Monday, January 12, 2009

Cheap car keys ...a personal finance puzzler

It seems goofy, but if you are in the market for a new vehicle anytime soon, think about buying before the government's promised economic stimulus packages kick in.

Car dealers are offering some astonishing deals right now. You can get nearly $8,000 below sticker price and $8,000 back on an Escalade right now if you are shopping upmarket or $3,700 below sticker and $3,700 back on a Saturn Vue, if that's more in line with your budget.
Not being fussy about fuel economy will get you the best deal, but thriftier selections are out there too.

Up to now many of us have been thinking that when the automakers claim that this once in a lifetime deal ends, it just means another better one may be coming up. That might be ending, writes Hannah Elliot at GM and Chrysler in particular will feel less pressure to cut prices when their federal bailout money arrives.

Waiting for our own household stimulus money arrives seems like a non-starter too. We don't yet know when it's coming or even how, but the $1,000 maximum being talked about isn't nearly as good as what Detroit is offering now.

But check out all the costs of a potential new car before you buy. After you pencil in financing costs, potentially higher licensing costs, higher property taxes you pay and your auto insurance, hanging on to your current car a little while longer may be more attractive

New-car-scent air fresheners run about $2.50 each at AutoZone.

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