Step 6: Negotiate the sale price

As we said, a car salesman will focus on the monthly payment, rather than the total cost. Keep your price firmly in mind. See: “10 Tips for Buying Your Next Car for Less.”

Consumer Reports recommends skipping extras such as rust-proofing, fabric protection and an extended warranty. CR says they aren’t necessary.

Nervous about face-to-face negotiations? The dealership’s Internet sales department is an option that can ease your worries and save you money. Edmunds.com notes:

There’s no question that using the Internet department saves time and stress. When buyers are shopping in person at a dealership, they run the risk of making costly, spur-of-the-moment decisions on financing or additional products, such as extended warranties. Working via the Internet department minimizes that risk. It also is good for people who don’t have an appetite for negotiations.

If you can’t reach an acceptable agreement with the seller, take your business elsewhere.

Remember when you bought your first car? What did you learn that can help others? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

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