It wasn’t my plan to buy a new car. Everyone knows the value decreases the minute we drive off the lot. I was searching for a used model, two or three years old. While gathering information on Yahoo! Autos, I already knew that the sticker price is only the starting point! However, even I was surprised to learn how simple it was to save $4000 on a new vehicle.
The first thing in my favor was time. I was in no hurry to buy. My previous car was in decent shape. Its trade-in value listed as $3500. I detailed it and placed a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window. I drove and parked it around town, asking $5000. I soon received an offer for $4500. This added $1,000 to my down payment.
An important feature I wanted was AWD. Consumer reports lead me to Crossovers. I watched a video about the Suzuki SX4 and became excited. This car seemed to include everything I needed.
I believe in budgets and I stick to them. I knew I could easily put the $4500 down, and finance $12500. Anything above that made me nervous. I began playing with the ‘build-your-own-car’ option and loved the finished product. However, the list price was $20,500, far from my bottom line of $17,000. Nope, I couldn’t afford that. Nevertheless, I glanced through the advertised incentives:
- $1000 rebate on new models
- 0% interest
- $500 Visa Gas Card
- $500 Military Discount
I definitely qualified for the first three on the list. A quick comparison between the 0% interest rate and the Credit Union’s 2.9% interest rate confirmed additional savings of $1000. That raised my bottom line to $18000.
Free gas for five months equaled two car payments. I could take it up to $18,500.
I had to continue, and I clicked on “See specials in your area.” Sure enough, our local dealership offered my car for $18,000.
I scheduled a test drive. It was great. However, the excitement came to a halt when the final price changed to $21,000. I didn’t take taxes, warranty and other fees into consideration. Minus the $1000 rebate and $4500 down, I looked at financing $15,500. I thought about the offer in front of me and sadly, I had to say, “no.”
The sales associate asked which figure I had in mind. I told him the bottom line price is $18,000. He laughed and explained that, after all, they had to make a profit. I responded, “I understand,” and then thanked him for his time.
I almost made it out of their parking lot when the sales manager appeared in the rear view mirror. He was waving and motioning to stop. He asked, “Honestly, what is your final offer?” I told him, “Honestly, I can pay $5000 down, finance $12,000 and I will search until I find that kind of a deal.” He stretched out his hand and said, “You found it!”
I like my new car and I am proud that I stuck to my budget. I paid $17,000 for a $21,000 vehicle and now I am patiently waiting for the first winter storm. I am anxious to see how my little Crossover performs on snow-covered country roads. And, after all, I still have a $500 gift card for gas in my pocket.