Published On: Sun, May 12th, 2019

When Should You Buy a Car to Get the Best Deal for Your Money?

Buying a car is a big financial commitment. We all want to get the best deal for our money, but that’s easier said than done when prices fluctuate so often.

One major factor dictating the price you pay is the date. Believe it or not, you could save thousands of dollars if you visit a dealership on the right day — but when is the best time to hand over your cash?

photo/ Torsten Dettlaff

Taking Advantage of the Christmas Spirit

December is considered the best month of the year in which to purchase a car. That might seem strange when you have Christmas gifts to pay for and the new year ahead, but it’s true.

Why? Because car retailers have different targets to hit. If they can’t sell a specific number of vehicles at the end of the year, they might miss out on a bonus — and that could go a long way during the season of giving.

Your purchase may well bring that bonus within the salesperson’s reach, and they’ll be more willing to offer you a bargain to get their hands on it. And let’s not underestimate the power of the Christmas spirit: if you catch the salesperson when they’re full of good cheer, they may make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Still, it’s best to leave your purchase as late into December as you can — or even at the very start of January. Research conducted by TrueCar reveals you have the chance to save more than 8 percent on a car’s MSRP on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Waiting for the End of the Month

TrueCar’s data shows more fascinating insights into the right time to buy a car. For example, while you could save an impressive 8.5 percent on MSRP if you save your purchase for January 1, this drops considerably throughout the following months.

Really? Yes, really. Let’s look at February: the first day of this month will save you just 6.4 percent, while March 1 only offers an average saving of 6.2 percent. That’s a substantial drop.

But let’s jump to the end of the month instead. February 29 has an average saving of 7.6 percent, followed by 7.5 for the last day of March.

This fluctuates throughout the year — hitting your local dealership on July 31, for example, could save you around 8 percent — but the pattern remains the same.

In fact, while shopping for a vehicle on New Year’s Day might net you a healthy reduction on MSRP, the rest of the month offers some slim pickings. Average savings actually drop to as low as around 5.8 percent just a few days into January and only rise a little higher over subsequent weeks.

Making the Right Choice

The lesson to take away from TrueCar’s data? It’s always best to wait until the end of the month to buy a vehicle. That might be inconvenient for you, though, depending on your circumstances.

Millions of us depend on our cars every single day. You need to drive to work, take the kids to school, pick up groceries, make important appointments, give relatives a ride and more. Trying to get by without your vehicle can be incredibly hard. You may not be able to wait for the end of the month  — and certainly not the closing days of the year.

It’s always best to prioritize a car’s performance and condition above its price: there’s no sense buying the cheapest vehicle you find if it’s just not fit for the road. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to get the number for your local towing services provider just in case.

Author: Salit David


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