How to Save Money When Buying a Car

    Buying a car can be a major headache, from dealing with lenders to aggressive sales people at car dealerships. The average price for a new or slightly used (less than 3 years old) car is about $15,000-$20,000, making a car a major financial undertaking for any average household.

    In this article, we’ll show you 6 ways you can save money on your next car purchase, whether buying off the lot or privately.

    1. Buy your car “almost new.”

    Most car buyers know how quickly a new car depreciates in its value. As soon as you drive a car off the lot, it’s already dropped in value by a few percent. So, instead of blowing your money on a brand new car, buy one that’s just a few years old.

    Most car dealerships sell their off-lease cars at heavy discounts. You’ll get an almost-new car that’s been well-maintained and certified by the dealership for thousands of dollars less than what you’d pay for a new car. The risk is minimal, and the savings are significant.

    2. Save money on your financing.

    With a significant down payment and a healthy credit rating, you can save a lot of money on your financing costs and negotiate for a low interest rate. With some manufacturers offering financing as low as 0 percent, it’s worth it. So, if you’re planning to purchase a vehicle in the next year, check up on your credit rating and start putting savings away for your down payment. As with the purchase of a home, the more money you are able to put on the down payment, the greater your savings will be over the course of the loan.

    3. Don’t be picky about color.

    Instead of ordering your vehicle custom-painted from the factory, opt instead for a readily available floor or dealership model. You’ll avoid factory shipping costs and custom order expenses. And because you’ll be relieving a dealer of some of his or her existing inventory, they may be more likely to offer you a better deal to move the vehicle off the lot.

    4. Buy last year’s car.

    Instead of putting your name on a waiting list for one of next year’s models, snatch up an older, but still new model off your dealer’s showroom floor. You can save thousands of dollars simply by settling for a slightly-less-than-new model.

    5. Find out when test-drive vehicles go up for sale.

    Test drive models are typically gently used, well-maintained and come stocked with all the extra features available on a particular model. If you can find out when a test-drive model is going up for sale, you’ll save a lot of money off the standard sticker price.

    6. Check your discounts.

    If you’re a veteran, recent graduate or even recently married, there may be a vehicle discount for you. Don’t hesitate to ask about applicable rebates and savings.

    Generally speaking, if you are willing to forgo some of the glitz that comes with the newest automobile models and don’t mind driving a car with a few miles already logged to it, the money savings you realize can be eye popping. For the overall benefits, taking a little extra time to locate a combination of most personal auto preferences and best financial deal will make the eventual purchase more gratifying.

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