At the risk of whining about a first-world problem; buying a car sucks. Watching your previous car go up in flames sucks, too. But after the flames cooled on my Buick, I realized I had to face the clichéd car salesman. I considered the “get drunk and obnoxious” plan, but opted to go in with an open mind and a closed wallet.
Here are 5 important steps to buying a car:
#1–Pick a car based on how cool it looks: Forget the price. Forget the miles per gallon. Forget your budget. Just choose the coolest, most epic car you could possibly imagine, then run out and buy it! Haha! Just kidding. Expect to lower your standards. (1965 Dodge Dart, anyone?)
#2–Find a “reputable” dealership: Mention you’re looking for a car, and you’ll hear car-buying horror stories. “The dealer held an AK-47 to my daughter’s head until I signed.” Or “The dealership drove a dump truck over my trade-in, and said they wouldn’t take it.” I ignored those legends and chose a dealer based on specials offered with car purchase. Will I a) get a side of beef, b) receive a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax, or c) get nothing except a car payment and a cup of flat Coke?
#3–Prepare for the onslaught: We drove to the car lot, a nice man helped us find a car, and THEN his cohorts attacked. “If you don’t sign within the next 5 minutes, this price is going up!” Or “I’d let you think about it, but I’d hate to see you miss this great deal.” (Actual statements.) We said we needed to think about it. (Strangely enough, we got the car for the same price the next day. Weird.)
#4–Negotiate price:–My husband and I went into the dealership with a firm number in our head that we could NOT exceed for a monthly payment. And we got it! (It was actually $20 cheaper than we’d hoped.) But then–the finance guy added in tax, warranty, tires, a brake pedal and a steering wheel. Turns out, our payment was $100 more than we’d budgeted. So we had to sell one of the grandkids.
#5–Drive home: If it’s possible to swagga in a new car, I did. With windows rolled down (temporarily because it was 115 degrees), I let the wind blow through my hair, blasted the radio and used the new sun visor the whole way home. (Note: the sun visor in my previous car had fallen off pre-fire.)
Enjoy the ride, folks!