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Are you a frugal shopper who likes to cut coupons and hunt for deals? If so, you can apply some of your habits to car shopping. Well, you may not be able to walk into a dealership with a coupon, but some frugal habits cross over into the car shopping world. Check out these five ways to save money when shopping for a car.  

1. Save up for a down payment

2023 Ram 1500 truck front ends at dealership
2023 Ram 1500 trucks at dealership | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

The first frugal tip is to save up for a down payment. It can be tough at first since it means setting aside money that you would otherwise use on your favorite pumpkin spice latte every day. However, that $5 cup of sugar can wait, especially if you need a car.

We recommend setting aside money every week, every two weeks, or every month to save up for a sizeable down payment. You can set up automatic deposits every payday into a separate account or pull out cash every payday if that helps.

Either way, you’ll be well on your way to saving for a car without missing the money you set aside. However, you may miss those delicious lattes.

2. Shop for the best interest rate

A top view of a used car dealership
A used car dealership | via Getty Images

Frugal shoppers love hunting for the best price, so why not hunt for the best interest rate? After all, saving on an auto loan interest rate means saving money in the long run. In that case, we recommend shopping for the best interest rate through different banks and credit unions. In fact, credit unions have the best rates, so check there first.

3. Wait for a sale

Do you know Lexus has a “December to Remember” sales event every year? The sale usually involves lease deals and lower financing rates, but it’s still a good time to get a deal on the price of a new car. The old thought is true that shopping for a new or used car at the end of the month and the end of the year is the best time since dealerships are looking to offload their inventories quickly.  

4. Always negotiate the price

A finance sign at a dealership lot
A dealership lot | via Getty Images

Frugal people like to barter, which is an age-old technique in the car-buying process. Don’t be afraid to make an offer when buying a car and walk away if you don’t get the price you want. However, it’s worth noting that doing research into a car’s market value is an important part of the negotiation process.

For example, if you’re shopping for a new Honda Civic, inquire with a few different dealerships in your area for the best price before pulling the trigger.

5. Don’t be afraid to check out the used and certified pre-owned market

Lastly, if you want to be frugal when shopping for a car, the used car market is a great place to look. A gently used car with a few thousand miles will already have the initial depreciation hit, so you’ll save a few thousand dollars right off the bat. Additionally, a certified pre-owned car is a great option if you want a used car that’s been inspected and has a warranty.

Using these frugal tactics can save you money when buying a car

Whether you’re a frugal person or not, using these tactics can save you money the next time you shop for a car. It’s too bad dealerships don’t have coupons, though.


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