Whether you’re shopping for your very first car or just looking to upgrade, two things are always the same: it’s an exciting process, and also an expensive one. But there are a few ways you can save some cash and still end up driving off the lot in a car you really love. Read on for some tips and tricks to help you navigate the dealership lot like a seasoned pro.
Create a list of needs and wants
From professional audio systems to custom interiors, there’s a lot to look at when you’re shopping on the dealership lot. But it’s also easy to get distracted and end up spending in excess of your budget. Before you start shopping for a car, you should create a list of needs and wants to help guide your search. You should separate your list into three sections: needs, wants, and nice-to-haves.This little bit of research will give you more confidence when it’s time to step onto the dealership lot and work with sales representatives to find the right car for you.
Keep in mind, extra items like audio systems, roof racks, and tinting can be done later at a lower cost. So, don’t write off a vehicle that doesn’t hit every single mark on your list until you consider your other options first.
Consider buying used
The moment you drive off of the dealership lot, the value of your car depreciates. In fact, some cars can fall in value by more than 20%, simply because it can no longer be considered a “new” vehicle. This is why so many consumers decide to opt for the used car route instead. The pitfall of buying a used vehicle is that you do have to be a little bit more flexible when it comes to the features of the vehicle and where it’s available for sale.
Research local dealers
If you do decide to go for the new car option, make sure to do your research on local dealers. Some may offer annual savings specials or first time buyer deals that could help you save a buck or two! Another potential way to save at the dealer is by shopping on slow days like when it’s raining or during holidays when others won’t be out car shopping. This can sometimes motivate sales representatives to offer you an opportunistic deal simply so that they can finalize a sale.
Like most big purchases, you should do some price shopping before you make a purchasing commitment. In addition to comparing the cost of different makes, models, and even years, you should also look into how prices vary across different areas. For example, new Audi cars near Spokane may come at a lower cost than those in a more urban area like Seattle or Portland.
Flex your negotiating skills
If you do find a vehicle you love at a lower price outside of your area, you may be able to negotiate a price match with your local dealer. Use these tips to help you negotiate:
- Be respectful: You should be respectful in any customer service situation. But when you’re trying to negotiate a lower price for an item you want to buy, respect takes on a whole new meaning. Being rude won’t get you far, and it certainly won’t get you the best deal they have to offer.
- Do your homework: Don’t offend the seller with your offer. Be sure to do your research on vehicle market value to ensure you’re working within a reasonable price range.
- Ask for what you want: After doing some research and evaluating your budget, get ready to be totally transparent and ask for what you want. The salesperson won’t likely go for your first offer, so be prepared for a counter offer.
Get trade-in credit
That clunker in your garage could be doing more than just gathering dust. If your old vehicle is in operating condition, you may be able to sell it to the dealership for cash or trade-in credit to put toward a new car. And if it’s not in pristine condition, but still has some salvageable pieces, sell car parts online to put some money toward your vehicle savings.
Pay in cash
Since cars are depreciating assets (meaning they continually fall in value), it’s best to avoid continuing financing plans if you can, and pay cash instead. This minimizes the total cost of the vehicle purchase by eliminating the added cost of interest payments associated with a loan. Use a goal-oriented savings app to help you save up cash to buy your next car.
Follow these tips to help you save money on your next vehicle purchase, and you’ll be driving off the lot in an investment you’ll be proud of for years to come!