buying our first car.

Well, folks.

We have a car payment now.

We finally broke down and bought a new (to us) car.

It was time. Actually, it was a little past time.

We had two vehicles, a Toyota Camry that Ben got in college, and an old SUV that I drove in high school. High school, y’all. Ben drives the SUV and its really just a beat-around car. We haul the dogs, kayaks, trash, and other junk in that car. And I drove the Camry. It served us well, but it was becoming more of a hassle to drive it. During college, a motorcycle hit Ben head-on, and practically totaled the car. Since then, it seemed like we were continuously working on the car. We had talked about trading it for some time, but we were just waiting for the last straw.

And then it arrived.

About a month or so ago, Ben and I went to visit his family. His dad lives halfway between us and his mom, so we always stop at his dad’s house on the way to his mom’s house 8 hours away. We had postponed the trip for a day because PB had a touch of a virus. He had a low grade fever and just wasn’t feeling like himself. The next day, he woke up like himself, so we decided to give it a go, and head on out. We’d be stopping at his dad’s house in only 4 hours. Plus, we’d timed it up to leave during his naptime, so he’d sleep most of the trip. It wouldn’t be too bad.

Right?

He stayed awake the entire car ride. And for icing on the cake, he cried the WHOLE WAY THERE. I climbed in the backseat to sit with him and I realized why. It was 19382 degrees in the backseat, and we didn’t have tinted windows. His fever returned. We had to have the air conditioner reconfigured every year after the wreck. It hasn’t worked right since. It was a miserable trip. Totally, completely miserable. I don’t think Ben and I talked the whole way there.

When we got to Ben’s dad’s house, we ate quick bite of supper and went straight to look for a new car. We wandered over to the Toyota lot, and I found the car I was looking for: a white, used Toyota Highlander. We test drove it and loved it right away. The only thing we didn’t love was the price tag. Too much for a 2008 used vehicle we thought. The car was in great condition, and had reasonable mileage, but was still overpriced.

Let me stop here and say that neither one of us have ever bought a car. I’ve never been around the ‘negotiating’ nor am I good at ‘negotiating’ anything. As we were driving the car back after the test drive we were both trying to figure out how we could negotiate a price. I mean how in the heck do you buy a car?!?

We walked back in to the office like two sweaty-pitted teenagers. I’m pretty sure the salesman could smell our fear. We sat down in the ‘buyer’s seat’ and the salesman started crunching numbers. He handed us a sheet of paper after some calculations.

We were not happy. Still completely overpriced.

We went in for the kill. Two hours later, and 45 minutes after their closing time, we walked out with the keys to our new (to us) car. They took $4500 off the sticker price, and gave us more than we thought our car was worth. We paid the maximum amount down, and got a pretty decent interest rate. We hope to have the car paid off by Christmas this year.

 Being totally new to the car-buying business, we had no idea what to expect. After we’ve gone through the first-time buyer experience, here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Do your research. Ben and I had been researching cars for a couple of months. We decided what we wanted early on, and had been looking at vehicles for several months. We actually had found another car that we were interested in several weeks prior, and we were able to use it as a bargaining factor for our car.

2. Go later in the evening. We got to the lot around 6:00. The dealership closed at 7:30. By the time we test drove it and looked it over, it was close to 7:00. After an hours worth of bargaining and crunching numbers, I think they were just ready to get us out of there. They had already turned off most of the lights in the building!

3. Don’t mention that you want to trade cars right off the bat. My best friend and her husband recently traded vehicles, and this was the piece of advice she’d given me. We wanted to find out what would be the lowest price total that they would take for the car with or without trade.

4. Don’t be afraid to bargain. I’ve never been a negotiator, nor is Ben. But we were 200 miles away from home and had nothing to lose. Words came out of my mouth that I didn’t think I had. Plus, I needed a stinkin’ air conditioner that worked!

5. Act like you know what you are talking about. I think this is especially true for young folks. Don’t let them take advantage of you because you’re young!

Do you have any tips for buying a car? Or for negotiating/bargaining in general?

Have a blessed Monday 🙂

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10 thoughts on “buying our first car.

  1. God's timing is spot on! i love your new car! its so cute! we recently traded because ours needed repairs, a month ago our car had a re call and we took it in for that, toyota changed the oil when we told them not to and gave the whole car a look over, they noted everything was in good condition and needed no replacements well about a week ago, the oil started leaking out of the oil pan, we took the car to toyota and they said it had a bent fender, a bent rim and was leaking from the oil pain(they said because the oil was too thin)-all not covered under extended warranty-we used that as leverage because they told us the car was in good condition not a month before that and THEY put the oil in that was leaking, long story short they gave us an amazing deal on our trade in and took money off the car we were purchasing! congrats on the new vehicle!

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  2. Congrats on your new vehicle!!

    My husband and I purchased a new Toyota Highlander WAY BACK in early 2001. We've
    been driving it for 12 yrs. We have ONLY done routine maintenance.. oil changes, new tires, brakes, etc.
    That it… in 12 yrs! My son has been driving it for the last 2 years and he is taking it to college.
    The Highlander was our 3rd Toyota.. but our very first brand new vehicle. We love Toyotas and
    I hope you love yours as much as we have loved ours. OH and one more thing….. it has nearly 200,000 miles
    on it and the body still looks as good as the day we bought it.

    Enjoy!

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  3. How exciting! Nick and I were in the exact same position last year. I was driving a 2000 Suzuki compact I'd had since high school and he still drives a 2002 Camry he got in college. I got a job that required me to drive my personal vehicle all over tarnation but we were still making it work…until the day I broke down in a bad neighborhood right before dark. We traded it in for a great deal on a low-mileage Mercury Mariner which I LOVE, especially since I can haul so much more stuff! My Craigslist habit definitely benefited!

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  4. YAY! Congrats! That must feel good – and the new car looks great! We just went from one to two cars, and it was the first time we had to go through that whole process, too (the only other car we bought was from a friend and just meant meeting to give him a check). It's scary, isn't it?

    You two are brave, going through that whole negotiation process. The funny thing is that we intentionally went to a dealer where their whole thing is that they won't negotiate, but ever since I've had this nagging wonder about whether we would've gotten a better price if we had gotten up the guts to go somewhere and haggle.

    Whatever the case, go you! and have fun getting used to your shiny new wheels!

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  5. CONGRATS!!!! Wow, it is so pretty! I wish when I say “my new car” it would look like that! Haha, instead it looks more like a 1999 Honda Civic, but ah well. I'll just have to leave the driving to you!

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