First Person: Saving $5,000 on a New Car Purchase

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First Person: Saving $5,000 on a New Car Purchase
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Getting a good price on a car makes everyone in the family happy.

My husband hasn't bought a new car in well over a decade. With the birth of our son last year, it was time, however, to replace the two-door with something better equipped for our new needs.

After a great deal of research, we narrowed down the choices to two and started haggling. While we chose to visit on the last day of the month, as recommended, we also found some other ways to save save $5,000 on our new car purchase.

1) Negotiate Online - My husband sent requests for quotes to over a dozen dealerships in the area. The dealers for the second of our two choice cars did not respond with the customer service or the prices we wanted. With our pre-quoted prices in hand for our top choice, we were well-equipped when we walked into our chosen dealership. This alone saved $3,000 off the sticker price.

2) Cast a Wide Net - We heard horrible things about the local dealership, and we wanted to get the best price, anyway; so, we cast a wide net. We searched within a 200-mile radius and settled on a dealership about 50 miles away from home. By being willing to drive a bit farther away, we saved another $500, much less than it cost in gas to get to the dealership.

3) Say No to Extras Features - Upgrades like leather, a moon roof, and a special navigation system, none of which we wanted, added $2000 to the price of the car. Though the salesman tried to upsell us by having us test drive a car with the navigation system, we refused to negotiate on a car with that feature. Additionally, navigation system updates cost $200 every year. With smart phones and good old fashioned paper maps, we had no use for this add-on.

4) Turn Down Late-in-the-Game Add-Ons - Of course, the finance manager has to ask us about added warranties and a "maintenance plan" that claimed to save us thousands of dollars. In reality, these would have saved us very little, given that we have a trusted local mechanic. Turning these offers down saved an additional $4000 beyond the $5000 we saved on the sticker price.

5) Be Willing to Walk Away - We were lucky to get the price we wanted at the first dealership we visited, but we were more than willing to walk away and try another location or come back another day. Being willing to leave kept us calm and less likely to accept a less-than-stellar deal.

We feel that we got a respectable deal on the car we wanted. No one talked us into more than we needed, and we plan to be very happy with our car for years to come, and so will our budget.

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