If you have ever had to go car shopping with your “better half,” you know that it rarely goes smoothly. Your wife has very firm ideas about what she wants, and no matter how much “education” you to try give her before heading out to the dealership in search of a perfect deal, she stubbornly sticks to her own ideas, regardless of the fact that you can practically see the salesman salivating with glee. When it comes to added “features,” it seems that car salesmen all come equipped with one standard option—the ability to spot a sucker from miles away, and there is no doubt that he got your number the minute he saw your wife ogling the shiny brand new 2019 Ford Explorer taking pride of place on the lot. Your wife has the look of love in her eyes as she gazes adoringly at the gazillion dollar SUV, and when you turn your head to check out the salesman, you notice an entirely different gleam in his…the sparkle of dollar signs. He’s a wolf about to go in for the kill. The thrill of the hunt is now over; your wife made you both easy pickings. The realization hits you that all negotiating power just went out the window. Is there a way to get your wife what she wants without being taken to the cleaners by car dealerships? Is it possible to buy a new car without getting divorced?
The 8 Best Tips to Find You the Best Deal and Keep You Happily Married
Buying a new car is a stressful process. No doubt, both you and your wife have very different ideas about what you need, and of course, lot of arguments break out regarding just how much you are willing to commit yourself to paying for the next five to seven years. Today’s car market has enabled people to own any vehicle they so choose due to flexible and long term payment plans and low interest rates. Even luxury automobiles once financially tenable for only the very wealthy are now within the reach of the average car buyer. Unfortunately, to bring these payments into a bracket that is affordable for the average Joe, it becomes necessary to spread the entire cost out over a seven or eight year term, meaning you will pay exorbitant amounts of money in interest and will also still pay high monthly fees for the privilege of owning your brand new vehicle. Not eager to be car rich and cash poor for a period of 7-8 years, chances are pretty good that you and your wife are not seeing eye to eye on the matter. The truth is you can own anything that you want, but the simple caveat is…you must be willing to pay for it, and often that price is simply too high. But try convincing your wife of this truism with the slick salesman at the car dealership schmoozing her into believing yes, not only CAN she afford a 2019 Lexus, but she also DESERVES it. There is no doubt that to survive the minefield known as buying a new car, you and your wife need to have a solid game plan and to stick to it.
Here are eight leading tips on things you can do to guide you and your wife through the car buying process without landing in divorce court:
- Decide ahead of time what you can afford and what you need.
An honest assessment of your family’s needs in the context of a realistic monthly budget is the starting point to buying a car without ending your marriage. To do this, it helps to understand the different ways you use your vehicle and what you need to get out of whichever car you decide to purchase. While your wife might long for the newest Mini Cooper S Coupe convertible, it may not only be out of your price range, but it also could be ill-suited to your family’s lifestyle. After all, if you have a family of five, and you can only fit two in the new sports car, it’s not going to be a practical purchase for you. And let’s face it; most of us aren’t looking to buy extra cars just to have fun with. We need our vehicles to transport the kids to school and take dogs and cats to the vet and to get to and from work and the grocery store.
Another important consideration is future wear and tear. Are you willing to put in the time to keep a white vehicle clean? Sure, it looks fantastic on the lot all perfectly polished. But will you be embarrassed looking at the same salt-stained, mud-covered white vehicle sitting in your driveway in desperate need of a car wash? Got a white dog? Maybe black carpeting and cloth seats aren’t the best idea after all!
Be sure to consider fuel economy when making your selections as well. If you do a lot of driving, you won’t want to be saddled with incredibly high gas bills that make you want to seriously curtail your social life because it’s too expensive to drive anywhere!
All of these things deserve serious consideration in plotting your course to the vehicle best suited to your family’s needs. An open discussion of the features that are important to each of you and what vehicles are most likely to offer what you require will help narrow down the playing field dramatically.
Once you establish a wish list of vehicles best-suited to your lifestyle, you will then need to determine how much you can afford to spend. To do this, it is important that you not fall in love with any one model of car. Openmindedness is the key to a good deal, and will keep you and your beloved from heated arguments in front of shocked onlookers at the car dealership. This is why it is important to have a number of different vehicles you are willing to consider and to be sure that every one which makes the cut on your list is within your financial means. Again, you can have anything you want IF you are willing to pay for it. However, wise car buying couples understand it is not wise to purchase a vehicle that causes their standard of living to be substantially lowered because their monthly car payments are crippling. It is always a good idea to check with a lending institution ahead of time to see if you qualify for a loan, and if so, how much credit they are willing to extend to you.
- Calculate the overall cost.
Always bear in mind that the sticker price is not the full amount that you will actually pay and be wary of vehicles listed with only their bi-weekly payment cost; they usually indicate that if you took a look at the actual price of the vehicle, you’d walk on by. They are an illusion designed to make you feel something is affordable when in actuality, it isn’t. You are not paying the $26,900 prominently posted on the window of your dream vehicle. THAT is the starting point. That’s the number that gets you the deal. Then comes all the additional costs associated with buying and owning a car including taxes, freight, additional options, and interest which add up to thousands and thousands more. You need to know when all is said and done and the last penny has been promised to the bank exactly how much you will be paying for your new car.
Always consider the resale value of a vehicle. After several years of driving your new car, your lifestyle might change necessitating an upgrade…or a downgrade. You want to select a vehicle that will hold its value well and bring you the best return on your initial investment.
Consider also the insurance costs for your change of vehicle. You may be able to afford the monthly payments and maintenance costs, but will your insurance for your new car take you into a bracket that is so high it has you seeing stars?
- Determine ahead of time what your ideal price point is.
In most cases, husbands are just as happy to allow their wives to select their new car since they are likely the ones that will drive it the most in a two car family. However, agreeing on price is not always so easy. This is why you must decide ahead of time the amount you would like to pay. Always be aware that dealers will see your budget as a starting point and will do their best to drive you upwards. This is why you might want to start by giving the salesmen a lower price than what you are actually prepared to commit to. This technique may land you exactly where you want to be.
Prime your wife for what will happen at the dealership by familiarizing her with common sales strategies. Be sure to do your research to find out what the vehicles you are considering are actually worth as opposed to the published manufacturer’s suggested retail prices which are always inflated. Take the time to compare these against the vehicle’s actual invoice price. Somewhere between these two areas lies your negotiating power. If you can land in middle of the MSRP and the invoice price, you will be doing very well. Always bear in mind if you have selected an extremely popular vehicle, you will have far less bargaining power than if you choose a model that is in abundance on the lot.
- Consider a trade-in.
If you have a viable trade-in, it can open up some options for you. By checking out the Kelley Blue Book guides, you will be able to determine what a dealer may offer you on a trade that can help offset the cost of your new vehicle. In determining what your vehicle is worth, it is important to be brutally honest in seeking an estimate. Details such as mileage, accident history, car condition, and more will affect your car’s current worth on a trade-in deal. Often to get the most bang for your buck, your best option is to sell your car privately and apply the procured funds as a deposit on a new vehicle purchase. Typically, you will receive more from a private sale than from a trade-in.
- Study current interest rates and offers from all dealerships.
Shop around! Don’t go to just one dealership and make a deal on the first car your wife warms up to. Visit as many different lots and dealerships out there to determine what offers, incentives, and interest rates are out there. By doing this, you will gain some leverage in negotiations as the salesmen you deal with will realize you are a savvy customer who has done his homework. By knowing what is available at other area dealerships, you will be able to get substantial savings.
Be willing to go out of town. Sometimes driving to a nearby city or even another state is worth the effort when it comes to the bottom line. A willingness to go where the bargain is is often sufficient for a local retailer to give you a better offer to gain your business.
- Drive many different models.
One of the biggest mistakes couples make in shopping for a new car is falling in love with a particular vehicle. It is most likely that your wife already knows what she wants. And if she is like most women, she doesn’t want to consider anything else. But you do not want the salesman to know that, and it is important that your wife knows that to show her hand in this poker game equates to being taken to the cleaners financially. When you express that you are firmly set on one vehicle and that vehicle only, you give all power into the hands of the dealer because they have what you want, and you are then bound to pay what they ask.
But in choosing to test drive a wide variety of models, sometimes you will come across a vehicle you might not have considered but actually really love. Decide what type of vehicle you feel is the best fit for your family but be willing to test drive anything that falls within that type and price point. In the end, you may still opt to purchase the vehicle your wife was in love with long before you both walked into the dealership in the first place. But by showing a willingness to consider many options within one category, a dealer will be far more open to working with you on coming up with a price you can all live with.
- Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
Don’t accept the first price you see. Know the facts, be willing to negotiate, and most of all, be willing to walk away in order to get a better deal.
It is typically best if only one person in the equation does the negotiating, and if negotiating rock bottom prices is not the forte of one of you, it’s best for that person to go take a seat and read a good book or catch up on what’s going on on Facebook while the other seals the deal.
- Present a united front.
Do not allow a dealer to play you off each other. You need to present a united front to each salesman. Not only do you lose out on negotiating opportunity when you contradict each other, you also raise the potential of conflict between the two of you. Keep things peaceful by deciding ahead of time what you want, what you are willing to pay for it, and who is going to do the negotiating. If you are the silent partner in the equation, STAY SILENT. One slip of the tongue could cost you thousands in savings, so stick to the plan.
But most of all, if it doesn’t feel right; don’t do it. You do not have to buy a car that day. If you find yourself in conflict, it’s often best to go home, talk it through, then sleep on it. A car is long term financial commitment. You want to be sure you make a wise decision because you will have to live with your choice for a long time.
Yes, it is possible to buy a new car without getting divorced! Follow our tips for getting your wife the car she wants at a price you can live with, and you will both be happy indeed. Happy Car Shopping!