Remember that post "Make Money Makeover" where I made money by making over my bedroom? Well when I bought the dresser for my new bedroom, I was there with a friend who was buying a few pieces of furniture herself. As we were heaving and hauling our pallet cart up to the register and discussing if we should put something back because of her budget, an Ikea employee asked if we needed any help.
I looked at him for a minute and then it dawned on me.
"Oh good, I was hoping we would run into someone because I actually needed to speak with a manager."
"Sure ma'am, I'd be happy to help you with that, what did you need?"
"Well you see, my friend and I are buying all these things and to be honest, it's just slightly over our budget. I don't want to have to put back this $200 table, this $100 coffee table, or this $150 dresser for the $50 that we don't have, so would you mind asking him if we could get a discount since we are buying so much?"
Six minutes later he is ringing up our discount at the register.
Did you guys know that you can haggle anywhere? Like seriously, anywhere. Now I don't make it a point to haggle for everything I buy, but hey, if you see an opportunity, why not? I'm never pushy, I never argue, if they say "no" I thank them politely for their time, but I never fail to ask, and usually, they have no problem throwing in an extra bonus or a discount.
So I was thinking, since I already told you how I used my body in order to get a better deal on an appliance, I figured that I could tell you about the time I used my brains to get a better deal on my car.
Almost exactly a year ago my ex caused some fairly expensive damage to my car, a car that my church had so generously just paid off a month prior. My options were to pour several thousand dollars into a six year old car; a car that still had problems from a previous accident with a botched repair job, or to start shopping for a new car on virtually no budget. I felt horrible knowing that my church had just put so much money into my car and I wanted to make sure that the money wasn't completely wasted. I did some research, looked at the facts and statistics of different dealerships, explored used vs. new options, and then I came up with a plan.
I dressed like a teeny bopper and went to the dealership on a day that was so hot birds were screaming for water and bugs were spontaneously combusting.
I chose a hot day because no one in their right mind would stand outside and look at cars on a day like that and waiting for a rainy day just seemed so….wet. I marched my teeny bopper ass right in there and after being walked around the
surface of the sun lot by a salesman for a ridiculously long
amount time, I asked him for a car that I knew they did not have in stock. When
they told me that they didn’t have that car, I thanked them and went to “leave.”
Immediately I was told that I HAD to go see the next model down (which was the
car that I actually wanted and knew they had in stock). I let the guy give me every
sales pitch he had on why this was the car for me and then when he took me
inside to crunch the numbers, I took the opportunity to pull up on my phone the
same car, one year older, at the used dealership from down the street.
When the guy came back to tell me the “spectacular deal” that I was going to get, I told him "you know what? You are right. I really don’t need the car that I came in here for. I agree, I really do need the one you showed me, but since I’m not getting all the features that I originally thought I wanted in the other car, I just don’t really feel the need to pay full price for a new car." I then showed him my phone and how I could get the same car, only one year older, for a significant discount at the lot down the street.
I stood up, shook his hand, thanked him, and turned to leave.
I stood up, shook his hand, thanked him, and turned to leave.
“Wait! Wait, wait. How much are you willing to pay?”
I gave him a number well below not even the sales price, but the invoice price.
“Ma’am, I can’t possibly give you a car for less than we paid for it.”
Now you see, that is not technically true. A car dealership may have purchased a car at a set invoice price, but there is a hold back of typically 2-4% percent that will be paid to the dealership from the manufacturer when they sell the car to you; so even invoice price really isn’t their bottom line.
“I know, it would be crazy for you to sell me a car for that price, but really, that is all I’m willing to pay. Thank you for your time!”
“Wait, wait. Let me see what I can do” he tells me before disappearing into the back.
He comes back and offers me free oil changes for two years.
If I may point out, I had purposefully walked in there looking like a teeny bopper because I knew it would most likely cause them to underestimate me. Easy looking sale means they let their defenses down.
Hook, line, and sinker.
Hook, line, and sinker.
“You realize that new cars only need an oil change every 6-8,000 miles, right? That’s saving me like $90 total. How about you give me that car at $4,000 below invoice price and you take my car as a trade in?"
He looked like I had hit him in the face with a frying pan.
“You’re killing me ma’am. I could lose my job over that deal.”
“Yea, that doesn’t actually happen, just take my offer to your boss.”
He sort of shuffles his feet and lets out a big sigh before walking back to his bosses office. The boss comes out, pulls a chair up, and pulls out some paper. On the paper he starts writing two columns of numbers using his calculator in between each equation that he writes down.
When he is all done, he slides the paper over to me and says “You see why this would never work? Look at how much money we would be losing.”
I take the paper and rearrange some of his numbers. “No, you see, after you add back in your hold back and fix my current car in what would be an extremely expensive repair for me, but not for you with your 'at cost' parts and on staff mechanics, you will sell my trade in for xyz and net xyz out of the deal.”
He sits there. I sit there. We have some weird and uncomfortable staring contest.
Finally he says “you know I’ll never let the car off the lot for that price, right?”
I look at him for a minute before I say “you know I’ve tried to leave twice now and you guys keep asking me to wait, right?”
The weird and uncomfortable staring contest is resumed.
Eventually he says “hang on, let me make a few calls,” goes into his office and gets on the phone, but he leaves the door open.
While he is in there, I take the opportunity to loudly call a few used car dealerships and ask about coming in to look at a car they have.
Finally he emerges from his office and asks me to sit down at his desk.
“Ok, listen. I legally can’t sell you a car for that much below the invoice price, but what I can do is to sell you the car at the invoice price and take your car at double the trade in value. Is that ok?”
I don’t care, it’s going to come off the loan anyways so whether they lower the new car price or raise the trade in value, it’s no sweat off my back.
Now I know that they are still netting about $3000 off the price of the car, so when it arrives three days later, transferred in from another dealership in the color that I wanted, I had no problem telling them that I don’t care that they transferred it for me, I didn’t agree to purchase a fully upgraded model with heated seats, spoiler, blackout package, remote start, upgraded rims, and that I won’t be buying it (which was actually the truth) for it's upgraded price.
Then it comes time to finance the car.
The little finance dude takes me into his office and starts laying out the payment options.
“Oh, I’m sorry, didn’t I tell you? I’m paying cash.”
Did you know that many times the biggest profit that a dealership makes off of you are in the fee’s that the bank pays them when someone finances a car?
The dealership manager comes in and is not all that happy to see me again.
“Hi! How are you!?” I happily exclaim.
“You aren’t financing your car” he says in a tone completely and utterly devoid of emotion.
“No way, I don’t want to pay those hefty interest rates.”
“Well ma’am, the interest rates really aren’t that high, especially when you look at what else you could be investing your money in over the course of the loan.”
“Yea, no thanks!”
He is not amused.
“Is something wrong? Look, I know that you guys get quite a kickback from the bank when someone finances a car, so maybe we can make a deal that benefits us both.”
He is definitely not amused but at least now he looks slightly interested.
“I’ll finance the car at a 2% interest rate but you need to raise the trade in value of my car another grand because I’m not eating interest rate payments just so that you can make money off of me.”
Now I had already done the math and a 2% interest rate over the life of the loan was only $750 so I would be netting an additional $250 by taking another $1000 off of the loan.
He grumbles something and shuffles out of his office.
When all was said and done I walked away with a $26,000 car for slightly over $5000 financed down to an extended loan payment that I could manage.
Basically I traded in a broken car for a brand new one and didn’t spend a penny over what my broken car was worth.
When I walked out the door the manager looked at me and said half jokingly and half serious, “I’m removing your information from our sales call list because I really don’t want to see you again. Not unless you want a job.”
Oh he will see me again alright, because I’m going to flip the car next year. There’s a reason that my girly ass would get a streak blue car with a spoiler, racing stripes, and the added bonus of the blackout package; it’s because I won’t have a ton of competition when I sell it next year for $12,000. Some teenage boy will be pretty happy with his first sporty car, two years old and 65% off the lot value, and I’ll be pretty happy when I sell it and walk away with not only a double profit, but leave behind a car that I basically drove for free for two years.
That profit will work out pretty nice as the down payment on my next car.