The week I graduated from college I decided to purchase a brand new car.
Before making a large purchase, I make sure to do lots of research on the car buying process. It's so stressful!
Learn what exactly worked for me in my car buying process and how I saved thousands on a brand new car.
1. Finance ahead of time
If you plan on financing a car, make sure to shop around at credit unions and banks in the area. See who can give you the lowest APR for a loan.
You'll be surprised that there are banks offering 5% while a credit union next door offers 2.9%. That 2.1% can potentially be thousands in savings!
Some car dealerships will also have special promotions where they are financing cars for 0 to 1.9%, which you will also want to consider.
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2. Negotiate via email
Negotiating via email is a great way to have a conversation with a salesman for various reasons.
Everything is in writing, which comes in handy when a car salesman “forgets” a discount they were planning on giving you.
You can also think about what you want to say before replying back.
Car dealerships are great at making people feel uncomfortable, so at least in an email, you can avoid that.
We live in a time where we can do everything online, even buy a car!
Every major car dealership will have an online inventory where you can see available cars to purchase.
3. Shop around at numerous car dealerships
Before purchasing my car, I visited 5 dealerships to get the most reliable and fuel efficient car.
I even compared car dealerships online to see who was offering the same car at a cheaper price.
For example, I'd check my local town's Toyota dealership and then check all of the other Toyota dealerships in a 150 mile radius to make sure I was getting the best price.
See what different car dealerships offer in the area after you buy the car. I bought a Toyota and with that, I got 2 years worth of maintenance services (oil changes, tire rotations, etc!) and free car washes for life and I got a $750 rebate just for graduating college.
My car dealership participated in price matching. If I found a similar car for cheaper than at their dealership, they would price match the car, which is pretty awesome!
4. Research car's value
Before purchasing a car, check the car's online MSRP and compare this price to what the car dealership is offering.
These prices should be fairly similar.
If they aren't, you need to have a talk with your car salesman (preferably via email!) and see what's up with the price difference.
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5. Buy towards the end of the month
Just like other businesses, car salesman have to meet a quota on the number of cars they've sold.
If they haven't met their quota, they may be more likely to give you a better deal if you buy towards the end of the month rather than the beginning of the month.
6. Ask for accessories
I personally asked the dealership to throw in a tint. It's much easier for them to throw in accessories and services rather than further discount a car.
You could ask for oil changes, regular maintenance services, a bike rack, all weather floor mats, and a million other things depending on the car you choose.
7. Don't mention your trade-in until last minute
There is less room for negotiation when your car salesman knows that you're trading in a car, so don't mention this until the very end.
If they ask if you're trading in a car, either say no or you aren't sure.
This will help you get the best discount on your car since they want to give you the best deal so you buy the car.
8. Think hard about the extended warranty
The shadiest part of the car dealership is the finance department.
This is where car dealerships make a huge chunk of money, with the finance department profiting over 50% in the extended warranties they sell.
Do you really need an extended warranty on a brand new car that is already covered with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty?
If you decide down the road that you need an extended warranty, purchase it as you move closer to the end of your warranty. Make sure to read the fine writing as many extended warranties have wronged people many times by not making it clear what they cover.
The first time I bought a car, I was 17 years old and was pressured into buying an almost $2000 warranty on a car that was valued at $6,000. Big mistake. Never used the warranty either.
9. Increase your credit score before shopping
A low credit score can dramatically hurt your chances of getting a good APR (annual percentage rate also known as your interest) if you decide to finance a car. For example, I know someone who got a 0.9 APR rate because their score was in the 800's, while someone who is in the 600's or lower may have a much harder time getting a low rate.
Tip: Do you know your credit score? Get your free credit score here (and no it doesn’t hurt your credit score!). You’ll also learn strategies to improve your credit score. A high credit score will save you money when you purchase a car, rent or purchase a house, take out a loan, or when you apply for a credit card.
10. Shop for new cars during the end of the year
Closer to the end of the year, older models will need to sell in order to make room for the new year's models that are coming in.
I went to a Subaru dealership and there was one 2018 model still on the lot – it was largely discounted because the 2019's were starting to come in.
Usually, the current year version of the car is similar to the car for the upcoming year, so why not buy the current year model at a discounted price?
Are you trying to SAVE more money? Here are my top tips to save more money.
1. Want to save money when shopping? Ibotta is a free money-saving app that gives you cash back at almost any store. You get real cash – not points. Ibotta is my go-to app for saving money on groceries (even fruits and vegetables!), clothes, travel, and a lot more. You even get $10 in your account just for signing up through my link here.
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3. Trim helps you negotiate cable and internet bills, analyzes and gives you spending updates via text, and will find and cancel unwanted subscriptions for you. Trim users saved over $1,000,000 last month alone. Sign up for Trim here.
4. Cushion is a new finance app that is unlike any other app on the market. Cushion is an app that refunds bank and credit card fees. You can expect refunds on things like late fees, overdraft fees, monthly service fees, account maintenance fees, ATM fees, credit card interest charges, late fees, and more!
Are you trying to MAKE more money? Check out my recommended tips here.
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- Check out my Free Resource Library to get tons of free printables
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- Check out my top recommendations for health, finance, and blogging
Related articles to read:
- 16 Real Work From Home Jobs That Pay Up To $75,000 A Year
- 7 Books To Become A Better and Happier You
- Healthiest Foods For A Tight Budget
In a nutshell:
1. Finance ahead of time.
2. Negotiate via email.
3. Shop around at numerous dealerships.
4. Research car's value.
5. Buy toward the end of the month.
6. Ask for extra accessories for free.
7. Don't mention your trade-in until the last minute.
8. Think hard about the extended warranty. You most likely don't need it.
9. Increase your credit score before shopping. This will help you get a better loan rate.
10. Shop for new cars during the end of the year.
What's your top money saving tip when purchasing a new car?
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