This article is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.

In America, October through January is a time of celebration, family, fun, and expenses. Lots and lots of expenses. With the cost of events, gifts, travel and cost of living, many families will be feeling the budget crunch before springtime.

Those looking to buy a car during this time can be overwhelmed by the process. Luckily Navy Federal Credit Union is here to help, exclusively supporting military members, veterans, and their family members with unparalleled financial tools since 1933.

The first question any responsible car buyer wants answered is how much vehicle they can afford. Navy Federal’s Auto Loan calculator will help you see what your car payment could be. Plug in your estimated loan amount, interest rate and term, to see whether the monthly payment will fit your budget.

If your score isn’t the best, don’t worry! Navy Federal offers its members great tips on how to increase your credit score, like making regular payments and lowering your credit utilization.

Remember, the higher your credit score is, the better (lower) your loan interest rate will likely be. A very poor credit rating is 300-579 (out of 850). Anything over 800 is great!

Once you’ve set your budget, the next step is to decide what vehicle you want to buy. Navy Federal’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar1, allows you to get upfront price offers on new and used vehicles before stepping foot in a dealership.

So how does it work?

First, you decide whether you want a new or used vehicle and pick the make you’re looking for. Acuras to Fords, everything is covered. Select from the available models and customize the features and options to your preference. From there, you can see what others paid for similar vehicles and get an upfront price offer from a local Certified Dealer.

Not sure which options are right for you? You could also let the Car Buying Service do the work, selecting interior and exterior colors, preferred accessory packages, and best of all, showing you the price increases for premium options as you build your dream vehicle search. There’s no guesswork.

If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, Navy Federal’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar, allows you to search and compare vehicles from dealers nationwide.

For Navy Federal members, bonus incentive offers are also available on select makes and models by brand.

Once you’ve found the perfect set of wheels, then it’s time to check out Navy Federal’s great rates on auto loans. You can even apply for a preapproved auto loan, so you know how much you can spend before you shop.

So, let Navy Federal put the joy back in your season this year and leave the car-buying stress at the curb, to focus on what’s really important.

Happy Holidays from our family at Navy Federal Credit Union.

1TrueCar operates the Navy Federal Car Buying Service. Navy Federal is not responsible for any purchase, lease or service provided by or through the Navy Federal Car Buying Service.