Title one of the left pages in your notebook with the title above. Follow the instructions below exactly. Note that each of the ten things your have to record in your notebook is numbered in red.

Write down (in your notebook) the make and model of a new car you would like to buy today if you had the resources (1). Keep it something less than $100,000, please.

Now, look up your chosen car's MSRP and invoice prices using one of the following services. (You might want to look to see if the auto maker is currently offering any rebates or other incentives.)

MSN Autos at http://autos.msn.com/ Motor Trend Magazine Edmunds at www.edmunds.com
Cars.com at www.cars.com (click "research") Autoweb.com  

Now write down your chosen car's MSRP and invoice price, with all optional equipment (2). Add five percent (5%) to the invoice price and write that down (3).

Now, if you currently own a car go to the Kelly Blue Book site (or the NADA site) and calculate the trade in value of your present car. [If you don't have a trade-in, skip this step.] Write down that trade in value (4), then subtract it from the invoice + 5% price you calculated above. Write down the difference (5).

Now add TT&L (tax, title and license). The tax will be 8.25% of the purchase price (which is the new car price minus the value of your trade, if any). Write down that amount (6). Then write down $150 for title and license fees (7). Add these two amount to the purchase price of the car; write down this sum (8). This is the amount of money you must come up with. You probably need a loan, right?

Go to the payment calculator at cars.com. Click on "Check Local Rates." Find the cheapest rate you can get on a 48 month new car loan at a listed bank in the Houston area. Write down the loan rate and the bank's name (9).

Plug that information back into the loan calculator. Assume a down payment of zero.

Report your monthly payment in your notebook (10).