Buying a new car

Buying a new car

I hate buying a new car. But, unfortunately, a car isn’t going to last forever. So, at some point you’ve got to plunge into the car market.

That is where I found myself for the past several months.

Which car?

The first thing to figure out is what car you want. Our last car was a 2008 Nissan Versa. We had chosen that car for a few different reasons.

First, the Versa had a great price. We were able to get into a slightly used Versa for about $10,000. Secondly, the Versa had great safety ratings for a car in it’s class. I was also intrigued with the Nissan product. I knew they had a racing division and it seemed to me that they were a strong company.

And then there was the thing that could be the ultimate deal breaker… Head room. I’m 6 foot 5 inches tall. I need to be able to fit into the car. The Versa was nicknamed the “limo” of small cars. And, once I sat down in the car, I completely agreed. Even the back seat had head room!

We drove the ’08 Versa for 15 years. The car had a fantastic maintenance record and a consistent 30 miles per gallon! So, when it came time to buy a new car, I immediately returned to the Versa market.

New or used?

New or used? In 2009 my answer was a resounding USED!! At the time everyone knew that buying a new car was a waste of money. As soon as you took the car off the lot they depreciated in value. You were better off buying a slightly used car. And that is what we did.

That was 2009. Now it’s 2024 and things have changed dramatically. I heard people saying that used car prices were high, but I had no idea!

When I researched used cars online I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! A car with 20,000 miles and a year old was selling for more money than a car fresh off of the dealer’s lot!

That didn’t take much thought. We’d buy a new car!


Before heading to the dealership we needed to know how we were going to pay for this vehicle. We’ve purchased several different cars over the years. Most of them were financed. But, when we purchased our 2008 Versa in 2009, we borrowed from our retirement account and used that cash to buy the car. By using that approach we paid the interest to ourselves instead of the bank.

My wife and I decided that this would be the best way to buy our next car. She gave me an amount that we could use from savings and I’d borrow the remaining amount from our retirement account.

I like the idea of keeping the bank out of the picture when I buy a car. And, I love walking away with a car and a clean title. An amazing feeling.


I spent several months looking at Versa’s online. I noticed that the manual transmission S model was listing at a fantastic price. And, I love driving a manual car. This was a no-brainer. I knew the car that I wanted.

Now that we knew what we wanted, we calculated what we would need to borrow from retirement and jumped through the necessary hoops to get the cash.


I went to the local dealership and drove a Versa with an automatic transmission. When we came back to the dealership, I told the salesman that I wanted a manual. He said there weren’t any on the lot, gave me his card and told me he’d let me know if one came in…. I never heard back from him.

I received several messages from this dealership. They were very excited to sell me a Versa, but they only had automatics. No manual transmissions.

This became a pattern with dealerships. I’d make contact, tell them what I want and then they’d try to sell me an automatic transmission car. At one point I was told that one would be available in a month. A week later they called and said that the car I wanted was ordered by a broker and that it wasn’t available.

Greenacres Nissan – Florida

This pattern continued until I contacted Matt from Greenacres Nissan. I told him what I wanted and he listened.

At first it seemed that he wouldn’t be able to help me. But, after several days he said he had found a car for me. I was ecstatic! But, I was also nervous about going to the dealership. It’s one thing to plan to spend a large lump of cash, it’s another thing to actually cut the check.

So, I set off to the dealership with much fear and trepidation. The car wasn’t on the lot, but they had me drive an automatic. I needed to be sure that the head room had remained consistent with my 2008 model. It was very similar. (The back seat was another story. Much smaller. But, we have no need to put anyone in the back seat.)


I hate haggling. Give me the price. I can pay it or I can’t. Done.

So, when they came to me much higher than I could afford, I told them to have a nice day. But, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that they came back to me with another deal. Closer, but still too high.

At this point I just wanted to go home but, they had the keys to my car. (Standard dealership behavior.) Eventually I told them that I had borrowed X amount of money from retirement and that any amount over X would be taking money out of my monthly budget for things like,… RENT!

We spoke for a few minutes and they said they could ask the general manager if he’d agree on my absolute, maximum out the door amount. He agreed.



First and foremost, BE PATIENT! You can’t go into this process in a hurry. Take your time and figure out which car you want and what price you can afford. This will take time.

Don’t negotiate payments. Focus on overall price. Even if you want to finance, figure out what the price would be for your payment structure. Don’t be distracted into talking about the value of your trade in (assuming you have one). What is your bottom line price!

Be serious about walking away. When I told the dealer that I couldn’t do the deal. I was genuinely ready to walk away. Trying to play poker and bluff your dealer is a big gamble.

And that leads to my final suggestion, be honest. I originally told the dealer that I would ‘like’ to be at a certain price point. Then I told them that I ‘had’ to be at a certain number. I wasn’t playing games with them. Maybe they sensed that, I don’t know. But, your mother was right, honesty is the best policy. Just because you think they might be lying doesn’t mean you should join in.

Good luck

If you’re in the market, I wish you the best of luck! If you are in south Florida I highly recommend the folks at Nissan Greenacres. They gave me the deal that I needed to get into my new car. Ask for Matt! Tell them that Eric sent you.

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