Up until a year ago, I had always leased my cars. 3-year leases were my thing. I was a pro at that. I’d get a car I liked, it was never too expensive, and there was very little commitment involved. If I liked it, great! And if I got bored of it after a while, the end of my lease was never too far away.
But then I met my husband, and ended up moving really far from where I work. When I’d look at the miles I was putting on my car, I’d cry. That’s when I knew it was time to be a big girl and actually BUY a car. Plus, I was a little tired of just throwing money away. I wanted something that was MINE, so I knew it was finally time to make that investment.
Here’s how it happened. The car I had been leasing died. I took it in for service, and it turned out that the car needed a new battery. So since I was already at the car dealership, I decided to take a look around and see if it would make sense to turn in my lease early, and buy a car. And yea, that same day, I went home with a new one.
Here are five tips that helped me survive that experience, and hopefully, they’ll help you too!
1. Understand what’s important to you
What’s most important to you? Safety ratings? A super awesome totally decked out radio system? Leather seats? A sunroof? The price? What are your non-negotiables? What MUST your new car have? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, then exit the car dealership immediately! You’re not ready to buy a new car until you know what you’re looking for.
2. Do your research on the value of the car
Car dealerships are always gunna try to pull a fast one. They’ll always try to make the most profit possible, even if it’s at your expense. I know, these guys aren’t my favorite, but it’s the business, so it is what it is. BUT, you can put yourself in a way better position if you do some homework. First, explore Allstate’s Tools & Resources website. You’ll find tons of articles that will help you make the most of your car buying experience. And before you buy ANY car, you should know the Kelly Blue Book Value. You should know what the car is worth before signing any papers, because the last thing you want to do is pay more than you have to.
You’re gunna be looking at a beautiful car and you’re gunna ask for a price. Then, your sales person is gunna throw out a number. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER say, “Ok, that’s fine.” Negotiate, people! Chances are, they’ll never offer you their best price the first time around, so keep counter offering until you’re comfortable with your payment.
I was so proud of myself when I bought my car. I had never really negotiated before. Just the thought of negotiating made me super uncomfortable, but I did it. They offered me a price, and it was way over what I wanted to pay, so I told them heck no. Then my sales guy went to “talk to his manager” to see what he could do. He came back with a lower price, and I was happy. So don’t be afraid to put your foot down. It’s a little awkward at first, but after a while, you kind of feel good about it. No one else is gunna fight for you, so you have to be willing to stick up for yourself.
4. Don’t settle for a car you don’t want
I remember looking around asking for a 2015 Jetta. And you know what my sales guy kept on showing me? 2014 Jettas. Why? Well, because they wanted to get those older cars off the lot, but that’s not what I wanted. Had I let them convince me to buy the older model, I know I would have regretted it today, so don’t let anyone try to tell you what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you NEED a convertible or that you NEED a sunroof. Don’t let them try to sell you a car with cloth interior when you know for a fact that you want leather. Trust your gut, stick to your guns, and if you’re having a hard time doing that, go home and come back the next day with your mom.
5. Enjoy it!
After you finally buy your car, enjoy it!! Go celebrate! Take a road trip somewhere! Owning my car is so awesome because now Joe and I can go wherever we want, whenever we want, and we don’t have to worry about exceeding our mileage. Cars are for making memories, people! Also, be sure to check out these cool driving apps that will help make your road trip one to remember.
Don’t be that guy who gets a new car and then just lets it sit in the driveway. You know, the guy who covers his car with one of those car cover things and then never takes it out in fear that it’s gunna get a scratch or something. Your car WILL get scratched at some point. Three days into having my new car, I backed up into my trashcan and it made a huge dent. Those things are bound to happen. So get over it, and go on cool adventures! Then come back, and tell me all about them!
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. Allstate is here to help protect your firsts and the moments in between. Share your firsts with #HeresToFirsts.
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