A car might be an efficient way to get around- but it’s so much more than that. Our cars are a reflection of our style and personality. They can be status symbols, fashion objects and if you’re really into your car, it can make a great hobby. You can go track driving, show it at exhibitions and so much more. And so when it comes to buying a car, we all want to get the most for our money. You might not be able to afford the car of your dreams, but you want something that you’re going to be content with and happy to drive, and you’ll want to get the absolute most out of your budget. Here are a few quick and dirty tips to securing the best price and saving money overall.
Sell your old vehicle privately
Part exchange is so tempting. You can go into a garage or dealership and use your existing vehicle towards the cost of the next one. It’s all done and dusted in one day, and there’s no complicated paperwork as the company will do it all for you. Best of all, you’re not left without a car for any length of time. However, you’ll just never get as much when you part exchange your car, and you could be letting it go for hundreds, even thousands less than what you could get for it elsewhere. Selling private can be a bit of a hassle, you might have to show the car to a number of people, they’ll all want to test drive it and you’ll be answering the same questions over and over. It’s also up to you to make sure all the documentation is sent off correctly. However, it really is worth the effort. Look on car listing websites and see what kind of price your car and model can fetch, bearing in mind age, body condition and mileage. Give your car a good clean inside and out to show it in it’s best light, and in almost every case you’ll be able to get more money for it. You can then use this money to put a bigger deposit down and bring down the overall cost of your next vehicle. You might not be able to sell your car and buy your next one within the same day, so be prepared. If you rely on it for work, to take your kids to school and other essential trips, make plans so you’re not left in the lurch.
Find the best finance option
If you’re going to go down the finance route, you’ll of course want to get the best rates you can. Be sure to shop around, if your credit score is good (or at least reasonable) you should be able to have your pick of competitive prices. You could even look into taking out a personal loan and seeing if it would work out cheaper. You’ll need to know how much interest you’ll be paying- what your monthly payments will be and how much you will end up paying back overall. Some finance deals can be deceptive, the last thing you want is to end up paying double what the vehicle is worth over five years, by the final year its value will have dropped significantly anyway. There’s nothing wrong with utilising finance if you go about it in the right way, but do be careful. Work the costs into your monthly budget and check that you can comfortably afford everything. Put down the biggest deposit you can afford, this will bring down the overall monthly costs.
Buy at the right time of year
This is something that can make a big difference to the deal you can get, but isn’t something that many people think of when they’re buying a car. The time of year definitely does have an impact on the price you’ll pay. Right before Christmas for example, most people are all spent out on gifts and other expenses and so car sales are lower. Less demand can mean sellers that are more keen, and more likely to drop the price. Car salespeople can have monthly and annual targets to meet, so again December makes a great month to buy a car. They’re more likely to drop the price if you show hesitation as they’re keen to meet their goals. Winter is also the best time to purchase a convertible, if this is the kind of car you have your eye on. There will be less demand for them than in the summer, so again you’re likely to be able to score a better price. If you have a particular model in mind, find out when the upgraded cars come out. This will cause the prices of the older ones to drop, and car sellers can be eager to shift this stock to make space for the newer models. Saving a few hundred pounds might seem like pocket change when you’re purchasing something costing thousands. However, a few hundred is nothing to be sniffed at, this could buy your breakdown cover, fill the tank with fuel and even buy you a smart new sat nav system. Any kind of negotiation and lowering the price is worth a try. It might seem like an odd time to buy a car in December, but you could see it as a Christmas present to yourself!
Buy a newer car
It might seem counterintuitive to pay more on a car when you’re looking to save money, but there are lots of reasons why you should consider it. When you own and run a car, it’s not just the price of the vehicle itself that you need to think about. In many cases, it’s the insurance that will be the biggest cost for drivers. If you’re a young or newer driver then prices can run into the thousands for a year’s cover. Even if you’re run quotes for similar models with the same sized engine and the same year, always run a quote before buying a vehicle. The prices can vary wildly, even between cars of the same make and model. In some cases it’s worth spending more on a newer vehicle upfront, because the insurance will be cheaper. An old banger might seem like a cheap little runaround, but insurers know that they’re unreliable and the parts on older cars are hard to find. They put their prices up to reflect this- you need to look at the costs overall to make sure you’re getting the best deal. It’s not to say you need to buy brand new, there will be lots of cars at any used car dealership that will be suitable. But look at the age, ideally go with something that’s not older than a decade. Check the service history, and inquire about which parts have been replaced, that way you have peace of mind that they’re not likely to go wrong again any time soon. Another reason a newer used car is a smart move is the lower road tax. The prices are based on emissions, and as newer models are cleaner to run, the road tax can be very cheap or even free.
Take out a warranty
When you’re purchasing a car (which is already expensive enough) the last thing you want is to be thinking about additional costs. However, some garages and dealerships will sell you a warranty, and it could well be worth taking. You’d have to find out exactly what they offer as it will vary, but a lot of car warranties will cover you for a year for any repair regardless of how big or small. You can usually go to lots of garages to have the work done up and down the company so you don’t even have to go back to them. Check and see what the excess is, you want a warranty with no excess. That way, you can get the smaller and cheaper jobs done such as wipers, oil changes and more without having to pay a hefty excess that costs more than the work itself!
Cars are priced higher than what they’re expected to get, as sellers know that people will try to negotiate. For this reason, if you just pay the asking price you could be paying over the odds. It’s always worth making a lower offer and seeing just how much wiggle room there is. They might reject your first offer but agree to meet you halfway. If there are any kinds of marks, scuffs, imperfections or other small issues, these can be used as leverage as a way to bring down the cost a little. Have a look online about the art of negotiating when it comes to cars, having some knowledge and understanding of the process can give you the best chance of success for when you put it in practice yourself.
Are you in the process of hunting for a new car? What tips and tricks will you bear in mind when it comes to cutting down the costs?