Everyone has a dream car – the one you would buy if you won the lottery. That car that you had to trade in for a minivan when you decided to have kids. That car that would fill you with joy every time that you drove it. For many people, that car lives only in their dreams. Life happens, priorities change, and the automobile of your dreams becomes more and more like a mere fantasy.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The car of your dreams might be closer than you think. With the right moves and a few key decisions, you can be well on your way to buying – and even affording! – your dream car. Check out the list below for everything you need to know to buy your ideal vehicle, laid out in three simple steps.

  1. Understand What You’re Investing In

The first thing you need to understand about buying your dream car – and keep in mind throughout the buying process – is that no matter how much it costs upfront, it will likely still lose value over time. Unless you’re buying an extremely rare or vintage car, it is very likely that its value will depreciate and will be worth less in five years than it was when you first bought it.

So, obviously, the investment you are making when you buy that vehicle is not for financial gain and future wealth. You’re investing in yourself; you’re investing in fun. Once you get comfortable with this idea, you’ll find it easier to start saving the money needed to buy your car.

  1. Invest and Save With Longevity in Mind

When you begin saving, it is important to be realistic and set achievable goals. Realize that it won’t happen overnight, or even over the course of a year. The best thing you can do is set that money aside and let it grow over time – and don’t touch it! When you make your investments and savings plans, do so with the expectation that it could be a five to ten year process.

In that same vein, if you’re going to invest some money to put towards your dream car – and you should – you need to know how the market works. Namely, you need to understand that the market fluctuates from day to day, but overall increases over longer periods of time. That means that even if your stock loses value or a day or two, don’t sell! It will recover and grow over time. Eventually, after a few years of growth, you’ll be able to sell it and put that money towards the automobile you’ve always wanted.

Lastly, when it comes to savings, take a look around your home. Are you spending money regularly on things you don’t need? What will you do with your current runaround after you buy that dream car? Selling your current vehicle can be a great way to get that last little bit of money you need. If you’re having trouble selling it, try using a car removal service – they’ll buy any car for a fair deal.

  1. Don’t Jump at the First Offer

Once you have enough money to buy your car, it can be hard to fight the urge to rush out and buy it right away, but be patient. You’ve waited this long, and it will be well worth it to wait a little longer. Take time to do your research and find exactly what you want.

This could mean you scour the internet, go to car shows, follow up on newspaper ads, or go to a specialty dealer. Once you find it, don’t just jump at the first offer. Make sure that you are getting a fair price and the car is in good repair. Take your time to make sure that the car you buy really is a dream, andis worth all that you’ve invested.