End of Year Savings

Have you ever noticed how I end each letter of Easy Street? I write the words “Keeping Money in Your Pocket” followed by my signature.

As a frugal living expert my goal is to explain how you can keep as much of your hard earned money in your pockets as possible. There are two ways to do that. I can teach you how to make more money to line your pockets with and two; I can teach you how to spend less on the things you need to buy.

Part of being a smart spender is knowing the proper times to buy things. Most products and services are cheaper if bought at a particular point during the year.

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This is especially true about cars. If you are in the market for a new car then I am about to save you thousands of dollars.

Why buy a new car now? Dealerships are getting ready to or have already taken possession of next year’s models. The 2012 versions of each of car manufacturers are coming in now to every dealership in the nation. This makes car lot owners a bit anxious. They’ve got quite a bit of inventory of this year’s models still left on their lots and they’re taking possession of a whole bunch more of next year’s models.

But their pain is your gain. Because dealerships are about to get a huge influx of 2012 models they are discounting all of the 2011 models. You can snatch one up at a huge markdown from what they were selling for just a few months ago.

The day and time in which you shop can also save you money when purchasing a new car. The slowest selling days on the car lot are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Shopping during these days means fewer customers. Fewer customers mean more attention from salesmen. Usually sales people that follow me around and never leave my side annoy me, sometimes to the point of making me leave. But in this instance it’s a good thing. Car lots devoid of customers make sales people worry about making their quotas. In turn this makes salesmen more open to accepting lower priced offers from consumers. To further ensure you are one of the only customers on the lot go first thing in the morning, preferably right after the dealership opens.

Don’t have time to physically go to the lot to look at cars? Look online. There are great deals there too. Car dealers have two sales teams: the ones on the showroom floor and the ones in the online department. The online sales teams posts cars for sale on various websites. If you find a car online you like negotiate with the online sales team instead of going to the car lot to look at it. Internet sales people usually work on volume rather than commission which make them more interested in selling lots of cars quickly. That means you can score a great deal in the process.

Once you’ve picked out a car you want it’s time to talk turkey. At this stage a sales person at any dealership will hustle you into their financing department. Do not assume their loan rates are the best ones available to you. Before you ever head to the car lot stop by your local bank or credit union to see what rates they offer. And always choose the shortest term car loan available to you. Car salesmen will always try to talk you into long term loans because for one; they make more money off you that way (you pay more in interest over the life of the loan, and two; this lowers the payment which makes expensive cars seem more affordable. This is a trick, not a money saving technique. Long term loans spread the payments out for so long that by the time you are done paying off the car, it’s almost fully depreciated in value.

Don’t hesitate to walk off the lot if a dealer won’t accept your best offer. Being willing to walk away is the strongest negotiating tactic you have. A lot of times sales people will be more willing to negotiate once they see how serious you are. It’s fine to leave your name and number with them so they can call you in the following days to offer you a lower price. This tactic I learned from my Dad. When we were buying my first car we walked away after realizing the sales person was not going to accept my offer. I was devastated. But every day that followed the sales person called to talk to my Dad about the car. By the third day the salesman accepted our offer and I got the car my 17 year old heart desired.

If you’re ever in doubt about the price you should be paying for a new car a smart phone can help with that. Check out kelleybluebook.com or Edmunds.com to find out the invoice amount of any car you’re interested in. As long as you end up close to that price you should pat yourself on the back because you’ve just saved yourself thousands of dollars.

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Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

One Response

  1. n bang

    Good points, Nancy – couldn’t have done it better myself…


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