You may think getting a good deal on a brand new car may be next to impossible. It is if you don’t prepare for and have a negotiation plan ready when you go car shopping. Here are some tips to make your car buying experience easier and help you get the best price possible.
Determine your needs and budget
Before you start shopping, determine how much you can afford to spend on a new car. Next, ask yourself, “What do I really need in car?” Make a list of your “must have’s.” After that, write down the options you’d like to have. Finally, visit manufacturer and dealer websites to see what cars and options fit your budget.
Consider other costs
Once you have a few models in mind, check with your insurance company about much your premium will be to insure them. Compare the fuel economy ratings for the vehicles you’re considering at the EPA’s website, http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
Decide on a “target” price
Consult an online price guide to find out the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and invoice prices of the cars you’re considering. The final sales price is usually somewhere between the two.
Find your best financing option
Shop around at various financial institutions to see which one is offering the best rate. Keep in mind you might only qualify for the best rate if you have an excellent credit history. Check the manufacturer’s websites for special deals being offered by their finance companies.
Know your vehicle’s trade-in value
Determine your car’s trade-in value by visiting an online valuation site such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. Be conservative when assessing the condition of your car.
Check out the special offers on manufacturers’ websites. You might find cash rebates, cut-rate financing, or other sales incentives.
Take a test drive
Take a proper test drive. Otherwise, how will you know if the car has enough head and legroom for you and your family? How will you know how it handles and if you’ll enjoy driving it?
Start a bidding war
Get online bids for the car you want from multiple local dealerships and some not-so-local dealers. Take the lowest bid and see if the other dealers are willing to beat it.
Negotiate the best price
Make the car’s invoice price your first offer. The dealership will most likely make a much higher counteroffer. Raise your offer incrementally until you agree on a price that is within your target range. Never start the negotiation with the car payment you can afford to make. Keep that information and your financing deal to yourself or the dealership will make you an offer to fit your target car payment. That’s good but not when you could have gotten the car at a lower price.
Check out the bargains at the thrift store
Before hitting the mall to buy your summer wardrobe, visit the thrift store first. Spring cleaning means many thrift stores have high quality, gently worn items. You may be able to outfit yourself for the summer at a fraction of the cost.
Look for discounted gym memberships
Spruce up the indoors while enjoying the outdoors
Use online tools to plan travel
Take advantage of the summer harvest
Buy store-brand items
Save on gas
Clean out your attic, basement, and garage
Consider your options
As these tips show, you can have fun in the sun and protect your budget at the same time. What tips do you have to share?
However, you choose to celebrate your father, finding the perfect gift for the man who taught you to ride a bike, mow a lawn, and throw a punch or who wiped your tears after your first broken heart, waited up to all hours of the night to make sure you arrived home from your dates safely, or agonized the first time a boy held your attention longer than five weeks; can be difficult.
Surely by now he has all the #1 Dad coffee mugs, Grill Master t-shirts, and gaudy socks and ties your money can buy. Sometimes, remembering dad on this special day is the best way to find the perfect gift. Consider gifts that let dad know just how much he means to you today and has meant over the years as an authority figure, role-model, guiding hand, and infinite source of support.
Think of the memories you’ve shared over the years. Whether it’s special camping trips growing up, theme park vacations, roller coaster rides, a love of B-movies, shooting hoops in the driveway, or of watching college football together on Saturday afternoons, dad has been there for you over the years – through thick and thin.
This is the time of year to remember those moments and celebrate them. Whether through photographs, portraits, planning special trips together, or drumming up your own game of hoops, getting tickets to watch your favorite football team, or simply having long talks about those precious and special memories. Remembering dad doesn’t require a special day. He’s near and dear to your heart every day. But on this special day, make a point of sharing your fondest memories for dad with the man himself. Let him know just how special he is and how much he means to you.
Life on campus is kind of like life in a bubble. Everything you really need is contained within a relatively small space. Housing, dining, and education are all included as part of the package and you’re not required to worry about being able to eat if the month runs out of money. You only need to slum it in the college cafeteria and the rent is typically paid up until the end of term.
After college, though, life begins to change and handling your finances becomes far more critical. These tips will help you make sure you have enough money for the month and that all your bills are paid on time so that you don’t have to worry about the painful choice between food, phone, or lights.
- Mobile phone service
- Vehicle related expenses (don’t forget maintenance, insurance, fuel, etc.)
- Cable/Internet service
- Health insurance
These things add up quickly and many of them are often not considered when establishing a budget. Unfortunately, failing to do so can be catastrophic if these numbers are used to justify a major purchase or a higher rent location.
Pay Bills on Pay Day
Establishing this practice early will ensure that you are creating positive spending and credit habits. One or two months of a ramen noodle diet will have you quickly reassessing your budget and spending to look for appropriate changes.
Learn to Live Within Your Means
This is one of the hardest lessons to learn in a consumer driven society. Now, however, is a great time to learn that you don’t need a new iPhone every year.
Even bigger is the lesson that you don’t need the endless data plan either. Chances are that most of your time is spent at home or work. Use your Wi-Fi and cut down your data to a crawl to save big on your mobile service each month. Look for other areas where you can cut costs too.
These savings and life lessons add up fast. They will certainly help you make it through those leaner first years on your own after graduating college with your credit score intact.
A funny thing tends to happen with federal holidays in the United States – even though they’re often born with only the noblest of intentions, people soon seem to place emphasis in the wrong areas: namely, a day off of work. Such is the case with Memorial Day, an annual holiday that people tend to get far too caught up in the commercial aspects of like a long weekend, sales and picnics. That’s all well and good, but it’s always important to take a minute to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who made it possible to enjoy these things in the first place.
The Origin of Memorial Day
The first thing to understand about Memorial Day is that it’s actually a lot older than you probably realize. It started all the way back in 1868 and was called “Decoration Day” after the American Civil War. It was designed to be a time of peace for the country to decorate the graves of Union soldiers following a lengthy period of battle that changed the shape of the United States forever.
Memorial Day as we know it came about when “Decoration Day” and a competing holiday designed to honor Confederate soldiers merged. The name was changed to reflect the fact that everyone who sacrificed their lives should be honored, regardless of which side they happened to fight on. As the country engaged in more wars over the following decades, Memorial Day became a way to honor ALL troops who protected our shores in conflicts both foreign and domestic.
Support is About More Than Remembrance: Charitable Organizations for Soldiers
Before you head out to that great backyard barbecue this year, consider making a contribution to one of the following charities. They exist in the spirit of Memorial Day itself, as a way to honor members of the armed forces and their families who have given their all so that we can enjoy so much.
Thank you to all who served.