A car can be one of the biggest expenses in your life, so chances are, you’re going to want to save whatever money you can without sacrificing quality. There are a few ways that you might overspend, so it’s important that you keep an eye on the most important cost saving measures. Check out these tips if you’re hoping to get a great deal next time you’re in the market for a car.
- Consider a pre-owned vehicle. When you’re hoping for a cool new ride, it may not immediately occur to you that a used car could suit your needs. After all, there’s nothing quite like that new car smell, or the excitement of driving a brand-new car off the lot. But both those things will fade quickly – and the dent in your bank account won’t. A one year-old $30,000 car, like a 2019 Subaru Forester, can be up to $9000 cheaper. That’s 30%!
- Shop around at different dealerships. Not all dealerships are equal in their pricing, and there can be markups for locations perceived to be more luxurious. If you’re not in the market for a used car, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a good deal on your new ride. If you’re on the hunt for a luxurious European car in Arizona, consider an Audi dealership near you in a smaller town rather than going straight for one in central Phoenix.
- Pay attention to features and details. The price tag you see at the dealership is not the end of the story. Cars require regular maintenance, along with weekly gas fill-ups, that can increase the cost of owning a car significantly. Check out whether the cars you’re interested in have any cost-saving features, like high mpg, or are very reliable, which will save you money on repairs. Though maybe a Jeep may strike a cooler profile, a similar Toyota crossover will likely save you a lot of money in maintenance in the long run.
- Be sure to get a bank or credit union loan. Car dealerships often offer in-house financing. While this may seem attractive because of the reduced hassle of dealing with all the features of your car purchase in the same location, you could end up spending much more on a higher interest loan. A bank or credit union will get you a preferable interest rate – plus, if you’ve already got a means to pay the dealership outright, you might be able to negotiate a better deal. That brings us to the next tip.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Car dealerships are in the business of making money, so they are not going to give you the best possible deal right out the gate. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for the first quote you get though. When you go into the dealership, don’t let the salesperson rush you into a decision you might regret. Take things slow, and be sure to give yourself time to think. Maybe after you test-drive the car, leave and tell the dealership you’ll have a decision tomorrow. This could give you some leverage in negotiations.
- Get the car’s history checked out. If you’re buying a used car, be sure to have the dealer run the car’s VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. This will show you whether the car has been in any accidents that the dealer didn’t know about or care to bring up, and whether the odometer has been tampered with. You should be very suspicious of any dealership that hesitates to provide you with this information.
- Check the resale value. This is especially important if you’re buying a new car, as the depreciation rate is much steeper, but still applies to used car buyers. Chances are, that vehicle won’t last you forever, and when you’re in the market again for another car, you’ll want to be able to get a head start in paying it off by selling or trading in your old car. Making sure the cars you’re shopping for have a respectable resale value is the best way to ensure you’ll get your money’s worth further on down the road.
Overall, remember to make a budget and stick to it. Remember these tips, and save money on that new ride!