So you’ve been saving and saving, sticking to a tight budget and being responsible with your finances, and now you’re ready to buy a brand new car. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but your good financial habits shouldn’t stop when you step onto the dealership lot. A lot of people often find themselves surprised at how much extra money they spend once they get to the dealership because of add-ons, salesperson pressure and other factors.
Here are a few ways you can stick to your budget and avoid getting ripped off when buying a car:
- Look up all prices beforehand. Check out the Autotrader and Kelly Blue Book prices beforehand. You’ll often find blue book prices are lower than what’s actually listed as the sticker price on the vehicles at the dealership. Print out the blue book form and bring it with you, and the salesperson will essentially have to give you that lower price.
- Beware of package “deals.” Dealerships often try to force customers into buying things they don’t need by putting them into packages. Even if it seems like a useful item, carefully consider its value. For example, a “free oil change for life” package may only be worth it if you have the car for a couple decades or more.
- Consider additional charges during negotiations. Dealerships will often charge convenience or transfer fees for helping you to process your vehicle registration or loans. These are charges that customers often do not pay attention to. Be sure to ask about these fees, and make them part of your negotiations.
- Look into all of your financing options. The financing option you get through the dealership might not necessarily be your best bet. Make sure you’re getting a loan with a reasonable interest rate and without hidden costs or fees.
- Don’t go alone. Buying a car is a long, grueling process, and you’re more likely to get worn out and submit to what the salesperson is trying to sell you if you are by yourself. Having another person there helps prevent you from getting deliberately worn out by the salesperson and gives you another person who can ask questions and look closely at the vehicle.