One of Our Cars Died, Tapping the Emergency Fund
Well the engine went on my wife's car this past week. Long story it sucks and we either needed to cough up $3,700 for a new engine or look at getting a replacement car.
My wife's car is about 14 years old and we have been planning on replacing it with a more family friendly car. However when we bought our most recent house we agreed to hold off on a car replacement for at least another year until we were able to rebuild the savings that we put towards our home's down payment. Once the engine went that was out the window.
Luckily we did have money in our savings for our next car. However, I really didn't want to buy another car given the economy and the concern of further layoffs at my employer. Unfortunately our savings is no longer where it should be, placing added concern, but I guess this is what savings are for.
We dug into our car shopping over the past weekend. We started at Carmax and used them to look at a variety of recent makes/models. We settled on a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe as our favorite. Then with quote onhand we went online and identified local dealership with very comparable Hyundai Santa Fes for sale.
We went to two local dealers by good fortune perhaps about 1 hr before each closed respectively. We found the car, did a test drive and about 20 minutes before closing started talking about price. We told them what we found at Carmax and they assured us they could beat them. Ofcourse they asked for our price and we deferred as long as possible.
Once we gave them our we'd buy it today price the salesperson as usual took it to their manager. Thats when things changed for us compared to my previous negotiations at dealerships. Gone was the hours of wasting time with a salesperson going back and forth to the manager trying to get us up little by little. In both our instances this past weekend the manager immediately came over and gave us a 20-30% reduction off their asking price. A big difference from the little by little price reductions that took my whole afternoon I have encountered in the past.
My big take away from the experience was that these negotiations were much easier than my previous car negotiations because we were the last customers at the dealerships. These people were ready to get out of the office, but didn't want to miss an opportunity to sell a car. The managers immediately came over, wasted little of our time and we quickly got to an asking price that they would let us walk out of the dealership with. Ofcourse Im sure the lack of a car market had something to do with it as well, but from now on I think I am only going to go car shopping at closing time.
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