Female consumers account for around  65% of all new auto purchases, according to JP Morgan Chase & Co. Women now outnumber men in a market that used to be male-dominated. This shouldn’t be the case, and it doesn’t have to be.

Like arranging a wedding on a shoestring budget, buying a car needs a certain type of savvy. Follow these five tips and your car-buying experience will be an empowering one.

Know What You Want

The first step in purchasing anything at all is finding out what you want in it. Cars are big purchases, and diverse in their features and specifications. Hence, it’s twice as important to meditate on what you expect to get out of a car. Prepare a list of your most wanted and must-have features. Once you’ve got these down, the only thing left to discuss with the salesperson is your budget.

If the dealership doesn’t have a model that fits your specifications, it’s best to walk away. You’ll only end up regretting settling for less than what you’re looking for. There are always more dealerships out there. Flexibility and open-mindedness is one thing. Letting a salesperson push a car that doesn’t fit your desires on you is another.

To better prepare yourself for your trip to the dealership, do your research and find specific models that have the features you want. Don’t hesitate to ask the salesperson questions. But, keep in mind that car salespeople are well-trained in the art of telling you what you want to hear.

Find Out Your Maximum Budget and Secure Your Purchase Funds

Next, you must decide how much money you can afford to set aside for the car. Figure out your maximum budget for either paying off a car in full or by a monthly installment. After that,  combine quotes from multiple dealerships to find out the average cost of models with the specs you want. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay auxiliary fees. This includes things such as sales tax, title fee, and dealer processing fees.

All those extra fees can reach over $1500, so they’re a big factor in your expenses. Insurance is another huge influencer. Sometimes insurance for certain models can cost so much that it becomes a deal-breaker no matter how good the car maybe. Then, you’ll want to have a good handle on how you’ll be able to finance the purchase.

Paying in installments out of pocket usually just means portioning off a part of your income every month. Remember to still set aside emergency funds to not disturb your installment funds when the need arises. If you will pay with credit, it’s also good to know your credit score to find out how to get the best interest rate. Get pre-qualified for a loan at your bank or credit union to get your funds ready by the time you visit dealerships. It also helps to have a copy of recent pay stubs to help your qualification process along.

Learn The Best Time to Buy

Across the board, spring is usually the worst time to buy cars. Since demand is often high during that season, dealerships don’t have to slash prices or do promos to get people to buy. A key point of knowledge is that car salespeople’s bonuses are defined by how much they surpass their monthly and quarterly quotas.

The best time to buy cars is at the end of the month or quarter. Keep in mind that when buying a car during this time, it’s best to maintain airs that the likelihood of you buying is still in question. Keep calm and in control, especially when the dealers are trying to pressure you into buying. The knowledge that you can just take your business elsewhere will push them to give you a better deal. If this deal aligns with your budget and desires, then it’s a victory.

A Better Deal Is Out There, If You Look Hard Enough

There is always a better deal. If you have enough patience to hunt for them. Still, even with a week’s worth of diligence is usually enough. By then, you’ll have visited enough dealerships and checked enough prices to know which purchase your bank account will agree with the most. Comb the interwebs for cashback offers, rebates, and other incentives. If you have a good credit score, ask your bank about car loans with low-interest rates.

One caveat to remember, though, is that offerings such as rebates usually only apply to specific models. This is usually detailed in the information pages for such promos. If they aren’t, you can ask the dealership or whoever’s offering them. If one promo doesn’t apply to the car you want, keep looking. Your goal here is to deduct as much as possible from the sticker price. You shouldn’t fall prey to them when there are ways to slash a large chunk off of them.

Negotiate With The Knowledge That They Need You More Than You Need Them

When deal-hunting fails or is insufficient, rely on your negotiation skills. When entering negotiations, never tell the salesperson more than they need to know. The most often asked question is your monthly budget for installments. Evade this by hinting that you intend to pay in full. A salesperson can pull a fast one on you if they so much as get an idea of your car’s trade-in value. Never let on more than you need to.

Salespeople often assume that the average woman buyer is easily nudged to the direction they want them to go. Use this to your advantage and let them apply their well-practiced guile. Play along with their game, as this makes them complacent, and then put your foot down on your terms when they’re off-guard. Remember your wants and your budget and think back on the fact that they want you to buy a car more than you do. Their commissions and bonuses depend on your satisfaction. This is your most powerful bargaining chip.

You can leverage this bargaining chip by saying “no.” This immediately lays down the threat to take away another sale to their quota. By saying no, you also ensure that you can get a better deal elsewhere. You can use their “best deal” as a frame of reference to pressure the next dealer you visit. Keep this in mind once you feel that your talks aren’t going anywhere. Tell them you’ll “think about it” and make it as if to walk away. That’ll jumpstart the negotiation back to your favor.

Buying cars is tricky business even for those who are familiar with automobiles. With the proper knowledge and budget, you’ll establish a solid foundation in finding the right car for you.

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