Car-shopping is an overwhelming and stressful task whether you are buying your first or your fifth car. When purchasing such an expensive item, it is important to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. Keep reading for some easy tips to help you save on your next car purchase.

1. Research online ahead of time

Did you know that 83% of car shoppers research online before heading into the dealership? Researching and comparing prices online helps you to learn about any special deals or financial rebates. Plus, you will get a feel for the going rate of the model you are interested in.

Check out sites like truecar.com and Kelley Blue Book to compare thousands of car sales and see what local dealerships have sold similar models for. Pay special attention to  a dealership’s customer service ratings and keep an eye out for special offers, such as student or veteran discounts.

2. Choose the right time

Choosing the right time to purchase a car can make a big difference in the amount you spend. Purchasing at the end of the month is a great way to save since the salesperson is more likely to give you a good deal in order to meet his or her monthly sales goals. Similarly, buying an outgoing car model can also help you save. Dealers look to get rid of older models to make room for new inventory and hit yearly sales goals. Therefore, they are more inclined to offer better discounts in November and December.

The time of day which you visit a dealership can have a big impact as well. Make sure you visit a dealership at a time of day when it is less likely to be busy. Avoid weekends and nights. A weekday afternoon is a better choice since the salesperson will have more time to sit and negotiate with you, offering more personalized attention.

3. Have a finance plan

Make sure you have an approved car loan before you step foot inside the dealership. Visit your local credit union beforehand to discuss the smartest decision. This will  keep the rates competitive and the dealer in line. Dealers will want to sell you on what you can technically afford, not on the smartest spending option. Knowing this ahead of time will help you from making a mistake in the long run. Since the value of a car depreciates quickly, it is important to understand the best financial choice for your wallet.

Check out Common Trust Federal Credit Union’s auto loan page, and learn more about how we can help you finance your next vehicle.

4. Do not be afraid to negotiate

Always visit more than one dealer and a get a written quote in order to leverage against other competing dealerships. Letting your salesperson know of another dealer’s quote can motivate them to go lower.

Focus on the total price of the new car and not the month-to-month payment. Some dealers will try to talk you into a lower monthly payment, which can increase your loan term and leave you owing more than your car is worth. A smaller car payment may make it seem like you are paying less, but you will actually be paying much more in interest.

5. Say no to add-ons

After you settle on your negotiation, avoid purchasing add-ons from the dealership such as window tinting, sealant, or extended warranties. You can always add these on later yourself from much cheaper retailers. Though these additions might not seem like much compared to the price of the car, they add up quickly.  Don’t be afraid to speak up if extra fees are added on after the negotiation. Closing or marketing fees should be included in the total cost you decided on.