30 Ways to Cut the Cost of Living: Purchasing a Vehicle

#16 Purchase the best vehicle for your money.

Yesterday we discussed ways to save big buck on auto repair.  Vehicles get old, and there are times when the cost of the repair work far exceeds the value of the vehicle.  When this is the case, it may be time to purchase another vehicle.

Here are a few ways to save when purchasing a vehicle.

If purchasing a brand new vehicle, shop, compare, ask for a deal, stack every special and promotion possible, and, preferably, pay with cash.

It’s quite possible that the presence of cold, hard, cash–in hand–could bring down the cost of your vehicle considerably.  Make sure that you have done thorough research on both the vehicle and the dealership before you purchase.

It’s safe to say that $200 under invoice price is a pretty good deal.

–Consider buying a nice, used car

Sadly, new vehicles lose at least 10% of their value the minute you drive them off the lot, and a two-yr. old vehicle is worth only 80-85% of its original value.

–Know the estimated value of your make and model.

Excellent resource: Edmund’s Automobile Buyers Guide, AutoSite, Kelley Blue Book, CarPrice.com.

–Do your research!

Purchasing a used vehicle can present huge savings, but it does require a greater extent of research.  Totally worth it in the end, though!

Don’t just check the vehicle out on CarFax, use AutoCheck.  When we purchased our last car, we learned that CarFax does not tell you everything!  For instance, if the vehicle has sustained damage to the unibody, it will not show up on CarFax.  However, you’ll find every available piece of information on the vehicle at AutoCheck. AutoCheck tends to catch a whole lot more, in general, than CarFax.  Our family’s policy is that we will never purchase a used vehicle without running AutoCheck on it.

Get a FREE VIN Check from AutoCheck®.

AutoCheck® Vehicle History Reports from Experian Automotive.

–Ask family and friends

When you know you’re going to be in the market, start asking family and friends if they know of any vehicles available for sale.  You might be surprised with the number of options you could have!  You may also find that a reliable, well-cared-for vehicle of a family member or friend is actually available for sale!

–Check the local paper for estate sales.

Estate sales can be great resources when it comes to car hunting.

–Check Craigslist.com and online classified sites.

A few resources include: AutoTrader.com, Autoweb.com, Cars.com and StoneAge.comEdmund’s and Kelley Blue Book also have classifieds on their sites.

Don’t be afraid to “dicker”!

Dealerships expect this!  Don’t let them down! 🙂

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on decorating!

(Note: A few links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Be sure to check out my previous posts on eating out, family fun, haircutsgift-giving, babysitting, groceries, cosmeticselectricity, natural gas, water, and auto repair.



Comments

  1. I used to work at a dealership in accounting. Another way to get a great deal on a car is to ask the dealership to let you know when they will be selling the “test drive” cars that they use to show people the features and let them drive. The demo’s are sold as “used” with that initial depreciation taken off, however, have very low miles, and are cleaned up as good as new! You may not get your colour choice, however. You would only get what they had been demo’ing, but it’s a great way to get a brand new car at a substantial savings.

    There are other key times to buy…like in Aug when the new year models come out and they want to off the old year models.

    You can also “fall into” some great savings but there would be no way to plan this, other than perhaps shopping at a very large dealership that sells a lot of cars…Each dealership is “ranked” and get certain preferrential treatment, deals, first pick at rare models, etc. Based on how many vehicles they sell. In order to maintain that standing, they NEED to keep selling that high number of vehicles. If they are low one month or quarter, and don’t want to lose their ranking amongst the other dealership of the same brand in their town, they will sell a car way below factory invoice cost, just to keep their numbers high. I had a friend buying a car from a competing dealership to mine, and she asked me to run the numbers to see if she was getting a good deal. She was getting that car at more than $1000 off of factory invoice! There was no way we were matching that deal!! So sometimes you get lucky.

    Sometimes people assume that ALL dealerships are there to rip you off, and mark things up exponentially. This can be true, however, if you are shopping a normal, reputable brand, their “basic car” (Protege, Civic, Sentra etc) is normally sold for only around $1000 over the factory invoice price. Sometimes even lower. (meaning, the dealership paid 19k to have that car in the showroom, and they are only charging you 20k). They are not marked up the way you think, and for a large dealership to only make $1000 on a car, really is not that great (providing you don’t pay for the extra plans they offer) considering the commissions and the overhead they have. The bigger and more luxury the vehicle, the more they are marked up, and so perhaps they have more room to come down on the price. But if you are buying their “regular car” don’t be surprised if they don’t bring the cost down very much for you, despite you efforts at bargaining for a great deal.

    Sorry to write a book, just a few thoughts!

  2. Awesome, Darla! Thank you so much for the comment and info!

  3. Wow, thank you for all of this. These are great tips, and also thank you Darla for your input. I certainly learned a lot.

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