>U Mom Knows Best: Car Shopping Tips During Tough Times

Monday, June 6, 2022

Car Shopping Tips During Tough Times

 Shopping for a car in the year 2022 is quite a challenge as car dealers deal with inventory shortages. 

 My husband and I have been surviving with one car for many years. We were a two-car family until the year 2015. My husband's car was totaled in an accident. After receiving the small amount from the insurance, we decided not to replace the vehicle. Instead of a new car, and the car payments, we used the car insurance money to remodel our master bathroom. The choice to not purchase the 2nd car was easy as my husband took the bus to work and I was working from home. 

 Fast forward to the year 2020 and due to Covid 19, the bus route that my husband took to work was canceled. So my husband had to start driving to work. Our current car was 12 years old and needed many repairs. We now needed to purchase a car. The only problem was ~ that there were not many cars available on car dealers' lots. It seemed that everyone else was shopping for a car. So, rather than purchase a new car, we decided to hang on to our car and wait for the car-buying market to get better. We used the money, that we had set aside for the new car, to get the many repairs done on our older car. 

Car buying in the year 2021

 The automotive industry did not look any better in 2021. The semiconductor chip shortages and supply chain problems meant that there were even fewer cars on the car lots. My husband and I had money to purchase a new car but the prices of the cars were outrageous. All of a sudden, the car that we wanted to purchase was now $5000 more! So we had to get creative with sharing one car. That meant that I had to drive my husband to work on the days that I needed the car.

 I did not realize how much of a car dealer's market it was until my older son needed to purchase a new car. My son was graduating college and was in need of a car. My son was home from college for Christmas. My son looked at the car market, both used and new. He decided to buy a new car as the prices of used cars were insane. It took a while for my son to locate a car to purchase. Once he found the car, on a car lot 55 miles away, he had to act fast. 

 I drove my son to the new car dealer, so he could test drive the car. The car price was more than my son had expected. My son tried to haggle the car price with the salesperson but had no luck. The car dealer was not offering any discounts on the car. My son needed a car and could not delay his car purchase as he was heading back to school soon. My son decided to buy the car and put a down payment on the car. That way my son could secure a car loan and not lose the car. My son had to calculate the car payment, so he could estimate how much of a car loan he needed to buy the car.

 Thankfully my son qualified for a car loan and was able to buy the car. The only problem was waiting for the money to transfer to his bank account. Since it was almost the end of December, the money was not expected to be transferred until a couple days into January. My son was heading back to school in a couple of days and could not wait for the money to be transferred. My son asked me if I could loan the money to him. Thankfully, my husband and I had not purchased our car. I had money in the bank and I wrote the check for my son's new car. 

Car buying in the year 2022

 My husband and I simply could not survive with one car anymore. My teen son was participating in sports and needed many car rides to his meets. So it was time to start the car buying process. As a car shopper, I quickly learned that there was a limited selection of cars with high prices on the automotive car lots. I also learned that demand for new cars had increased so I needed to move quickly if I found the car that my husband and I wanted.

Ongoing vehicle shortage means higher prices

 Car dealers had the advantage and were not willing to haggle the car price. That meant the money that I had been saving in the bank was not enough for a new car. So I could no longer pay cash for my next car purchase. I knew that I needed to take out a car loan but the question was how much car loan did I need?

  I needed to know what my car payment was going to be before I started looking at cars. It seemed like all the cars on the car lots had upgrades, which made the car price higher. I had some money in the bank that I had saved for the car purchase. Did I want to use all of that money to buy the new car or did I want to take out a bigger car loan? I searched online for money calculators to help me figure out how much the interest would be and how much my monthly car payment would be. I knew that I needed to have all of my money homework done before I secured a car loan.

Should I buy from the car dealer or order my car online?

The next question that I had, in my car shopping process was where do I purchase my new car? In the past, car shopping meant spending a day at a local car dealer. The pandemic has changed the way that people buy new cars. Now one can head to the automaker's website and build the vehicle configuration you want and then send that information to your preferred dealership. Of course, this car buying option will mean that I would have to pay the MSRP car price. It might save me money as I don't have to pay for car features or add-ons that I don't want. The downside is having to wait 6-8 weeks for the car to be ready.

 If I buy my car at a local car dealer, I may get my car quicker but my selection of cars to choose from will be less. That may mean that I will have to buy the new car in a color that I don't like and pay for features that I don't need like expensive trims.

Test driving at the local car dealer and buying online

 My husband and I decided that we wanted our new car in a certain color. I was not willing to sacrifice the color of the car over time and small money savings. Since we keep our cars for long periods of time, we wanted to have a car that made us happy. I was not willing to spend all this money on a car that was in a color that I did not like.

 So my husband and I decided that we will visit a couple of car showrooms in town to test drive the cars that we were interested in. That way we could see in person, things like trunk size and back seat leg room. Then we would build the new car online at the dealership's website. Then when the car was ready, we would pick it up at the dealer's car lot. Some car dealers may even do home deliveries. So I will make sure to ask about that when we test drive the car. 


AiringMyLaundry said...

We recently did this for my husband's truck. We made sure to shop around and wouldn't let them low blow us for our trade in. They tried! I think so long as you hold onto what you want, you can get a deal.

LisaLisa said...

Great post! I've been holding out on buying a new car due to the high cost of inflation, I hope to revisit this and make a decision soon. Great tips!

Laura JL Books said...

what great tips, I remember when I purchased my car I should use some of the tips. thanks for sharing

Beautiful Touches said...

Purchasing a new or new-ish car can be so stressful and intimidating, thank you for sharing these tips!

Melissa said...

Great post and info! Yes, buying a car right now isn't easy but this really helps!

Katie C said...

We have been wanting to purchase a truck but it is such a crazy market. These tips will be helpful as we move towards purchase.

Ivan Jose | Dad On The Move said...

I love your tips. We recently bought a new family car and we used this same method to come up with a decision.

Richelle Milar said...

Wow! These are all really great tips! I will share this with my brother who is planning to buy a car!

Melanie Edjourian said...

Car prices have really gone up. My husband finally found one we could afford 2 months ago.

Beth said...

I'm glad you are getting a new car in the color you like. We also hold onto to our cars for a long time. Last summer we got a good deal on a used car, but it took us a while to find it. Hopefully, our next new car will be electric (some years in the future.)

Gust si Aroma said...

I am thinking of buying a new car. I think it's not easy at all. Thanks for your tips!

Marysa said...

We had to buy two new cars this year and it was unlike any previous experience. There is such a shortage of cars and things are so marked up. It is good to have some tips!

Anonymous said...

Great tips! We test drive our car before we bought it. I think it's important to do it. -LYNNDEE

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