I’ve come to that wondrous time in a gal’s life when she needs to buy a new car. I love my Suzuki Swift (check my avatar, y’all), but it is time to move on.
Why, people ask me. What’s wrong with your car?
Well, nothing at all, I reply. Then they look at me askance. I usually shrug and say “eh, I just feel like a change!” leading them to suspect I’m an overpaid, shallow princess. Somewhat similar to their reactions to my outbursts of “my Daddy is buying me a new caaaaar!!!!” four years ago, when in fact I had to pay him back every last cent*.
The whole story is a little harder to explain. For a start, I’ve done a little research and found that three to four years is the most economical time to trade in a new car, when you take into account services and reliability. Yes, I’m paying a little extra for the ‘reliability’ factor, but in my world it’s a price worth paying.
Additionally, my car is so much more to me than a vessel for travelling from A to B. Firstly, I LOVE cars. I love the throaty burble of a V8, I love the sleek squatting outline of a nicely fitted Skyline GT-R, I love knocking the gearstick back into third, planting my foot on the accelerator and feeling the heartless, brainless piece of machinery in which I sit respond to my every move like it’s an extension of my body. It’s magic to me.
Secondly, I was dirt-ass-poor for a really long time. When I first moved out of the home paddock, a good five years elapsed before I could even afford a new pair of jeans, let alone a vehicle. My shiny, over-adored car is a symbol of the road I’ve travelled. When I see it in a parking lot, my heart gives a little sigh of contentment. When there’s a new car in my garage, I feel that despite my lack of property, bunny rabbit and fulfilling job, I’ve accomplished something. I suspect people feel this way about their children, albeit on a less profound scale of course.
So I’m off to trade in my beloved Suzuki Swift for a Ford Fiesta.
And if any of you ladies (or men, for that matter) find yourself in a similar predicament, here is my advice:
Inga’s Tips for Buying a New Car When You Have Boobs
- Leave the bloke at home. Seriously girls, you can do this by yourself.
- Know your trade-in price. Use the internet and newspapers to find out what dealers and private sellers are charging for you vehicle. Knock off at least $3000 from the private seller amount, and flat out ignore the dealer prices because they’re depressing. You can bring it up in the haggling later: “Hey, I know your dodgy ass is gonna be selling this car for $xxx the second I walk out of the car yard, so throw in some floor mats or a t-shirt, biatch!” However, do remember to take into account your mileage. I’ve driven to Canberra a million times in the last three years, therefore I can’t expect as much as the Nanna who drove to Safeway once a week for her pack of Depends.
- Research. If you’re anything like me, this will involve a bunch of Excel spreadsheets. Know exactly what make, model and options you want. Know precisely what is standard and what is optioned on your chosen vehicle. Remember that even paint colour can affect what is ‘standard’. For example, metallic paint can be charged as an extra, and different coloured vehicles can come with different coloured interior trims.
- Agree on the price of the vehicle before agreeing on the trade-in value of your car. This prevents the dealer from tweaking his “dealer delivery charge” to make up any ground they’ve lost in trade-in haggling. Stamp duty and registration are fixed prices; dealer delivery is where each salesman has room to move. Bear in mind that “dealer delivery” involves printing out the invoice, peeling off some tape and bubble wrap, polishing up the chassis and screwing on the licence plates. If $1500 seems excessive to you, then say so.
- Know your stamp duty and registration prices down to the last bloody cent.
- Don’t give your money to a shithead. If you don’t like the way they treat you, don’t give them your commission.
- Know what your best feature is, and flaunt it. There’s nothing wrong with exploiting the salesman’s ‘other’ head to knock a few hundred bucks off the price. Commission based profession or not, men are still men and will be distracted by your epic cleavage or knockout thighs.
*almost every last cent. He let me buy a digital piano with the last few hundred. Both of us are yet to see any return from that particular investment.