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how to avoid overspending when car shopping

By Lena / June 27, 2012

How to Avoid Overspending When Car Shopping

Buying a car is one of the biggest investments you’ll make, with the exception of buying a house. It’s important to make sure that you don’t pay any more than you have to, as you will be obligated to make payments on your new vehicle for the next several years. You should learn some tips and tricks for car shopping and negotiations before you begin your search for a new vehicle.

Before beginning your search for a new vehicle, you need to draw up a budget and figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a new car. This stops you from getting distracted by the features of a luxury car you can’t really afford or from giving in to a salesperson who wants you to spend more than you planned.

When you write your budget, consider how much of a down payment you can afford to make on your vehicle in addition to how much you can afford to pay per month. You should also consider how long a time commitment you want to make. This will allow you to evaluate all of your financing options and agree only to a deal that fits your budget.

Car dealers often engage in tricks to try to persuade you to buy a vehicle right away. Buying your car immediately may be more convenient, but it usually works in the car dealer’s favor, not yours. You need time to think about the deal being offered and decide whether it is really affordable. In some cases, you may decide you want to look for a less luxurious vehicle or look at similar vehicles elsewhere to see if you can get a better deal. Watch out for dealers saying things like, “If I could give you the car right now, would you take it?” These types of questions subtly encourage you to purchase a vehicle on impulse rather than going home and thinking things over. Similarly, if a dealer offers you an incentive “just for today,” don’t get tempted. If the only way to get the car for a price you can afford is to buy it immediately, look elsewhere. Buying your car on impulse can lead to mistakes such as spending far more than you can afford.

You should also be aware of common negotiation tricks that make it appear you’re getting a good deal when you’re not. One of the most common tricks of this nature is the “split the difference” trick. When you are negotiating and are offering a few thousand less than the dealer wants you to pay, he or she offers to “split the difference” with you. This makes it sound like you are getting a good deal because the dealer is lowering the price–but the price is still higher than your offer.

There’s a lot more to buying a new car than avoiding dealer tricks, of course, but if you know the price range you’re looking for and are aware of how salespeople operate, you can avoid making common mistakes. The more you know about what you’re looking for, and the less willing you are to be pressured into getting something else, the more likely you are to be satisfied with your purchase. A little advance planning really helps you avoid overspending when you are buying a new car.

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Lena

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