Buying a car can be tough. Sometimes the mere thought of visiting an auto dealership can leave your stomach into knots. The process of buying cars can appear intimidating. From the idea of haggling with salespeople or the high price tag that comes with buying a new car. Either way, I’m right there with you. It’s easy for a car buying afternoon to turn from necessity buying to an anxiety-driven event. Even for families like my own who live debt-free!
Whether you’re shopping for a new or used car, buying a car is a humongous purchase and one that’s always made me nervous. When my husband and I needed a new (or as I should say, new to us) car several years ago I was afraid it would cost us too much and I dreaded the entire process as a whole. But with just a bit of planning, research, and a few money-saving tips, I found the negotiation process easier than I ever thought possible. In fact, we were able to save over $5,000 on our new car purchase. Here are the five tips my family used to purchase their last car and how you can also use them to save money on your next car purchase too!
1) Always know your car shopping budget. When we bought our last car we had people tell us to let the salesperson know much we intended to spend on our next vehicle. Folks, let me tell you. This is the last thing you should do. Telling dealers how much you have allotted to spend on your next vehicle gives them a bar to push you to spend. Instead of sharing your budget at the dealership, be sure to keep that information close to the vest and if asked, steer your negotiation away from what you’ll be spending to what sort of deal the salesman is offering. Your budget is what you can spend not what you should spend on your next vehicle. Always be in a position of power when purchasing your next vehicle!
2) Research before you buy. With any major purchase, my family intends to make we spend a great deal of time pricing out, researching, and becoming knowledgeable in what the make and model of vehicle we wanted to buy. In fact, my husband and I spent months researching what we wanted before we set foot on a local car lot. We knew the price we were looking to spend and the size of car we wanted to the tee. We then shopped around at no less than a dozen dealerships over the span of several weeks before we narrowed our possible list of cars before buying. That helped us compare cars and narrow down the options to allow us eventually drive off the lot with a vehicle that cost several thousand less than we initially had invested in buying.
A bonus tip: Make up your mind before heading to the dealership not to buy on your any vehicle on your first trip to the dealership – no matter how good the deal is or how badly you want or need the car. Always give yourself 24 hours to mull over any car buying decision.
3) Know the best time to buy. Most people buy cars on a weekend. But this is a mistake. While it can be a pain to carve time out of your busy work week to trudge down to the dealership to test drive or purchase cars, its the best time to do so. Especially on Monday evenings between 6-8 pm, when dealerships employees are looking to make extra sales to boost weekly bonus earning reports that are generally due on Tuesday morning each week. In hopes of getting those last minute paycheck bonuses, salespersons are usually more apt to make deals Monday evenings making it a peak time to buy. Other great times to buy are in late May when offering major discounts on Memorial Day sales, at Halloween for full-size truck savings, early November for great deals on SUV’s, and the overall single greatest day each year for savings at used car dealerships, New Year’s Day. When dealers are trying to offload previous year’s makes and models and consumers will typically find slashed prices throughout the first day of each new year!
4) The delete button is your friend. Did you know that most dealerships offer online quotes and pricing guides? You are generally only a few clicks away from being able to negotiate with dealers from the privacy of your own home. It’s also good to remember that dealers love to make deals against one another. Be sure to keep your paper trail of email offers, cc in each dealer you correspond with, and let them know that you know where the true deals are to be had in town. This also goes for financing at most dealerships. Remember that cash is king and some dealerships will offer cash-only deals, and should you need to finance shop around at local credit unions before heading to the dealership to find the rates and terms that will fit your budget, not the dealerships bottom line. No matter how you intend to pay, remember to be patient with the process. Always be willing to walk away or to delete offers beyond your means.
5) Get savvy about trade-ins. One great way to lower the cost of buying your next vehicle is by using your current vehicle as trade-in capital on your next purchase. While you’re doing trade-in research, investigate cash-back offers on the vehicle you’re planning to purchase. Also, research which dealerships will allow you to stack savings, giving you high trade-in value, rebates on your new car, and well as provide you with tax rebate information as well. I have found that Cars.com is a great resource for learning about your potential trade-in value on your next purchase. Their website has a huge selection of information that will provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase all around. They provide reviews and essential information about a wide variety of different cars, and can give you an accurate detail of how much your trade-in will be worth too! This can help turn your current ride into new car success!
So those are the five tips my family used to seriously save on our last car purchase and may help you and your family do the same when you purchase your next vehicle too! Now I have to ask, have you tried Cars.com to research potential vehicle purchases? Or what are some of your favorite ways to save money when buying a new car? Have you ever paid for a car in all cash? I’d love to hear all about it below!