Buying a car is a huge step for most people. Whether it’s your first adult car or you regularly seek out new leases every few years, it can be a frustrating (and quite expensive) experience. It’s especially troublesome if you go in not knowing how to find the best deal for you.
If you’re in the market for a new car or truck, this blog with share with you some money-saving tips that will keep you from making a huge mistake, while hopefully saving you a bundle.
1) Wait Until the End of the Month/Year
I know, I know. The thrill of buying a new vehicle is incredible! We want nothing more than to walk into a dealership today and walk out driving something with that new car smell. But if you wait until the end of the month, you can potentially get a bigger bang for your buck.
Most car companies pay their employees through commissions. The successful sellers often get perks and bonuses for selling the most cars. As the month goes on, a salesperson will get increasingly hungry to keep up with their quota, so they offer huge discounts, perks, and incentives to get you to walk away happy.
If you can be patient, end of the year deals can be really awesome as well.
Do your due diligence and visit several dealerships at the end of the month and compared which ones seem the most desperate to make a sale. You can also look for quarterly bonuses and special holiday events. The savings can total in the thousands.
2) Do Your Research Online
If you wait until you’re at the dealership to look around and do research, you run the risk of being strong armed or being swarmed with salespeople pushing you into a vehicle that’s not the best fit for you. Sometimes dealers have a vehicle they want to get rid of. They’ll try their hardest to convince you to buy something other than what you want.
Before you go to the dealer, you can do all the same research online. Look at the various models, sizes, colors, and prices you want to pay. There are a ton of resources online to help you, like Kelley Blue Book, Auto Trader, Carfax, and so much more.
A lot of dealerships even have a way for you to check out prices on their website and get a quote all without walking in the door. So, when you are ready to buy, you’re well-armed with tons of great research, ultimately saving you time and money later.
3) Shop Around for Trade-Ins
There’s no rule (written or unwritten) that says you absolutely have to trade in or sell your old vehicle at the same place you buy your new one. It may be more convenient to do it at the same dealership, but it can cost you money.
The trick is to take your car around to different places and write down the quotes you get. Once you’re at the dealership of your choice ready to buy, you have a nice tool in your pocket to start the negotiations.
The best way to go about it is to negotiate the price for the new car first, then mention you have a trade in and see what kind of deal you get. If it’s not as good as the deal another dealership offered, you have a great negotiation weapon. They’ll be eager to get your sale after already agreeing on a quote, so they might be more inclined to increase their offer.
4) The Best (and Worst) Time of Year to Buy
Spring is the worst time to buy a car. A lot of people get excited after getting tax returns and are ready to buy. Dealerships are prepared for that and prices will be inflated. They can afford to charge more as their buildings are often full during this time of year.
The best time to buy is in the fall. This is usually when the new model years come in, so they have a lot of the ‘older’ models taking up room on the lot. They’re more likely to give you a great deal to free a spot for the newer car, which can save you thousands for virtually the same vehicle.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate Down Fees
You can bet your bottom dollar, when you receive your itemized bill, there will be a lot of additions to it you didn’t think you’d have to pay. Fees for this, taxes for that. Some dealers will charge you simply for doing paperwork. Yes, that’s a real fee that can hit as high as $800! Some states do cap the fee to keep it as low as possible.
In this case, if you get hit with a huge fee, try to negotiate them. Be willing to walk away, because it might take you threatening to leave if they don’t remove it. Some of the fees can get so ridiculous it’s not even worth entertaining doing business with them.
In the end, the best thing to do if you’re in the market for a new car is to wait. Experts say to start research at least 6 months ahead of time so you can be aware of all the great deals, sales, holidays, and times of the year when they’re a lot less expensive.