For many having a car is more than a luxury – it’s a necessity. From ferrying around the kids on the school run to making it to work on time, to doing groceries at the end of the week, cars have become integral in our lives.

Sadly, there comes a time when you need a new car, but can’t afford anything too expensive. Well, to make things a little easier for you, there are a number of fool-proof ways to reduce the cost of buying a new car.

  1. Consider downsizing your vehicle

Smaller cars are generally less expensive than SUVs or people carriers – unless you’re buying a sports car (which may be a little out of your budget). If the children have moved out, or you no longer find yourself requiring mass amounts of trunk space, then it could be time to downsize.

By coming down to a hatchback, or a two-seater, you could find yourself saving thousands of dollars in tax, gas and maintenance. Smaller engines use much less fuel to drive your car forwards – which only equates to more money in your wallet at the end of the month.

  1. Decide whether you really need a new car

New cars are great – there’s nothing better than that new car smell. Sadly, new cars are often expensive (and also decline in value real quick) which makes you think – is a new car really worth it? There’s a bunch of fantastic used cars available on the market, so why not shop around and see if you can find that dream car on the cheap?

  1. Use car dealerships with caution

Salespeople are only really interested in one thing – taking your money. They might come across with good intentions, but ultimately, the more you spend, the more commission they get. That’s why if you’re going to use a car dealership, you should do so with caution.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with a car dealership:

  • Do your research: make sure you go into any dealership with a solid idea on your budget, the price of the car you’re looking for and competitor prices. When it comes to negotiating, it’s always good to have something to bring to the table – as opposed to having no information at all.
  • Keep your budget a secret: one of the first enquiries any experienced car dealer will make will be something around your budget. They may ask how much you have to spend every month, to find you the best model for your budget. While the intentions may sound good, it’s often a tactic employed to ensure they get the most out of you. By keeping your cards close, you can find a car that’s both within your price range, and not necessarily stretch your budget to its absolute maximum.
  • Finally, haggle: Car dealers know every tactic in the book. They may try to throw in a few extras, such as a free sat-nav, or an upgrade on internal seating, but more often than not, trying to haggle may get you slightly better deal.

Dealerships might appear frightful, but stick to your guns, come with a set budget, and you’ll be perfectly fine.