Thursday, June 17, 2010

Practical Tips for Buying a Car

Perhaps you don't need this much sunscreen, though leave it to a medical student to ward off skin cancer at all costs.

There are lots of lists on the internet about how to best buy the "car of your dreams": check consumer reports, know the dealer's price on the car, explore the resale value.

This list will not help with that end of the purchasing process.

On the contrary, here are a few more practical things you might not consider when heading into the energy-draining process we call “buying a car”:

1. Bring lots of snacks. Everything seems to take longer than it should, and when you’ve got your momentum going (bring on the salesmen!) the last thing you want to do is stop for lunch. Crumpled up Kashi granola bar in my bag? Perfect.

2. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. I consider myself to be a pretty decisive person, but those car salesmen make me think I really didn’t know what I am asking for (surely $500 less isn’t asking for the moon?). Thanks to free-nationwide-long-distance I could be fully confident in the decision I was making. (How many times did you walk away from the dealership when you bought your car, Mom? Seven?) Besides, what else are you going to do when the salesman goes back to "talk to his manager" about the offer you have made for the twelfth time?

3. Apply your sunscreen. After perusing the car lot yesterday I had a rosy “v” on my neck. Who would have thought? Besides protecting against unwanted skin damage, you may also feel more relaxed. (Why can't buying a car be more like a trip to the beach?)

4. Practice saying “no”. “No, I would not like fries with that.” Or “No, I do not need a refill on my coffee.” If you practice, saying “No, that is not the price I would like to pay for that car” eighty-seven time before actually purchasing something, perhaps it will come off the tongue with ease.

5. Avoid the need to purchase a car a week before you move across the country, after your spouse has already relocated. Not that we had much control over this, but the pressure just about killed me.

Who knew summer break could be so stressful?

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