Often it seems that Labor Day comes when we need it the most. School is back in session, we’ve dropped our kiddos off on college campuses for the first time (#tears), and the heat of the summer is waning into glorious early fall. Let’s take a breather and enjoy a three-day weekend, right? So then why does Labor Day often feel so stressful? Maybe it’s the barrage of flyers or TV ads screaming about the latest mattress sale. Our old buddies at the car dealerships are definitely guilty of this, too. You can’t turn down the street without running into a cash-back or due-at-signing promotion. But is it all just fluff? If you know where to look, you might actually get a really good deal on a new car. We’ll help you sort through the mania.
Learn to love living within your means
Creating and living by a financial plan doesn’t mean you have to keep the lemon you bought delivering pizzas in college. But before you break out your checkbook, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Determine your budget for this big new purchase.
- Decide if you want to shop for a new or used car, whether or you’ll want to buy or lease, or if you want to consider a private seller.
- Determine what kind of vehicle features and new technologies matter to you.
- Understand how your car insurance needs and factor your premium into your car-related costs. (And don’t forget to compare rates every six months to make sure you’re getting the best rate.)
Do your research
There’s a lot to consider financially before moving in on one of those shiny discount deals. Check out our detailed checklist for more considerations before you buy a car.
In general when you show up at a dealership, arm yourself with information. The best way you can prepare is by looking at sites like Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, NADA, or Auto Tempest and knowing the true value of a car ahead of time. This cuts down on time spent at the dealership and keeps those car dealers honest!
Financial Mentor also has an excellent car cost calculator that calculates the true cost of ownership, either with a car you currently own, or one you’re looking to compare to your current family vehicle.
When it doubt, plan it out
Maybe summer isn’t the only thing ending. Your current lease might be coming up soon. Maybe you’ve already found the perfect car but it’s a little too fat for your piggy bank, so you’re looking to finance your dream. Or maybe the dream burst and your car is being held together by duct tape and sheer will power. In any case, when you’re reading to shop for a car, don’t get caught up in the hype of the sale.
First, as with any major purchase, the best way to save is to shop around. Every dealership is going to offer something different, so take a look at both the dealer websites and reliable third-party sites.
Where can you save in 2018?
You’ve survived summer birthdays, long road trips to visit Aunt Carol, and the back-to-school hustle. It’s time you got a little something back this Labor Day:
- Convertibles and sports cars are in lower demand over the fall and winter months and dealers want to get rid of excess inventory now.
- Honda has it’s Red Tag sale going on through Labor Day.
- Mazda, Buick, and Toyota are all offering 0% financing.
- Ford’s Escape is seeing discounts with low 0.9% financing.
- Jeep is celebrating Labor Day with a $500 Labor Day bonus cash on select 2018 Jeep brand vehicles.
You might be sick of the advertisements, but there are some great ways to save money this Labor Day. Take your time, shop around, and do your homework — and you’ll be driving up to the office Monday – no, Tuesday morning in a sweet new ride.