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Ask Savvy: Should I Buy a New Car?

Dear Savvy,

I recently got a letter in the mail from a local car dealership requesting that I trade in my 2001 VW Passat, saying that they are getting lots of requests and stating the blue book value for my car. I wouldn't mind buying a new car, but promised myself I would drive my car until it is unrepairable or I graduate from college, whichever comes first. I still have two more years to go, but if this offer is legitimate, I don't want to let the opportunity go. Any advice?

Savvy says: The car dealership is reaching out to people who aren't in the market for a new car and convincing them to consider busting an auto move. That's a pretty successful campaign on its part, but are your best interests at hand? Find out what I think when you


You have a car that isn't causing you headaches and you're still in school, which makes me assume that you're probably better off without the additional expense of an updated vehicle. While trading in your car would reduce the cost of the newer one, I'd put money on you walking out of the dealership with more bills to pay than when you walked in.

Car dealerships are fantastic at making us think the deals they're advertising right now are once-in-a-lifetime bargains that won't be seen again. They want you to worry that you'll regret not jumping on their current offerings so that you buy now instead of later, and as you put it, you don't want to "let the opportunity go."

Bottom line, a deal isn't a deal unless you're shopping for something in the first place and can afford the terms. And that lost opportunity? Think about the money you'll save by keeping your current ride for the next couple years, and don't be surprised when there are deals to be had when you're in the market for something different.

Have a question for me? Ask away by posting your questions in my Ask Savvy group and I may answer it on the site!

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