Monday, November 8, 2010

Top Ways to Save Money When Buying a Car

Guest post by Elysabeth Teeko -

It's hard to find a new car unappealing, especially when you're driving around in a vehicle that is a few years old, has a stain on the floorboard, and may be in need of maintenance. When the new car bug bites, you need a solid plan to buy the car you want at a price you can afford. Here are a few tips to help you get the best deal.

Do Your Research

There's nothing wrong with buying a new car, but you need to know that it loses value the minute you drive it off the lot. Unless, you negotiate with the power of a pro, you'll pay more than you should. The following things can help you lower the price tag.
  • Know the dealer's cost for the car and negotiate up from there rather than starting at the sticker value, or the MRSP value.
  • Wait until the end of the month when dealerships and sales professionals may be willing to make better new car deals in order to hit company goals and bonuses.
  • Don't be afraid to walk away if you can't get the savings you want on a car. Another dealership may be in need of sales and offer you the price you want.

Find Deals on Used Cars

Buying a used car means you've saved money, because somebody else already paid the depreciation of the vehicle. While many people used to think all used cars were lemons, buyers can now take advantage of a variety of tools to get the best deal.

  • Use a car reporting service, like Carfax to verify the history of a vehicle. This takes the guessing out of the game and can help you avoid cars that will eat into your savings.
  • Shop for Certified Pre-owned vehicles from dealerships. When you buy from a dealer, you can usually get some type of warranty to help protect you against unforeseen car trouble.
  • Get the car inspected before you agree to purchase the vehicle. While this costs money up front, it can save you hundreds of dollars on car repairs.

Offer to Pay Cash

It might surprise you to know what type of car deals you can get if you offer to pay cash. While this is more common with private sales, cash can still have an influence on a dealership. If you want to see the negotiation power of cash, keep a few things in mind.

  • Don't walk around with cash in your pocket. Most sellers will accept a cashier's check or certified funds in place of cash. The phrase refers to paying for the car in full rather than financing it.
  • Call ahead and ask to speak with a salesperson or the seller. Find out what deals you can get if you pay cash.
  • Calculate how much money you can save by paying for the car in full rather than financing it. In most cases, you'll save hundreds of dollars.

When you understand the best ways to negotiate a car sale, you can walk away with more than a new car: You can walk away with saved money.


  1. I recently was forced into buying a new car! I want to add to what you are saying. I did want to say as well that we chose NOT to get a used car, having had lots of used cars we ended up with someone else headaches and a lot of repairs. Having said this if you do go to a car dealership be sure you know what you are in for! My husband and I did the research and knew what we wanted and what our budget was. We learned a few things too! First there is very little wiggle room for negotiations so make sure you are tenacious and don't sign ANYTHING until you get what you want! If the dealership is not willing to work with you than don't be afraid to go somewhere else! Also let the salesman know that you don't want your plates taken off your car until you have made the deal!!!
    Be PREPARED to stay a few hours! It took my husband and I two dealerships and five hours to get the payment and interest rate down!Even with excellent credit dealerships are NOT negotiating like they used to!
    Don't be afraid to tell the dealership what you want and what you are willing to pay. If they can't accommodate you then again don't hesitate to leave!
    The salesman may smooth talk you in the front showroom but the real wheeling and dealing goes on in the other room! This is the room where they pressure you into additional warranties and so forth! Don't be afraid to say NO to extra things you don't want!You can still walk out of the deal if you have too! Remember don't sign anything unless it's what you want!! Long story short by being persistent and by NOT playing the game the dealerships play my husband and I bought a 2011 car for a 2010 price! We were offered a ridiculous 9% interest rate with our excellent credit. When we refused that they went down to 6% we also refused that and negotiated our interest rate down to 4.99%. It took some doing and even those dealerships offering 0% are a joke! The old Bait and Switch is more prominent now than ever especially when companies want your business but are NOT willing to offer much in the way of discounts or even make good on their offers! It pays to compare and it pays to take your time when buying a car!

  2. May I also suggest knowing what your trade-in is worth before you shop. Go to the Kelley Blue Book site to get a good figure. Sometimes new car dealers will give you a cheaper purchase price on a new car, but they'll pay you less for your trade-in instead. It may be worthwhile for you to sell your trade-in privately instead of to the new car dealer--you'll get more money for it that way.

  3. Fortunately, I went through all the steps you suggest in the article. In 2004 I went online and had my car brought down from a parking lot in Raleigh, N.C. They charged me $150.00 for transporting it and knocked off the $150.00 when it got here and I agreed to buy it. It was a 2002 Nissan Sentra. It had only 1,700 miles on it and cleared Carfax beautifully. I bought it at CarMax dealerships. I think God just had it sitting there waiting for me. Now it still only has 14,000 on it and runs just as great as it did then. Thank you for your article Pat, and the good posts on it from others' comments.

  4. I am planning an eco-friendly baby shower for my sister, and, trying so hard to think of different things to do. Anyway...... I came up with a wishing well where each guest will be asked to bring one organic jar of baby food, but I don't know how to present it in invitations or at the shower? I searched and searched the internet and could NOT find anything to help, hoping you ladies can!!!!!!