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Stress-Free Car Buying

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Buying a new car probably ranks up there on the list of "most dreaded life experiences." Because while there's the excitement of getting a new car, there's also the fear of getting ripped off.

One way to reduce the stress of buying a new car is to take advantage of programs that pre-negotiate car prices for you. These programs are offered by many sources, including Costco, AAA, and USAA (which I personally used a few years ago).

In a nutshell, these large companies and organizations negotiate a set price with local car dealerships on most makes and models. The price is generally lower than the MSRP, which makes it attractive to buyers. Participating dealers agree to the price because being a part of the program gives them a chance to tap into a new group of potential customers.

When I used USAA's program, I simply entered the information about the car I was interested in purchasing into the USAA web site, and then I received emails from several local dealers with their prices. They varied slightly, and when I asked the nearest dealer to match the lowest price, they readily agreed (it was a difference of $500). I communicated with the dealer exclusively through email up until I was ready to complete the purchase. So taking advantage of these pre-negotiated price programs allows you to save yourself the stress of negotiating a purchase price for a car while facing an aggressive salesperson.

As it turns out, car dealerships actually make little profit on new car sales. So another advantage of the pre-negotiated price programs is that many of them also provide loans. You can get pre-approved for a loan before you go to the dealership to complete your purchase. The dealership will likely offer you a comparable or even better financing deal, since they will make more money financing your new vehicle than they will on your actual car purchase. It's up to you to decide which financing option you like better.

If you want to make your purchase truly stress-free, pay cash for your car and avoid dealing with a loan altogether. One way to make that happen is to pay off your current car loan, then continue making payments to yourself. The longer you keep your car, the more money you'll save up to pay for your next new car.

About Cathy

Cathy is the founder of Chief Family Officer, where you can get daily updates on the hottest deals, and tips to achieve financial freedom and family bliss.

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