First time car buyer. I'm 28. Veteran. Really nervous on buying my first car. I'm getting a small lump sum and want to buy my car without financing. I'm looking to spend around $10,000 if not less.

Asked by May 28, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

The question I have is what is the best
possible way to deal with this. I've
heard if I'm willing to pay cash I'm
able to barter a little more, but I have
no clue how to go about getting the
best possible deal. Any ideas would
be amazing. I also know I'm looking
for either a crossover or hatchback. I
need something to load camping and
hockey equipment. Sorry about the
long question and thank you to
anyone who takes the time to assist
me in this life changing event in my

18 Answers


Yes, cash is better to deal with,surely you can get a better deal,shop around find what you like and will be happy with,in your price range,then always offer lower than they ask for it.If they want deal shop some more..and always drive the car to a trust worthy mechanic to check out before you buy.


Find a good salesperson who will take the time to answer your questions and if you aren't sure the price is fair, you can look it up on or Not all dealers can or will budge on price- with the internet, it has cut down on the markup most dealers have on their cars- also, ask for a vehicle history report (carfax and autocheck are 2 good ones) so you know if the vehicle has had any accidents as this will affect the value. good luck and I hope you find a good vehicle.


Cash deals actually are not better... it is a common myth... the reality is that if the dealership gets you financing, they make money on the financing... so you can actually do a better deal letting them finance you and then pay off the loan in a few months so you can save on the interest... there are a lot of 'urban legends' out there when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, so really the best thing you can do is first figure out what you want for a car and then research it to make sure it fits your needs and then research the prices - but remember, KBB or NADA aren't what the dealers really use... its become more of a marketing thing that they will say they beat Kelly, etc... so it should only be a starting point and then you have to figure out what 'season' you are going into and adjust accordingly - i.e. right now it is a hot convertible market, but you should be able to get a great deal on an SUV... so you will tweak the only numbers - could go up or down based on supply & demand, thus why you want to pay attention to the season... you can also talk to them about the new model year being only a few months down the road and that when September hits if they still have the car, they are going to take a hit on it because it will be 1 year older... so use the above as to how you are going to do your deal... but don't fall into the traps of the urban legends because most are exactly the opposite of what is reality... think of it this way with the financing... if the price you are looking to pay is close and $200 will get the deal done and they don't feel they have any more wiggle room, it is what it is and you'll lose the deal... but if because of their fees with the bank they can make $500 on the financing, they may dip into that figuring they would be still making an additional $300 net when they do the finance...


I'd suggest cash...You said it yourself, not car note...I'll do my research and dont rush anything. The car will be here when you get ready to buy. i REALLY dont care about the dealership (stealership) they are (as you know) in the business to make money, so beware.


Dealer loans are noted early pay out does not save you any thing,its in the contract,if you pay out early you will still have to pay all interest.


TopShadeTree... Not trying to pick a fight, but you are very wrong about the early pay off (and my background was in banking for 20 years as well as running a private leasing company and sitting on the board of the National Vehicle Leasing Association - not trying to sound hung up on myself, just letting you know why I am an expert in auto finance) ... Unless you are dealing with a loan shark, loans are based on interest that accrues on a per diem basis... Trust me... It is actually illegal for a financial institution to charge interest to a consumer as you have stated... A lease on the other hand is based on profit and not interest, so an early pay off saves you nothing... But in a loan note you can only legally be charged interest on the outstanding principle of the note... So if you have had what you mentioned above happen to you, contact your state's banking commissioner as well as attorney general and get back that interest because that lending institution broke the law... If it was a private party you have had financing with I suppose they could have written a note like that, but even then a court would not uphold the note and you still would be entitled to your interest back... It is all based in the note being amortized...


I have a number of loans,with banks not long sharks,every contract ive had has the clause early pay out you will pay all interest,i have it in writing and no its not just one bank it is several.


I am not looking to pick a fight with you but maybe you are not reading the claus right because it is illegal abd could easily result in usery... All the can legally charge you in a per diem on the outstanding balance... If you borrow 10k for 5 years at 5% you would pay over a grand in interest, but if you pay the note off 5 days after you got the note they would have a pay off if like $10,010.98 or sonething like that - not thr full 5 years of interest...


Well i am not ,picking a fight with you ether,but i have several bank note contracts in my hand looking at them and every one of them state,if loan is payed out early you will pay all interest of this loan,bank of america,reginal bank,capitol one,first state bank,and a few more


And these were car loans


and yes i payed a few of them off way early and payed full amount plus all intrest


I have used Caputal One and paid off early and didn't pay anything other than the per diem... So we will have to agree to disagree...


agreed to disagree


I buy usually a new car every year and trade in the old one and normally get a 72 to 84 month loan and only pay the interest of the date of the pay off. I always read my contract before I sign it and I have never seen a car loan that made me pay all the interest if I payed it early and I have been buying cars for thirty years. If I did I would have run away as fast as possible. Back to the question at hand. For the first time buyer, do your homework, find the car you want at the right price (use the NADA), and find all the places that have it. Go to one of the dealerships, never appear desperate and act like you are just window shopping. You might even say you have a car that you are satisfied with and you are just looking around. But the whole time you already know what car you want and what price you want to pay. Above all stick to you guns and be willing to walk out the door. Remember all salesmen are taught to never let you leave their dealership without a car. When you are willing to walk you are turning the tables on them and they become the ones who are desperate. Believe it or not I have given them a price I would pay and my phone number and walked out of the dealership. They have actually called me about 2 days later and gave me the price I wanted. Because you are probably buying a used vehicle, those vehicles were acquired by trade in or auction and I guarantee you they got those vehicles probably $3-4000 under retail. When you check the NADA on the vehicle you want, you should only have to pay approx. $2,000 or so over trade in value. That is a fair deal. Good Luck.

1 people found this helpful.

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Patthew gives you wise advice. I might add that Toyota and Honda have high reliability ratings and, while used are generally in strong demand everywhere, their resale is also high. While you may not be able to afford a certified used, you're on pretty safe ground with one of these two manufacturers. I have owned Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, and Dodge cars and trucks for more than 30 years, intentionally ignoring the Japanese products but, by far, my 2008 Toyota has lasted me 120,000 trouble-free miles, which is why I bought another Toyota last year. As long as I require a vehicle for transportation and Toyota maintains its performance integrity, I shall continue driving as a die hard Toyota fan. Everyone that I talk to who owns a Honda says the same of their driving choice. While all other answers were addressing the money, financing, and strategies, I thought I would offer you a different perspective on possible models. Good luck with your first car-buying experience. One last note, if you check online for shopping strategies before going out to buy, a myriad of information is available to help reduce/alleviate/eliminate the trepidation you're feeling presently. All your answers you have received share some valuable information. If you still feel uncomfortable about making the purchase yourself and know anyone you trust who has purchasing experience, ask them to go along with you. Spend some time cruising the lots. Look at what your area is offering. Say "no" to all salespeople until you know exactly what YOU NEED and want . Decide ahead of time the absolute most you are willing to pay and refuse to budge from, which also includes the tax, title, and other fees. In other words, remember to ask the sales rep what the "Drive Out" price is. That number should include every digit and decimal point you need to know to make the best possible decision for your budget. And, YES, if the number and the car are not to your satisfaction, make the sales rep come after you, even if it means walking off the lot and leaving the best car in the world behind. Truth is, if its the best car in the world, it wouldn't be on the rep's lot; somebody else would already own it. Have courage that the decision you make will be the right decision. And lastly...if you can...have some fun with your search and making your purchase; you will be nervous, but the more positive you make the experience for yourself, the better you will feel about the purchase you made, causing you maximum joy in your ride.

I have a super helpful article that will help ease the overwhelming stress of buying your first car. I know I needed all the help I could get when I bought my first one, and I wished I had come across this article sooner. your-first-car/

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