5 Tips to Save You Money on your Next Car Purchase

28 March 2014


Buying a new car (or a new used car) can be a daunting task, especially since it is usually the second largest purchase that we make aside from buying a house. It does not help when there are aggressive car sales people who are pressuring you to buy a new car, or add things that you would not necessarily get yourself, such as a sun roof. It also does not help when you are buying a used car and you have to worry if you are getting a lemon, which is a defective vehicle which looks better than it actually is, according to Investopedia. Even though you may be adept at haggling or bargaining when at night markets or when traveling, negotiating a big purchase like this requires much more consideration and thought. Buying a car is definitely not an impulse buy (or it should not be, at least).

So with all these factors to consider, here are a few tips that might help you save a few hundred or a few thousand dollars on your next car purchase:

Think About What you Really Need
Just like with buying a house, we can be easily distracted by the allure of things and want things that we don't necessarily need. For example, if you like driving manual, do you need to get an automatic? Do you really need that SUV for your family of three? Are the heated seats necessary? Is the sunroof necessary?

Just like with buying a house, make a list of negotiables (or "wants") and non-negotiables, or needs (for example, 5 star safety rating and side airbags). This will help you sort out what is important to you in your next car purchase.

Timing is Key
Like many things in life, timing is key. Focus on dealing with car salespeople at the end of the month, this is when they are anxious to make their quotas and their sales targets, and they will be more flexible on pricing. Also, Yahoo suggests that there are two buying seasons when there are deep discounts on new cars (if you must buy new, that is), these are the end of December (last two weeks), and from the July to October months.

Do Your Research
The best way to deal with crafty car salespeople (other than sniffing out the schmoozy ones by first glance) is to do your research and be knowledgeable. Make notes of what they tell you, ask them to calculate the net purchase price (it all sounds fine and dandy but when you add taxes and levies, the price doesn't sound as great in the end). Also, the Kelley Blue Book is your friend. It lists the standard prices of cars depending on the year and the make. Look online at different prices, make phone calls to dealers. Sometimes when you ask for Internet pricing you get a better deal. Oftentimes it is easier to negotiate on the phone rather than in person.

Get your Financing Arranged

Gail Vaz Oxlade and Moneysense recommends getting your financing arranged. If you are lucky enough to not require financing and can pay by straight cash, then you may even be able to get some more money off your purchase price. Oftentimes arranging financing independently works out better than using the dealerships financing. For example, a friend of mine was financing his car at 7%, but now only pays 3.25%, which he ended up using his Home Equity Line of Credit for.

Trade-In Later or Sell Your Old Car Yourself

According to Forbes, keeping quiet about trading in your used car can save you a lot of money. They recommend not telling the salesperson that you want to trade in your used car until you reach a final price after negotiating, otherwise, the salesperson may inflate the cost of the new car that you are buying. Keeping the two transactions and deals separate is key.

If you have the time and energy, selling your car yourself will get you much more than the dealer can give you, as they have to make money on the car that they buy off you. In fact, car salespeople make more commission selling used cars than they do on new cars. To sell your used car, check out classifieds such as Craigslist, Kijiji, and Autotrader.ca

I think a good compromise is to try and sell the car yourself and if after a pre-set time period you are unable to, you can consider trading it in. Smart Cookies blog has a great article on deciding whether to sell or trade in your car.

Bargainmoosers, do you have any other tips to save money when buying a new (or a new-old) car?

Photo credit: NRMA New Cars

TOPICS:   Vacations


  • Rodney D.
    I'm somewhat of a fanatic about cars and keep up to date on what's available and what's new on the market. In purchasing popular used vehicles, a good system I've developed in gauging if a vehicle is dependable or not (and this is much easier to do if the model design has changed compared to the year of vehicle you are looking into) is to try to remember how common the vehicle you are interested in was at release (how frequently on the road you've noticed this vehicle) compared to how common it was but a few years ago (2-3 years) and finally how common it is on the road today. If it was a model that was popular in sales or leases, was VERY present on the road at launch, and now is seldom seen on the road today, chances are the vehicle you are interested in has a 'questionable' reliability at best. Without naming names, suffice to say that in 2007 both myself and a friend of mine each purchased the same very popular model of subcompact car. Whereas these used to be present everywhere on the road, today they are rarely seen, and as both my friend and I have discovered, chances are this is due to clients having no desire to continually maintain and fix a car that is always breaking down and that is generally unreliable. On the other hand, my parents purchased a 2001 subcompact car from a different make (a full 6 years prior to my purchase) and their vehicle still runs wonderfully today. Overall it has had very few problems, and this despite their car having triple the kilometers of my car. And you know what? You still find their make and model of car on the road rather frequently.
    • Clare
      @Rodney- Awesome- maybe that's why the Honda Civic is still the number one selling car in Canada 16 years in a row?

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