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A Frugal Mom’s Five Tips for Buying a Car

In today’s economy, buying a car may not be on your to-do list. However, if you are truly in the market for a vehicle, it is actually a great time to buy one! Prices are dropping and negotiating just got easier.

I recently purchased a used minivan for a phenomenal price. Here are my top five for buying a car, from the perspective of a frugal mom:

  1. Need vs. Want: Before exploring the possibility of a new vehicle, determine if it is truly a need. The most frugal car one can drive is actually the one you already own.
  2. Never, Ever Lease or Buy New: I have done both, and regretted it each time. Not everyone may agree with me, but leasing is never a good financial decision. At the end of one, you have... nothing. And usually exorbitant fees for additional miles or extra wear and tear the dealer is bound to find. New cars? They drastically drop in value within the first two years of ownership. A used car has already taken this hit.
  3. Do Your Homework: Start with the internet. Read Consumer Reports, reviews, and ratings. Talk to friends and neighbors. Narrow down your options before ever looking at a car in person. Edmunds is a great resource and will help determine what price you should expect.
  4. Be Realistic About Your Budget: Determine well ahead of time what you can spend on a new vehicle. Don’t consider the monthly payment, consider the overall cost of the car, including fees, taxes, and maintenance.
  5. Financing: Of course, paying cash is ideal. But if financing is your last resort, get it yourself. Do not ever haggle over financing in a dealership. Walk in pre-approved with a loan from your own bank, or my personal preference, credit union. This gives you negotiating power. Ask for a better price, and in most cases, you will get it!

I could probably list many more tips, but these are top in my mind. What would you add?

Provided by Kingdom First Mom