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Car Buying: Are You Getting the Best Deal?

man looking at car in showroom

Be it a car, truck or SUV, whenever you make a big purchase, you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. How much should you spend? How can you make sure you’re getting a good price? Here’s how to drive away with a bargain.

Your step-by-step checklist:

  1. Set a budget.

    Take a look at your savings and budget to determine how much you can afford to spend.(Need help? Use an auto loan calculator to estimate your monthly car payment.) Remember to consider any changes in insurance, maintenance and fuel costs. Then, decide whether you’ll be purchasing a new or used vehicle.

  2. Do your research.

    Check reviews and road tests of various models, compare vehicles and check safety information. Learn the invoice price, manufacturer's suggested retail price and average selling price of the cars you're considering to determine a fair target price. If you have a trade-in, be sure to research a fair value for your current car as well.

  3. Secure financing.

    A dealer's “special” financing may be tempting, but keep in mind that you may not qualify, and you might need to forgo other incentives or rebates that might

    work out to be a better deal. Getting pre-approved for an auto loan at your credit union or bank means you walk into the dealership with the amount you can borrow and the interest rate in hand. That knowledge boosts your negotiating power at the dealership—because financing is already in place, you only need to focus on the purchase price (and your trade-in, if any).
  4. Time your purchase.

    Dealers tend to reduce prices at the end of the model year (new models generally become available starting in late summer) or the end of the month or calendar year when dealers need to turn over stock. After a good test drive, get prices from a few different sellers to negotiate with the most attractive bid.

  5. Keep an eagle eye on the paperwork.

    Always read all of the documents carefully, make sure the numbers match what you’ve agreed upon and look for any additional charges. Get any promises in writing, such as free installation of accessories.

By choosing a vehicle that fits your budget with a terrific financing plan in place and at a great price, your only concern will be where to drive first.

Savings you can count on
Find an auto buying program such as Navy Federal’s program that gives you access to a select network of dealers that are ready to provide you with established program pricing not available to the general public, and a simplified, no-stress buying experience. Click here to learn more.

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