Spend Wisely

Mark your calendars: The best time to get a deal on your new ride

Read: 3 minutes

Buying a car is one of the most important investments you can make, but it's also one of the most expensive. Research shows the average person puts over $8,000 toward owning and operating their car each year.

Unlike clothes, gadgets, and gym memberships, it's rare to find a brand-new car at a steep discount. However, if you play your cards right, you could walk out of the dealership with a great deal on a vehicle you love.

How? Well, it all comes down to timing. In fact, buying a car at a specific time of the month can mean saving thousands of dollars.

Mark your calendars for the best times to buy—and save—on your new ride.

1. End of the month

Since most auto salespeople have to meet a monthly quota, you can expect to get a great deal toward the end of the month. “Every general manager has a bottom line number, which is the number of vehicles they need to sell each month," says Len Short, head of LotLinx, an inventory platform that tracks thousands of auto dealers in real time. “As the end of the month approaches, they get anxious to make that number."

Short says he consistently sees discounts at the end of the month, which means it's a good time for you to bargain.

2. August

Don't let the dog days of summer get you down; it's actually a great time buy a new car. New models are typically delivered in the fall, which means many dealers are looking to make room for their new inventory in August.

According to TrueCar, a company that analyzes car prices nationwide, August is the best month to buy. On average, the price of a car can be 15 percent less in August than other times of the year. Most brands make small tweaks to their models from year to year, so that 2018 model you spy in the lot won't be too different from the incoming 2019 option.

3. Black Friday

Large retailers aren't the only ones who want to take advantage of the pre-holiday consumer frenzy. Turns out, a trip to the showroom on Black Friday can be more profitable than a trip to the mall.

“Car dealers are competing with Black Friday sales," says Short. "If you go out and buy a new flat screen TV, that's less money available to buy a car."

There's plenty of time to buy presents for your loved ones, so why not use Black Friday to treat yourself?

4. Late December

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year—especially if you're looking to buy a new set of wheels.

Many dealers are still trying to add to their annual sales total toward the end of the year. Problem is, inventory is high and weather is bad, so many dealers offer discounts to incentivize shoppers to get out of their houses and shop.

“I once bought a car on December 31," says Short. “They did extraordinary things to make that deal."


Andy Jensen is a Chase News contributor.