Driving a new car can be a great experience, but paying for it is a lousy one. To balance the need for a new car against your financial resources, consider a three-month waiting period before buying a new car.
No, this isn't advice about impulse buying, but rather getting used to the burden of monthly payments. Once you have an idea which car you want, figure out your monthly payments for that car (remember to include insurance). Take that money out of your bank account for three continuous months. Setting up a separate savings account for this money is a smart idea.
After the three months, see if you can afford the payments. If so, then buy the car. Bonus: you'll have money for some of the down payment saved up. If not, then you know the timing isn't right and you can use the saved money to help pay maintenance costs to keep the old car running.
Check out the link for other considerations when deciding whether to buy a new car or stick with your old one.
Keep Your Clunker or Buy a New Car [The Motley Fool]