Getting a new vehicle is an expensive decision to make— but hey, this new car doesn’t have to completely empty your pockets. Learning how to how to shop smart is they key, you could actually save a lot and pay much less.

Give it a try with these tips before buying your next set of wheels— they could score you big savings.

Get the Best Value for Your Trade-In

Handing over your old car in trade-in is one way to save money off the total price of your new car. Dealership automatically deduct the value of your old vehicle off your total purchase price. Then again, dealerships don’t always give you the actual worth of your trade-in.

Remember, dealerships are in business to make money— that’s life. So, their goal is to re-sale your trade-in and make as much money as possible, that’s why they are likely to lowball the value of your old car. Basic math— they want to pay less and make more.

What many don’t know is that you don’t have to trade your car in at the dealership. Of course that’s a common thing to do, but you can— and should— shop around to get the best value for your car. You should contact other dealerships, check used car lots to see what others will pay you for your trade-in— don’t stick with one option.

It’s important that before you agree to trade in your old car at the dealership where you are going to buy your new car, do some research! Check out your vehicle’s value on different websites like TueCar, Blue Book, Edmunds and CarMax to determine how much it’s actually worth. You can also take the money you make to the dealership when you’re buying your next car. Think about it.

DO NOT Mention your Trade-In Until you’re Ready to Buy

Another trade-in tip— keep quite the fact that you have another car to trade in before you’re actually ready to buy a new car.

Negotiation is key to scoring savings, and dealerships like to bargain. They can sense things— they’re like a Jedi— if they smell how badly you want a car, or how much you’re willing to spend on it, they’ll push harder to try to get you to pay a higher price— that’s when they turn Darth Vader on you. The less they know the better, and the more you stick your ground during negotiations, the more likely they are to offer a better deal.

With that said, if a dealer rep knows you have a trade-in on the table, they might use this information against you— suspense music arises. Let’s give an example, if you’re trying to negotiate the car’s price down from $26,000 to $22,000 and they learn you have a trade-in on the table, they may just lower $2,000 and shave the other $2,000 off with the trade-in. But, if they don’t know about your trade-in just yet, they may drop the price to your goal of $22,000 and when you show the trade-in card it may lower more, giving you a total price of $20,000— devious little creatures aren’t we.

This why you should keep quiet about your trade-in until you’re actually ready to make the purchase.

Compare Online to Find the Best Price

Research, our favorite word. To save money on a brand-new car, you need— yes, NEED— to know your market. It’s important to know the market prices of the models you like and what different dealerships and sellers are pricing the vehicle at.

Don’t settle on a dealership just yet, make sure you research first— go online and compare prices. You can search almost everything on the web, year, make, and model you’re interested in— you can easily see what packages and pricing different sellers in your area are offering. All of this will allow you to get the most important details before even speak with a salesperson— remember their sneaky personality.

Again, you will be able to see who’s offering the best deal. When you are armed with this knowledge, you’ll be ready to head to the dealership and negotiate like a real Master Jedi. But in order to do this, you’ll need to spend time comparing prices and finding deals— we believe in you.

Ask for a Break Down Price List

Next step, once you’ve found dealerships that have your dream car at a price you like, it’s time to get even more information. Yes, dealership pricing can be complicated and confusing— we know— so you’ll want to visit the lot and ask for an itemized price list.

What in itemized price list is? Well, it is a list that breaks down every little detail that a dealership is charging you for. This includes the actual sale price of the car, to the added packages and extra features, taxes to the title and tags. This price list will have it all nicely laid out for you, and this will let you see if the dealership is adding any extras you don’t want— or things you don’t need to pay.

Be very aware of markups or any extra, unnecessary fee, and you’ll be able to point it out to negotiate with the dealership. This could easily save you from paying extra bucks.

Secure Your Financing First

It’s not a secret that we don’t worry about financing before we buy a new car, this always comes after. I mean, financing is available at every dealership, so it makes it convenient and straightforward.

But, what may not everyone know is that by doing this you could wind up spending more money. Many times you get a loan with a high interest rate or a long loan term, this could make it become more costly with interest and fees over the years. Very often, dealership loans come with high rates and zero discounts.

So, let’s do yourself a favor— a financial favor— and make sure to shop around for financing before you’re ready to buy— just like you did with your new car research. External lenders may offer better, more affordable loan terms and lower interest rates— no harm to check first.

Year’s Best Sales

Ok, by now you’ve done your homework and are ready to buy! But— yes, another but— you might be able to save even more money by waiting until that big year sale. Throughout the year, dealership mark cars down— and waiting for one of these bad boy discount events could get you bigger savings.

Want to know when is the best time to buy? Well then, the best months of the year to buy a new car are October, November, and December. The year is closing and they know it— we know it— so dealerships need to meet monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales goals, all at the same time— you can feel the pressure. And that my friends is what makes salespeople more incentivized to lower prices and make a great deal— isn’t it fun!

You can also find deals and sales on:

  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Black Friday
  • New Year’s Eve

In the end, it doesn’t matter when you shop for your new set of wheels, but you do need to make sure you do your research before heading to the dealership. Take the time to search online, compare models, prices, look for those special offers and it can all result in big savings.

The responses below are not provided, commissioned, reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any financial entity or advertiser. It is not the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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