Shopping for a car is an important decision and a substantial investment. You want a car that is safe, secure, attractive, efficient and reliable, however you also want to stay within your budget without breaking the bank! Here are 5 ways for smart car shoppers to save money.
- First, it is important to decide if you really need a car as opposed to simply wanting a new car. Each year car dealerships come out with the next new and exciting vehicle and so many individuals think they “need” to buy a new car to enjoy these features. While it is nice to be able to have the latest and greatest, you can’t change cars like you change your socks! If your current vehicle is in god condition, it may be a more frugal and responsible decision to keep it and save up a bit longer for your next car when you truly need it.
- Next, you will need to set a budget and most importantly stick to it! Go through your finances and calculate how much money you can afford to put towards a new car. Be realistic about your financial situation. You will need to factor in not only the price of the car and monthly expenses but also fees, taxes, and maintenance charges as well. Be sure you have the whole picture before you commit!
- Once you have your budget, you can search for cars within your price range. This will give you an idea as to which cars you like and can afford as well as the best places to start shopping when you are ready. Always search the Internet first to get an idea as to how much each car typically sells for. This way you will be an educated consumer and you will not be tricked or misinformed by salespeople or scammers.
- Get financed on your own. You should never ask for financing when you are in the dealership shopping for a car. This will reduce your ability to bargain and get a good deal. Instead, get pre-approved for a loan from your bank or from a credit union before you step foot into a car dealership. When you can present them with this information, they will be much more willing and able to negotiate with you and you will be more likely to get a larger discount and additional benefits.
- Finally, avoid leasing or buying new whenever possible. A lease leaves you with nothing at the end of your lease term. You pay monthly, just as you would rent an apartment. In the end, you have to return the car just like you must leave an apartment. When you buy, you at least have something to sell when you are ready to get a new vehicle and can get some of that money back that you have invested in the vehicle as you would if you were to sell a house or condo. In addition a lease is less convenient since you must stay under a certain mileage or risk paying additional fess. For this reason and more, buying is better. However, buying brand new is also not a good idea. When you buy a brand new car, the vehicle’s value depreciated significantly the second you drive it off the lot. Basically you will pay thousands extra for that new car smell and the knowledge that you are the only person who has owned the car. The better way to go is to buy a car that is used but only a year or so old. It will be in near perfect condition for a fraction of the cost of a new model.
When shopping for you next car, make sure it shifts in sixth gear and be sure to utilize these helpful money saving tips. Determine if you need the car, set a budget and stick to it, do your homework, get pre-approved for financing ahead of time and buy used. These tips will help any frugal shopper stay within their budget while still being able to get the car they are looking for.