Navigating the Car Shopping Minefield

Shopping for a car can be one of the more stressful things we have to do as consumers. Being prepared for the process can go a long way toward reducing that stress, however.

Your first task should be to know what you want and need. Make a list of features that are important to you, separating your list into needs and wants. You also should have a solid number in mind regarding price to ensure your new vehicle will fit into your budget. 

Next, realize that your choices can affect the price you pay. Hybrid vehicles will cost more. Adding a sunroof or moonroof will too. But you can often splurge on some upgrades if you are willing to look at a lower-priced vehicle to begin with. Ask yourself if you would be happy with a lower-end vehicle if you could have some extra luxuries. You may find that you can get a car you love at a lower price.

Finally, don't fall for dealers' tricks. One-day, weekend, or three-day sales are most often gimmicks designed to get you to buy right away. The price you are offered today will still be valid tomorrow, so if you need some time to think about it, you can safely delay your purchase. Watch out for added fees and extras that might be added on after you've negotiated your sales price as well. 

With a little bit of planning, you can have a more satisfying car buying experience. Just remember, car dealers are in it to win the sale at the best profit level for themselves. Take your time and come prepared, and you will come out a winner too.

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