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What Options are There For Saving Money

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
What Options Are There For Saving Money

If you are thinking of purchasing a new or used car then you will probably be pleased to know there are a variety of avenues open to help you stretch your budget and save some money.

If you have already decided on the exact make and model of vehicle you want then you also need to decide whether you want a brand new or second hand vehicle.

The savings available to you will depend greatly on which option you choose to take.

Buying a Used Car

  • Golden rule - Research, research, research!
  • - It’s really simple – if you’re thinking of buying a used car, then one of the only ways you can keep the cost down is to really do your research. Shop around, check the Parker and Glass’s guides for current list prices, check E-bay for banger bargains, Auto-Trader, local second hand car dealers and anywhere else you can think of.

  • Make sure you get a good price for part-exchange
  • - This works for both new and used cars. Don't be scared to haggle. What have you got to lose? The dealer might lose a sale if they think you're going to walk away, so go for it and be a bit cheeky.

  • Offer to pay in cash
  • - Second hand dealers will often give you substantial discounts for paying in cash, rather than taking out finance. This is harder (but not impossible) with new cars as dealers often get financial benefits if people take out their car loans.

  • Don't get stung with huge repair bills
  • - Get the car completely checked over first by a mechanic, and don’t buy anything just because you think it ‘looks nice’.

Buying a Brand New Car

Once you’ve decided that you want to buy a brand new car, you’ll be visiting car showrooms with a glint in your eye and a burning hole where your purse or wallet used to be. However, if you’re thinking about it, you need to plan your attack well, so that you can make some good savings.

  • Check the manufacturer’s website
  • - Any offers that are currently available will be detailed on here, and you may get special online prices.

  • Use a car comparison site
  • - If the manufacturer’s website doesn’t do anything for you – have a look at online buying sites such as www.autoebid.com and www.drivethedeal.com. These sites provide a service whereby you submit the make and model of vehicle you require and suppliers will then contact you directly with their offers. You can then either choose the one offering the best price or if you’re really good - play them against each other to drive the price further down.

  • Choose your timing well
  • - New car registrations take place twice a year on 1 March and 1 September. If you visit a car showroom just before the new registration is released then you might find that the prices offered to you differ quite dramatically from a few weeks before.

    When the showrooms are about to fill up with newly registered models they have to shift their existing stock – and you can usually get a good price around this time. Just be careful that if you go after the new registrations are released you don’t end up walking away with the new registration at full price, rather than the earlier model at a significant discount!

  • Choose a smaller engine
  • - Whether you are buying a petrol or diesel engine, you can save money both in the short and long term by choosing a car that has a smaller engine. A smaller engine equals better fuel economy - so cheaper fuel bills – which with petrol and diesel prices rising all the time can only be a good thing.

    When you’re in the showroom, look at the fuel economy labels – this will tell you how fuel efficient the car you are looking at is. They range from <100-226+ and they go through a range of colours – green for the most efficient group, yellow, orange, through to red for the least efficient group.

    By choosing a smaller engine, you'll bring down the initial price of the car you buy and if that wasn’t enough it’s also likely that your new car will be in a lower insurance group – bringing down the cost even more.

  • Check the Co2 emissions
  • - Now that vehicle excise duty – or road tax to you and me, is worked out based on the amount of Co2 emissions a car produces, choosing a more ‘environmentally friendly’ model can bring down your road tax costs by quite a significant amount. With the highest Co2 emission producing cars costing around £500 a year to tax; it can save you a fortune in the long run.

  • Options
  • - Options are a slippery slope when choosing a car as they can quickly add thousands of pounds to the list price. Most cars nowadays come with items supplied as standard that used to be considered luxury extras, such as electric windows and air conditioning. If price is an issue, then you need to decide exactly what you need and don’t be swayed by shiny things and clever salespeople.

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