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Car Buying

Buying a Car: Should You Buy at the End of the Month?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro

If you're interested in buying a car, then you've probably heard from friends or acquaintances that you should buy at the end of the month because dealers are usually looking to meet goals during this time. You might get a better deal as a result. Is this line of thinking really correct? We'll explain.

Usually, It's True

In general, the end of the month is, indeed, the best time to buy a new car from a dealership. Even better, you might want to consider buying a car at the end of a quarter -- either March, June, September or December. In those cases, you might get even more savings than you would from simply buying at the end of the month.

Why is the end of the month such a good time to buy? It all comes down to dealership goals. In general, most automakers set sales goals for dealers, and most dealers set similar goals for themselves. Often, these goals include high-dollar bonuses if they're met. That's a big incentive for dealers or salespeople who close extra sales at the end of a month or quarter to help reach a goal.

Last Day Only?

Interestingly, our advice doesn't apply solely to the very last day of the month. If a dealer is closing in on a goal several days before the month's end, that dealer may start giving better deals than usual in those last few days. Additionally, the very last weekend of the month tends to see fairly similar deals to the last day because dealers look at the final weekend of each month as one last push to get extra sales before the month ends. (Weekends tend to be busier than weekdays for car dealerships.) As a result, you might not need to visit a dealer on the very last day of the month; the last few days or the last weekend may suffice.

Exceptions

There are, however, some situations in which buying a car at the very end of the month won't get you the best deal possible. Our best example is a situation in which a dealership has already reached its monthly sales goal. In that case, the dealership probably won't discount a car as much because it doesn't need the sales so badly. If you're especially focused on the bottom-line price and the dealer you've visited isn't meeting your terms, you may want to try another dealership before the month is over.

Shop Early, Buy Late

Because the end of the month is the best time for a good deal, we typically recommend that shoppers follow a simple strategy when it comes to buying a car: Shop for the car early in the month, and buy it later in the month. In other words, get your test drives out of the way early on, and begin narrowing your list by the end of the month. When the last few days come around, start visiting dealerships again to start the final negotiating process.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Buying a Car: Should You Buy at the End of the Month?