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A car is an essential part of commuting through life. When you first buy that vehicle, you expect it to last forever. However, after a few years, it is time to replace your car for a newer and more efficient model. Today, the average automobile owner will pay around $33,000. Back in the late 1970’s, the average price was under $6,000. To say that the price of cars has gone up is an understatement. You want the best deal when you buy your next vehicle, so here are 10 ways you can ensure you don’t pay a dime more than you should.

1. Don’t Use Lots The Have No-Haggling Slogans

The latest thing in the used car industry is to declare a lot a ‘no-haggling’ zone. These lots put their supposed best price on the sticker. Most of them won’t even entertain the thought of a lower price. So, you want to make sure you pick a lot that is willing to deal. You can rest assured that their no-haggle price is not their best deal.

2. Never Take A Car Home For The Night

Another way that car lots like to try to entice buyers is to let them take a car home for the night. Many people are sold the minute they drive out of the lot. The goal is to act like you don’t need that car and you can walk away. Most of the time when they get you to leave in the car, they know they have you.

3. Skip The Ad-Ons

Car lots will want to add all sorts of extras to your purchase. Skip things like scotch-guard and other services that you can do yourself for less. A car lot may charge $500 for scotch-guarding your seats, but you can buy the stuff and do it for about one-fifth of the cost.

4. Never Let The Salesman Know How Much You Can Spend

If you have $25,000 cash in your pocket, never let the salesperson know. They are less eager to give good deals to those who they think are well endowed. Some people even dress down to go car shopping. Looking like a ‘charity case’ may help you get the best deal.

5. Don’t Discuss Your Trade-In Till The End

Your trade-in should be a bargaining tool. However, you need to make sure you don’t disclose all your secrets until you are ready to make the purchase. Many car lots will inflate the price of the car to cover the trade-in, so they don’t have to pay you a dime.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Walk

If you don’t like what the sales person offers, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some call this the “trump card,” as the salesman will miraculously come up with a stellar offer right when you are ready to walk. Sure, it eats into their commissions a bit, but it is worth it to them to get that sale.

7. Don’t Focus on the Monthly Payment

Many people go in with the monthly payment in mind. Focus on the total cost of the car and the terms, the payment should only be one factor. If you are so worried about the payment that you skip over little details, they can add all sorts of things to the package price and you might not even notice.

8. Never Shop Weekends

Car lots are always crowded on the weekends. Shopping during the week means that the sales person is more willing to bend to get a sale. On the weekend, they are moving people in and out quickly. They may be less willing to make that sale when they have already have made 10 that day. You will get your best deals when the lot is not full of customers.

9. Don’t Buy For Incentives

Some car lots will try to get you into a car that is packed with incentives. The incentive sweetens the purchase but it should never sway you to make a deal. If you get $1,000 cash for a vehicle that is too small or not what you need, you will only lose in the long-run. You need to buy for your needs and budget, and if there are incentives to be had, it will be an additional bonus.

10. You Don’t Have To Pay Dealer Marketing Fees

Some dealers will try to include dealer marketing fees into your final price. While you do have to pay sales tax, license fees, and other miscellaneous costs, you are not responsible for the dealer marketing costs.

Finally, make sure to read over any paperwork you sign. Car lots are notorious for slipping a few things in that you didn’t agree to. To get the payment you need, they will often finagle the numbers. Make sure that any number shifting is in your favor and not theirs.