8 Ways to Save Money On Your Next New or Used Car Purchase
The sticker price on a new and used car continues to climb, making saving money on transportation increasingly important. The average price of a used car reportedly spiked by more than 16 percent, year-over-year, and working families are paying above Kelly Blue Book value in too many cases. We all need to get to work, run family errands, and enjoy a lifestyle that includes transportation freedom. The following 8 ways to save money on your next new or used car could help you achieve those goals.
1: Refinance Your Current Loan with ACU
Buying when the new and used car markets are seemingly overpriced might not be the most cost-effective decision. It may be worthwhile to refinance your existing car loan and reinvest some cash into your current ride.
Start by bringing the vehicle to a reputable mechanic or dealership and get an estimate that includes necessary and cosmetic repairs. Ask an experienced auto mechanic to discuss the potential life expectancy of the car. Then speak with an ACU loan officer about refinancing. If the numbers work, you could be driving a used car that looks and runs like new.
2: Learn to Negotiate
Haggling is similar to the gentle art of persuasion and being nice can prove very effective. Remember to come to the dealership having done your homework about the Blue Book values of new and used cars that fit your price range and lifestyle.
News and pre-owned car sellers typically have plenty of final price flexibility. Nudge the salesperson gently and politely toward the number you believe is fair. Don’t hesitate to walk away, try another car lot, throw out the lowest number you’ve achieved and ask if they can do better. You may have to spend a day haggling until you get to the true low watermark. But that’s money saved.
If you want to learn how to negotiate like pro, download our free eBook:
Become a Master Negotiator in Less Than 10 Minutes: Car Buying Manual
3: Determine Financing
New and used car dealerships like nothing more than someone with a reasonable sound credit score. That’s largely because many extend financing with higher interest rates and terms that favor their organization.
One of the best ways to save money on a new or used car is to get pre-approved before walking the automobile lots. Credit unions traditionally offer among the lending industry’s lowest automobile loan interest rates, reduced fees, and repayment terms that favor borrowers. Getting pre-approved gives you tremendous bargaining power and a money-saving option.
4: Take Advantage of First Time Car Buyer Programs
Automobile manufacturers work with data that indicates consumers are inclined to stick with a brand they know and trust. That’s why car-makers and financial institutions offer first-time buyer programs designed to help build credit and help car buyers with the loan process.
In fact, manufacturers feel so confident that consumers will remain loyal to brands that incentives and rebates are sometimes extended to their used car inventory. No one says your next car has to be made by the same company. You’re free to take the discount and select any make or model you desire next time around. Make sure to ask your local credit union how they can help get your first time car buyer a great deal.
5: Consider Skip a Payment Options
When shopping for your next new or used car, it’s important to differentiate between lenders and what they bring to the table. Credit unions are non-for-profit organizations that strive to increase opportunities for low-cost lending to their members. Because of their community-oriented business model, credit unions often have flexible repayment options.
For example, the ACU Skip-A-Payment program allows borrowers to skip a monthly loan payment.¹. Not having to worry about a car payment during the holiday season or when you want to take a family vacation saves money and makes life a little less stressful.
6: Compare Car Insurance Options
Drivers are required to purchase automobile insurance to cover the cost of losses. Texas law requires you to have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. This is called 30/60/25 coverage. The state mandate is not lost on insurance companies, and some provide significantly lower rates than others. That’s why it makes good financial sense to shop around when purchasing a new or used car. And when your auto insurance agreement nears its expiration, consider fielding quotes to ensure you get the best deal possible.
7: Check Maintenance Costs
Not every maintenance plan from a dealership is created equal. While automobile sellers tout their maintenance plans, it’s crucial to do a deep dive into the costs. Some plans do not cover the parts most likely to falter with a particular make and model. Others offer free oil changes and maintenance for only a set period.
It’s important to know the real maintenance costs associated with a new or used car and the research can generally be conducted online. In terms of saving money on your next vehicle, those are hard numbers that need to be factored into the overall cost.
8: Check The Gas Situation
Prices at the pump set new records in the spring of 2022 and energy costs remain unpredictable. The miles per gallon of new and used cars rank among the driving reasons to select one vehicle over another. One of the best ways to save money is to purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicle that serves your needs.
We're Here to Help!
These tips will help you save money on your next used car or new car purchase. If you still have questions throughout the process of shopping for your car, choosing your financing, or looking for a car loan, contact us!
Don't forget, all ACU members have access to TruStage Insurance discounts. We also offer Auto Loans that fit your needs with competitive auto loan rates and up to 90 days with no payments!2
For more details on how to find the best used cars and car loan for your needs and more tips to save you time and money on your car buying journey, review our "Everything You Need to Know About a Car Loan" complete guide!
1. Loans that have met the maximum number of payment skips over the life of the loan may not be approved for this skip payment offer. All requests must be submitted at least 10 days prior to payment due date. America’s Credit Union has the right to refuse this extension request at its discretion. Other conditions may apply. Interest will continue to accrue from the date of last payment. You agree to amend the terms of your original agreement by one month, and repay the entire unpaid balance, plus interest.
2. Interest accrues from the date of the contract.
Membership in America’s Credit Union is open to anyone who lives or works in Dallas, Rockwall or Collin Counties, Texas, and their family members. Employees of select employers may also be eligible. See our Membership page for details.