Other than purchasing a home, the automobile you choose will likely be the largest purchase that you make. Of course, we all dream of driving a decked-out, brand-new ride that will impress everyone. That, however, is not the path to go down if you are on a budget. And since most American consumers are doing what they can to save money these days, it is smart to know how to save a little (or a lot) of money on your next automobile purchase.
Here are some tried and true tips that will help you to get the most for your car-buying dollar and to help you get the right car at a price that you can live with:
Negotiate your Vehicle Price First Thing
Car deals are a bit more complex than most people expect. There is the price of the new ride, financing, incentives and even credit for your trade-in that must be taken into account during the transaction. With these things in mind, it is best to try to compartmentalize all of these mini-transactions in your head, but that can be difficult. Before you begin negotiating any other aspect of getting a new car, settle on the price. This is the most important aspect, and without an agreed upon sale price, you cannot make good decisions on any of the other aspects of the sale that we just mentioned.
Get a Quote Online Prior to Visiting the Dealer Lot
Many of the car dealers doing business today have websites that allow you to browse, and even haggle a bit online. Every dealer site is different, but you should definitely go online to do a bit of pre-car-buying planning before you head out the door. Find a dealership that will allow you to get a quote on the car you want before you visit in person. Many times, people feel too much pressure on the lot, and wind up making snap purchasing decisions. Getting a quote online helps to keep things clear, on track and moving in the right direction.
If Possible Make a Down Payment
Saving money is not always easy. In fact, it can be almost impossible for some. But if you know that you’ll be purchasing a car in the next 3 to 12 months, do what you can to put some money away for a down payment; as much as you can afford. Putting money down on your car allows you to take out a smaller loan. Taking out a smaller loan allows you some wiggle room with regards to monthly payment costs and interest rates. Finally, owing less on your car loan allows you to own the vehicle – free and clear – faster than if you finance the entire purchase price.
Don’t just purchase a car from a dealership because it is the closest one to your home or because you are familiar with a particular dealer from commercials. Sure, you can go to your preferred lot, but visit some competitors too. Competition breeds better automobile prices, and allows you to haggle a bit when the rubber meets the road. Don’t be afraid to pit one dealership’s offer against another’s, as this bit of leverage may be just what you need to get the best deal on your purchase.
These are just a few tips that should help you to secure the best price on your next car purchase. Study them, commit them to memory and then use them wisely when you are ready to buy your next car, truck, van or SUV.