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Cut costs when car shopping

September 10, 2019

When you're planning to buy a car, you want to find as many discounts as possible. Research and negotiation are inevitable parts of this process, but there are other ways to help save money. To cut costs when car shopping, check out the tips below.

Before looking in person

  • Try to wait until closer to the end of the year, when dealerships are trying to get rid of outgoing models.
  • Decide on a budget, and narrow your choices down. See which cars fit your price range, and check into whether they have the features you're looking for.
  • Find out the market value of the vehicle(s) you're considering by using tools such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com or the National Automobile Dealers Association.
  • Find out if there are cash-back deals or other discounts at dealerships, and watch for big sales events.
  • Line up financing before going to look at cars. First, look up your credit score to determine whether you need to build up your credit before applying for a loan. Then, if you're ready to apply, get pre-qualified or pre-approved so you know what you can afford and are more prepared for negotiations with a salesperson. Financing at the dealership may not be your best option.

At the dealership or lot

  • Get a comprehensive price quote from the dealer that includes a list of all fees involved.
  • Opt out on extras. Salespeople will try to convince you on the spot to purchase added features. Unless you have specific ones in mind and have researched them, it's cheaper to say no for now.

Choosing insurance

  • Work down the price of your auto insurance. You can accomplish this in a number of ways, including researching and comparing policies from different companies, dropping the level of coverage and taking advantage of discounts from insurers.

For more tips on how to save, go to:
- Your Car-Buying Cheat Sheet
- How to buy a car: 10 tips and tricks to get the best deal
- Tips for finding cheap auto insurance