Getting the most out of your college experience means participating in internships, volunteering, attending events in the community and part-time jobs. Most of these activities require access to transportation. But while college is an amazing time for gaining invaluable life experience, it can be a not so great time for financial stability.
So how do you as a student who is low on cash but still in desperate need of wheels make sure that you are getting the best deal on a car? Here are five ways to save on your next car:
1. Buy Your Car on the Internet
If you have already researched cars and are sure of what you want, most car dealerships now have Internet sales departments where you can negotiate a price and financing with a salesperson online. Some dealerships will even deliver the car and paperwork to you. Internet salespeople generally have different sales incentives; they are paid for the number of cars they sell rather than on the sales price. Therefore, they are more likely to give you the lowest price on a car from the beginning than a typical car salesperson. According to Edmunds, a consumer, on average, saves between $1,000 and $2,000 by negotiating online.
2. Make Dealerships Bid Against Each Other
Online negotiations also allow you to be in contact with multiple dealerships at once. Once you receive an initial offer from the Internet department on a specific vehicle from several dealerships, go back to each one with the lowest price and ask them to make another offer. Letting each bid against the others is a good way to ensure you will get the very best price from every dealership.
3. Consider the Timing of Your Purchase
If you feel more comfortable buying a car in person, aim to buy at the end of the month. Most dealerships give bonuses to salespeople who meet monthly (or sometimes quarterly) goals, so by the end of the month many in the sales force are scrambling to meet these goals and you are more likely to get the best deal they can offer. Statistically, winter months offer the biggest discounts, although inventory may be low on some cars. Even better, if you can wait, buy a car when the next year’s model is just about to come out. Dealerships only want to sell the newest cars and will make deals to move the older models.
4. Look for Used Cars Outside of Your Area
Looking for a used car can be frustrating, especially if you have a specific model in mind. Popular cars can go quickly and inventory in your area may be limited. With a website like DriveTime, you aren’t limited to looking for used cars locally. DriveTime allows you to search for cars in any location (and who couldn’t use a bonus road trip) and includes an AutoCheck Report and five day return policy. Casting a wide net will make sure you get the car you want at the best price.
5. Check for Student Discounts
When you think of student discounts you might think of the movies or art museums, but there are also many and new grads. Some car companies have special financing options for students who are close to graduating. For example, for students who meet eligibility criteria, Honda offers a flexible lease and financing terms on new and used vehicles and Toyota offers a $1,000 rebate on the purchase of a new car.