6 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Car Purchase

By Alexi Falson on 26 May 2021
image for 6 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Car Purchase Let's talk about how you can secure your dream car under the sticker price.

Buying a car is perhaps one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll make in a lifetime, so it’s important you’ve got all the knowledge and tools at your disposal to make the process as easy - and cheap - as possible. We also realise that the process as a whole can be overwhelming, and so often people will make sacrifices for the sake of convenience that means they can’t soak up all the potential savings on their next car.

In light of this, we’ve put together a piece that will talk about some of the best ways to save money on your next car purchase, how you can maximise the value of your current car for a competitive trade-in price and how you can increase your negotiating skills to secure your dream car at the best possible price. 

Let’s get started and save you some money!

1. Understand What Impacts Trade-in Price

One of the best ways to step into your dream car for significantly less than the sticker price is to assess your current vehicle and look at what dealerships are offering for a trade-in price. Something important to take into consideration here is that if you’re dealing directly with the dealership you plan on purchasing from, underquoting is a common practice to speed up the process. Cross reference the price of your used car with a real-life and realistic market value, and if this is less than what you’ve been offered, don’t hesitate to get a quote from another dealer, or sell it privately. The second-hand car market is currently at all-time highs, so you’ll likely end up with more money to put toward your next car by rejecting the dealership’s offer and selling it yourself. We’ve put together a guide on trading in your car to find out more about the process as a whole.

Better still, visit OnlineAuto’s trade-in service to get a quick, simple and free quote on your car.

2. Different Models & Features

For any given car, there are different levels on offer within the lineup. Take any car in the market as an example, and you’ll see that there’s an entry-level, at least one - typically two or three - mid level variants, as well as the range-topping model with all the bells and whistles. The easiest way to save yourself money on your next car is to create a list of features you absolutely demand in your next car, and what you’re happy to make sacrifices for in order to grab yourself a bargain.

These days, manufacturers are competing against each other to such a fierce degree that the average commuter will be more than happy with the base model, considering it comes packed with the basics. Spending thousands of dollars more for an upgraded set of wheels and perhaps some interior trim upgrades might seem tempting at the dealership, but the mark-up is rarely worth your money if you’re looking at a car from a reputable manufacturer. In short, you can conservatively save yourself thousands of dollars by opting for the lower-spec models within the car lineup you’re looking at.

3. Look at Last Year’s Models

A secret that manufacturers don’t necessarily want you to know is that any given car changes very little on a year-to-year basis. On average, there is a new ‘generation’ of car launched every decade or less, but within that generation, year-to-year changes are usually superficial. This means that you can potentially save yourself more with this tip than any of the others by opting for last year’s model over the latest. Dealerships often run ‘plate clearances’ to clear last year’s stock to make way for the latest, and more buyers should take this into consideration. You’re likely to find a car that is powered by the same engine, offers the same features and looks identical to the latest, often for thousands of dollars less.

4. Consider Long-Term Ownership Costs & Economy

Hundreds of trips to the petrol station add up, and getting your car serviced is another costly reminder that there is money to be saved on an initial purchase when you consider long-term ownership and running costs like fuel economy. As we’ve mentioned before, competition within the vehicle market is so high that manufacturers are constantly looking to one-up their rivals when it comes to economy figures and ownership costs. Factoring the money you can save with a seven, or even ten-year warranty with capped-price servicing is one of the most logical considerations when buying a new car. With this in mind, ensure that you’re looking past the standard features list when shopping around, and determine whether the car you’re looking at is going to run out of coverage in the next three years, or whether you’re covered for a longer period of time.

5. Shop Around Dealerships

While dealerships around your area, and even the country, sell the same lineup of cars with the same recommended retail price, it’s well worth your time to see if a dealer is looking to take less commission and get rid of stock to make room for newer models. Making your way around dealerships and seeing if they’re willing to negotiate will give you a clear indication of the lowest price they’re willing to sell for, which will help you negotiate in the future. Even if the talks break down, you’ll be more informed as to how much your dream car is worth, and you’ll be able to spot a dealer taking advantage of you in your next conversation.

6. Use a Car Buying Service

Shopping around dealerships is one of the most basic, but time consuming ways you can save yourself thousands on the purchase of a new car. Thankfully, there’s a better, and much more simple way to ensure you’re getting the cheapest possible price for your dream car. Using a car buying service like OnlineAuto is one of the best ways to get the best price possible, considering just how far and wide we’ll throw our search net to find your perfect car. Thanks to a committed team and the bulk buying-power of our parent company, OnlineAuto can help connect you with Australia’s network of car dealerships, and give you multiple quotes within hours. Perhaps most conveniently of all, OnlineAuto can help organise a test drive from the comfort of your home or workplace, and facilitate the easiest and speediest delivery possible.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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