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So you’ve finally decided it’s time to purchase a new car. Now you’re trying to choose which car to buy, where to buy it and how much you can afford. But have you given any consideration to the timing of your purchase? If you time it right, you might be able to shave a several hundred dollars off of your purchase price.

While you can score a great deal any time if you do your research, watch for sales and practice the art of negotiation. You can also give your penny-pinching efforts an added boost — by as much as eight percent — if you pay attention to timing, according to data collected by our partners at TRUECar®.

Aim for the end.

Generally speaking, if you plan your next vehicle purchase at the end of the month or sales quarter you could save money on the total cost of your new wheels. That’s because the sales team may be more willing to negotiate — after all, many are looking to give their sales quotas a last-minute boost.

Want to increase your opportunity to save even more? Purchase your car between Labor Day and New Year’s Day. That way you can take advantage of model-year closeouts, since this is when sellers want to make room on their lot for next year’s models.

While waiting until the end of a given timeframe could mean savings for you, weekends are the exception. Dealerships are usually busier on the weekends, meaning they have less time to spend with you and a reduced motivation for negotiation.

According to TRUECar’s data, here are some of the smartest times to buy, based on the average discount received off of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP):

Day of Year with Greatest Savings

January 1

Buyers saved an average of

8.8% off MRSP

Month with Greatest Savings


Buyers saved an average of

7.7% off MSRP

Day of Week with Greatest Savings


Buyers saved an average of

7.4% off MSRP

Celebrate holiday weekends on the lot.

We’re sure you’ve seen the ads for President’s Day, Memorial Day or New Year’s mega sales at your local dealership. You may be curious if it’s all hype or if these holiday sales can really make a difference. While at some dealerships you may find it’s mostly smoke and mirrors, most holiday sales can leave save some dough in your pocket through manufacturer cash-back incentives and dealership deals. Just be sure to do your research and not rely solely on an ad to tell you if it’s a good deal.

Match Vehicle Type with Timing.

Not all vehicle types were created equal and neither are the most advantageous times to buy them. This is similar to purchasing clothing — you’re more likely to pay the full retail price when buying certain items like outerwear and swimwear at the start of their season. But if you wait until that season is over, you can score discounts.

So when buying a car, think about when buyers want a particular car type most and choose the opposite time to buy it, when demand is lower. For example, when purchasing a convertible a smart time to buy it is at the end of summer, after their high-demand season is over. For SUVs and small trucks, late spring and summer are when you’ll find discounts, since these vehicles more popular in wintertime.

Don’t discount other opportunities to save.

While timing your car purchase just right has the potential to help you save on your next car purchase, relying on it solely won’t necessarily give you the best price. There are plenty of other ways to pay less. If you add more than one of these tips to your car-buying strategy, they can add up to big savings:

  • Get pre-approved for your auto loan before stepping on the lot. It’ll help stay you on budget, potentially get a better interest rate and negotiate for the price you want to pay.
  • Look for manufacture and dealer incentives. These are offered on everything from being a recent grad to your brand loyalty.
  • Consider late-model, pre-owned cars. Sometimes you can find ones that are barely used (with less than 5,000 miles), such as dealer demo cars and service loaners.

If you’re looking for more advice on your next car purchase or if you’re ready to apply for an auto loan, stop by your nearest FAIRWINDS Credit Union and we’ll help you get on the road.

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