if you follow me on twitter or facebook, you may already know that last weekend i bought a car. this event was a long time coming and required much patience and flexibility. it was my first car buying experience and i learned some things that i thought i would share:

tip #1: save your money

i lived at home for about a year so that i could save money for a car. i’m not saying to pack your bags and head to mom and dad’s but having a savings account is a good place to start and take your time putting in a little bit at a time. the more i saved, the longer i waited and was able to have more options.

i understand some people get in a pickle when their car breaks and they don’t have options. i was lucky enough to start saving while my car was in a pretty good shape.

tip #2 take care of your things

i had been driving my ’98 jeep since i was 16 so she was a little worn down but i made sure to maintain her while i was looking for a new car. i knew i would be trading her in and i wanted to get a decent price for her, which i did. i got her oil changed, mirror fixed and got her washed inside and out the day before i traded her in. i also held off on any long distance trips to keep the miles off. and yes, i refer to my jeep as her. she was very special.

tip # 3 take your time

when it comes to big money decisions, i am not an impulse buyer. some people can go car shopping one time and drive away with what they want. i knew i would need to see options and take my time. it was annoying to drive 30 minutes out of the way just to come out with nothing but it was crucial that i took the time to do my research and get familiar with the process. i was glad i had had the opportunity to test drive several cars and learn more about what i wanted.
i found my car on my 3rd trip to a dealership but i was willing to keep looking if i hadn’t felt 100% confident about it.

tip #4 bring a pal 

i took my dad with me to every dealership because he’s bought several cars and knew what i wanted and needed. he was very helpful but i also made sure to speak up for myself with some of the car salesmen. i didn’t want them to try to sway me into something i didn’t want or waste my time. take someone with you who understands your budget, your lifestyle and your needs. they can help you make a good decision on your own and not because a salesman convinced you.

tip #5 find a doyle

one of the advantages of visiting different dealerships was meeting different salesmen and seeing their techniques. by the time i was at my 3rd dealership, i was directed to a salesman named doyle. doyle was so easygoing and laid back that i soon began to feel a lot less pressure and stress. he showed me several cars and was very patient with me. he told me the good qualities of the cars i test drove and when he didn’t know something, he went to find out and didn’t BS with me. the volvo i ended up buying was the 3rd car i drove that day and he didn’t even know about my lifelong dream to have a volvo – it was fate! and i appreciated that he only showed me cars in my price range. other dealerships tried to talk me into things i couldn’t afford until i just got annoyed and wanted to leave. try to find a salesman that friends or coworkers suggest that they have worked with before. if you go out to freeman mazda, ask for doyle : )

my new car!! 

i could not be happier with what i ended up with! i absolutely love it. if you’re on the car-hunt, good luck and i hope some of my tips will be helpful!