016 Ferrari 488 GTB

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB

There’s a basic formula for that. What you can afford: Basically, your monthly car payment plus insurance shouldn’t be more than ten-percent of your gross monthly income. So, if your car payment plus insurance is $300 per month, you need to be making at least $3,000 that month. I put together a little table calculating out the costs and income needs for a bunch of price points. I’ve also made a few assumptions in terms of insurance, sales tax and down payment.

Here’s what I assumed for my half-assed car affordability calculator:

  • 15% Down Payment
  • 4% Interest on the Loan (I took the average rate from
  • 6% Sales Tax
  • 60-Month Financing (the national average according to Forbes)
  • And, $150 per month insurance. (I know more expensive cars have more expensive insurance, but it was easier to just estimate the national average from If you’re buying a $150,000 and can’t handle another $100 per month, you shouldn’t be buying the car anyway.)



How Much Car Can You Afford? Makeshift Car Affordability Calculator.

PriceDown-PaymentMonthly PaymentMonthly Payment + InsuranceMonthly Income NeededAnnual Income Needed

So, How Much Do You Need to Make to Buy that Car?

Lamborghini Aventador SVHow much do you need to make for that Ferrari 488 GTB ($242,000)? About $550,000 a year. BMW M4 ($65,700)? Gonna have to rake in about $160k for a base model, $200k for a loaded version. A Lamborghini Aventador $399,500) in your driveway is going to take $803,400 in your bank account each year. Ouch. Good news is that you “only” need around $90,000 per year for that $36,775 Ford Focus RS.




Kinda make a guy appreciate leasing. But, that’s a-whole-nother issue.


Yay, bad financial decisions! 

Author: Nick Glasnovich

Founder & Executive Editor of

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