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.
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 🙂