7 tips for car buying nirvana. It’s execution time!
I’ve been asked by so many readers, friends and fellow financial gurus to write about my car buying experiences. There are a gazillion excellent articles on this topic, but we are approaching the time of year when the 2015s are coming out and the 2014s are on sale. It’s execution time! How about a refresher?
My track record with buying a car has been blessed. I am amazed at how easy it can be to influence salespeople, even when it’s their job to influence you! The internet makes it all possible.
Here are some of Paula Cashflow’s favorite car buying tips:
- Use the dealership to “test drive” the car only. Go in, test drive, and then leave immediately!!
- Use Truecar.com for determining your price points.
- Know the competition. For example, I wanted a Toyota. Kia and Hyundai are Toyota’s biggest competition for my chosen model. Let the dealership know you’re also test driving the competition. Dealers know their models’ competition.
- Purchase at the end of the month. Remember that sales people have monthly quotas to meet and are more likely to wheel and deal near the end of the month.
- Limit your “skin in the game”. Put as little cash down as possible. Your trade-in could be sufficient. I’m not a fan of paying cash for a vehicle. In today’s low interest rate environments, I usually get dealer or bank financing (simple-interest only loans). Avoid loans that are front-end loaded for prepayment penalties. These were popular back in the 80’s and 90’s. Compare dealer financing to your own bank’s auto loan rates. Don’t finance for more than four years. Any longer and you could be underwater, owing more than the current value of the car. My current auto loan is at zero percent interest.
- Put dealer against dealer for your final chosen model. When combined with the Truecar.com pricing model, you improve your chances of paying a more competitive price.
- Calculate your own monthly payment. This step is important because they’re going to try and sell you 10 different warranty plans and confuse you with various payment amounts.
Here is what happened during my recent experience after following the above tips.
I didn’t want any bells and whistles on my car. They stated that they didn’t have any stripped down models in stock. I suggested that they special-order the car. I was in no rush. Because they wanted to close the deal that day, I got the bells and whistles model for the NO bells and whistles price. By the way, those bells and whistles really don’t cost the dealerships much. The dealership was also offering zero percent financing. They tried to renege on the zero percent interest after I got the car for below cost. Since this was a telephone conversation, I declined the offer. I needed both my price and the zero percent interest financing.
Resist when they ask you to come in to finish the negotiation. Don’t go! Do it all by phone. When they finally agreed to give me my price and zero percent financing, I asked them to have the vehicle parked out front so I could inspect the vehicle before I signed on the dotted line. The dealership obliged on all accounts.
I actually believe that dealerships do want to deal with informed and sophisticated buyers. This is the third vehicle I’ve bought from this dealership. They knew that. It’s a long-term relationship. And will probably continue to be.
When you make informed and thorough buying decisions on your car purchases, you take ownership of your own financial freedom!
After all, it’s about life and how you live it. Cha ching!!
In the spirit of financial well-being,
Stocks are up, bonds are in la la land and commodities have been pummeled. Should you be relying solely on your financial capital as the major driver of your overall portfolio? There are other types of capital that you may already possess. Capital that has weathered the financial crisis, maybe survived a layoff (or two), and could possibly mature into another long term holding of your portfolio. Continue reading
July Cashflow update: Completing your three month financial checklist
Every quarter I sit down and complete a personal financial statement (PFS). As of June 30, 2014, my PFS will show all my assets, all my liabilities and the resulting total net worth. I use an Excel spreadsheet, so each quarter has its own tab. I compare each quarter’s results with the last quarters’ results to see if my net worth increased. Yes, it is good if the number is larger quarter over quarter.
But what should you really glean from your PFS? Continue reading
What does the current housing market mean for your future finances?
Whether you’re a renter or a home owner, it still means just about everything when you’re building wealth.
Why? Because the price of home ownership is usually the single largest line item of a budget. If you don’t get your hands around procuring long term affordable housing, your financial future might be stalled. Continue reading
Financial freedom is not just for net savers. Everybody needs to start embracing financial autonomy. Becoming a net saver, by choosing to save your discretionary dollars versus spending, is a good way to start. Even if you fall into the category of “net spender”, I have news for you, you can become financially autonomous with a little behavior modification. Continue reading
Addressing your failures to expedite your successes.
Let’s take a moment to reflect upon the following:
“If you never try, you never fail, but if you never fail, you never get the chance to better yourself.” Unknown
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” Jim Rohn
As I contemplate the above passages, I am grateful that one of my readers pushed me to write about the proverbial “F” word – Failure. It’s clear to Paula Cashflow that you can’t blog about reinventing yourself, become better at asking for more money, or become better at public speaking, without the risk of failure. Continue reading
In Part 1, we reviewed the difference between getting a raise and getting a COLA and declining wages. In Part 2, we’ll review the personal impact this has on your income and actions you should take. (Part 2 of a 2 part series.)
After you have calculated the numbers from Part 1 and have a degree of comfort with your numbers, what is the next step to addressing declining real wages?
Looking at your numbers from Part 1, subtract your answer for number 1 from your answer for number 2. If the number is positive, then obviously your current salary is under the market rate. Are you comfortable with closing the gap? If you combine this difference with a history of COLAs, are you even more comfortable moving forward with closing the gap?
Here’s where you can measure whether you have mastered some of Paula Cashflow’s behavioral concepts covered in past blogs, such as becoming a persuasive speaker. Continue reading
Do you know the difference between getting a raise or COLA? A look at how declining real wages are impacting you. (Part 1 of a 2 part series.)
Getting to financial freedom has many components, as you’ve probably gleaned from past blogs. But one of the more important concepts that you must grasp is the ongoing battle against declining real wages.
What is meant by “declining real wages”? Even before the financial crisis, wages were in a negative holding pattern, meaning wages were rising slower than inflation. This means that your annual raise wasn’t really a “raise”. It was a “COLA”. Continue reading
With Memorial Day this weekend, summer is just around the corner. You’ve done a spring cleaning on your house, how about your finances? Now, I know I’m no Martha Stewart, but Paula Cashflow has her own spring cleaning list which could fine tune your finances if you give it a shot. Take a look and let me know your thoughts. Continue reading
Okay, I know that I promised I wouldn’t start every blog with “5 ways to get to Tahiti” or “7 ways to sure-proof your IRA”, but if you’ll allow me to fall off the proverbial wagon for a blog or two, it would be greatly appreciated.
I just couldn’t figure out any other way of recapping some Paula Cashflow fundamentals. So here they are: Continue reading