There’s no doubt that cars can be expensive. Whether you’re a petrolhead or simply need to get from A to B, everyone could benefit from saving a bit of money when buying, insuring, and running a new vehicle.
With so many options available, it can be hard to know what the cheapest and best way to buying a car is. From main dealership to online classified ads, cash payments to leasing, you’re bound to find the right option for you somewhere – it’s just a case of knowing where to look.
No matter what vehicle you’re looking to buy, keep reading to learn some of the top tips on how to save money on your motor.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people jump at the first chance they get to buy the car they’ve been looking for. Whilst letting an opportunity pass you by might be a problem for car collectors, most people will be able to find the right make and model of vehicle for them in several different dealerships, or even offered up for private sale.
Dealerships – both new and used – are frequently able to give discounts at their discretion. Just as you might rely on price matching in a supermarket, going to a car dealer without knowing about the cost of comparable vehicles elsewhere could prevent you from getting the best deal. It can’t hurt to explore what’s available, so be sure to shop around and find the right car at the right price.
Take time to understand the costs
Car salespeople employ all manner of convincing and attractive tactics to persuade you to buy a vehicle, but whilst their monthly payment breakdowns can be enticing, it’s important to fully understand the cost of the car you’re buying before closing the deal.
From payment plans attached to extensive loan agreements, through to extremely limited mileage allowances, make sure that you know the full cost of the car – not only the monthly payment amount. It’s worth asking the question, particularly because without doing so you may find yourself paying for unnecessary extras that you don’t want or need because you took a deal as it was offered. Cars are some of the most expensive things we’ll ever buy or own, so make sure that the deal you’re getting suits you and not just the seller.
Drive within your means
Driving within your means, in basic terms, involves buying a car that you can afford. Today so many people opt for vehicles on a leasing or financing package that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. This is all well and good, but it can lead to financial difficulties and in some circumstances leaves you doing little more than renting a car at an expensive rate.
Nobody wants to step themselves down from the dreams of owning their perfect vehicle, but just as with buying a house it’s important to factor in your own financial circumstances. If you’re already struggling to manage your finances, an expensive car financing package could tip you over the edge and that’s without the cost of running the vehicle.
If you must buy seek financing to buy a car, you’re more likely to find a better deal if you read up on the types of finance available. Personal loans, lease purchasing, hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP) are among the most popular forms of finance available, but what works for you will depend on your personal financial circumstances.
Similarly, if you’re experiencing debt issues, CreditAction provides UK consumers with information about debt solutions alongside plenty of financial knowledge, and could help you to get a handle on your own situation before you spend out on a new car.
Know your stuff
Understanding the financials will help you get by on the forecourt, but it can be just as important to know the costs associated with running your vehicle once you’ve bought it. Ongoing costs for vehicles generally total in the thousands of pounds every year and encompass things like insurance, road tax, fuel, and maintenance.
Opting for a car based on its looks is a trap something that anyone could easily fall into, but reliability and value retention are perhaps more important when you’re looking at things from a purely financial perspective. Vehicles can lose their value quickly, so knowing the pros and cons of your chosen car could make a big difference to your wallet further down the line. With comparison tables available at WhatCar? and Which?, it’s easy to find out what your new car might be worth in a few years’ time and you might even avoid a nasty shock by buying a vehicle with more favourable ratings.
Make it easy for yourself
Whatever car you’re looking to buy, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that knowledge is power. This is especially true when purchasing a vehicle, as dealerships and private sellers often have considerable room to bargain and only by developing your own knowledge will you be best placed to go toe-to-toe with them for the best price.
To make it make easy for yourself, go armed with information about the model of vehicle of you want, the cost of that vehicle at other vendors and – most importantly – an awareness of your own financial circumstances which will ultimately dictate what you can afford. With all of this, you’ll be in a strong position to negotiate and hopefully drive away with the car you want, at a price you love.