This past weekend, my partner and I bought a new car after months of research, saving, and going back and forth about whether our 2001 Honda Civic, bought off Craigslist for $1900, really needed to be replaced. When our little clunker failed to start not one but two times last week, we knew for sure it did.
Still, the process was nerve-racking. Money tends to make me anxious, and throwing down large sums of it makes me even more anxious. I really wanted to avoid buyer's remorse on a purchase that would be pretty hard to return.
This is how I prepared to be excited instead of stressed about my new car:
We took a trip to a dealership six weeks ago for practice
We knew we were going to have to get a new car this year, so in early March we went to the Honda dealership to brush up on our negotiating skills.
Don't underestimate how stressful car dealerships can be and how good sales people are at making you feel like walking away from their offer would be a huge mistake. My partner and I knew we weren't there to purchase a car that day, and communicated with each other that under no circumstances would we try to go back on that promise.
We still felt the pressure, but our preparation helped us withstand it.
We did our homework while we were still driving our old car
We read "Consumer Reports," we talked to our friends with cars and we researched price guides for all of the makes and models we were interested in — way before we needed to buy. Why? We knew that if we waited until we were desperate to buy a car before doing our due diligence, we'd make a hasty decision for the wrong reasons.