After many months of lamenting how much we spend on gas, we finally bought a new car. I participated in only two ways: I signed the papers and I test drove my husband’s final choice before agreeing that it was indeed “the one.”
It seems very anti-feminist of me to let the husband do basically everything related to the car buying process, but I truly hate car salespeople and the whole drawn out process that is car buying. I’m convinced that no matter what state you’re in and no matter how nice the car salesperson is, the car buying process is always going to be awful. And they set it up that way on purpose! (Seriously, if you haven’t read Confessions of a Car Salesman, do it.)
If you need a new car, here are my car buying tips for a lazy lady:
- Let your husband (or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or best friend, or parent, or sibling, etc.) do all of the research. Inevitably there is someone in your life that loves researching cars. You want a safe, reliable car. Give them your required specs and let them have all the fun!
- Let your Person test drive the top three or five choices from tip #1 and narrow it down to their favorite, so you only have to test drive one. Some people love test driving cars. I hate it – you have to make small talk with the salesperson and I’m always envisioning the worst-case scenario of crashing the car during the test drive. And you know the policy: you break it, you buy it.
- Marry a litigator who has no problem walking away from an offer. My husband plays their game even better than they do. He has no issue with walking away from a “great” deal. Car salespeople hate this. I watched with wonder as my husband blatantly told them that until they gave us their bottom line, he would be happy to walk out the door, since we didn’t need to buy a car that day. As I squirmed while the salesman kept leaving to talk to his manager, my stoic spouse sat there patiently, just as I’m sure he does during negotiations at work.
- Walk away from the dealership after finally hearing the bottom line. We left the dealership with a promise of “we’ll talk about it and get back to you.” And we did, later the same day. But before signing the papers, we went home and my husband constructed an elaborate spreadsheet to help us decide which model to buy. And then he called them, asked for an even lower offer, and off we went back to the dealership to buy the car.
- Take a small child with you to the dealership. Even though the process took hours to complete, I do believe it went a tiny bit faster because we had our 3-year old with us.
And please, let this car last us forever, because even though I was barely a participant to this deal, I’m not sure I can stomach buying another car for at least another 10 years.