Financial Battle Home
Custom Search

Buying a Car

Picture of Buying a used car Assess your wants and needs, this seems obvious, but you could wind up an unhappy car owner if you haven't thought carefully about how many people and how much luggage or gear you need to carry. Appraise your trade in, whether you plan to trade it in or sell it, your current car can be an important factor in your budget. Checking the right website like or and possibly your local newspaper will give you a realistic valuation. Selling it directly instead of just trading it in may yield a sizable difference in what you get for it, though it may take a while longer to reap the proceeds. Decide whether new or used is best for you. Cars are built better now than ever before, so used cars or certified used cars make a lot of sense. But if you get a rebate or other cost break, the math may be on the side of a new vehicle.

Consider whether leasing or buying makes more sense.

Leasing provides lower monthly payments than buying with an auto loan. But it's not for everybody. If you don't have money for a down payment or if you trade in your car every two or three years, you may be a good candidate for a lease. Leasing is also a neat option if you buy and keep your cars for a long time. You may need really low payments on the car of your dreams, but the numbers just don’t work and no bank wants to lend on a new car for 8 years, so leasing it for the first 3 years at a nice low payment then purchasing that car afterwards for 5 more years at the depreciated value is like financing it for 8 years.

Do your homework.

I call this bringing your ammunition, check the internet sites like have made it easier than ever to find out the dealer's cost for each vehicle and its options. That's the first step to getting the best possible deal and bring it with you to the dealership, the salesman are trained to ask where you got your numbers.

Shop for money before you shop for the car.

If you plan to buy with a loan, check your credit union or local bank quotes online to find the lowest rate. Getting a pre-approved loan will give you added confidence in negotiating a good price and you’ll already know your best interest rate. They will probably try to talk you into using their lender who may have a higher interest rate, if you don’t come armed with your best interest rate from your lender.

Negotiating a lease.

In the complicated world of leasing, the dealer will have the upper hand unless you learn the jargon and how to negotiate the various segments of a lease deal. It wasn’t until I sold cars that I realized you could even negotiate a lease.

Negotiate a purchase.

If you are doing it yourself, get prices from several different dealers, keeping the focus on the dealer's invoice price, which you will know from your online research. You may be able to get pricing without going to showroom after showroom. Although I will tell you salesmen are taught not to give out prices over the phone, they’re taught to get you in!!

Don't let the deal-closer close out your savings.

The finance manager isn't there just for the paperwork. He or she wants to sell you high-profit financial and mechanical add-ons. These are seldom worth the money. If you feel the need to have these extra warranties and coverage’s you can research and purchase them much cheaper yourself later.