Well our car buying saga has finally ended, at least for my wife. We picked up her new car today. After spending so much time researching cars on the internet at sites like Edmunds.com and trying to get dealers to negotiate we finally made a purchase in a more “primitive” way. It turns out my wife’s co-worker was a former admin for one of the dealerships VPs so she had a pretty good relationship with them and set us up with the Fleet manager who proceeded to simply give us a good deal on a car.

I have to admit though, I was surprised the internet was so useless in negotiating a price. My plan was to e-mail all the dealerships and have them fight it out for the best price but none of them were up for it. They all simply quoted MSRP on the car via e-mail. Most never bothered to return a phone call and the one guy who did call me back wanted me to drive to the dealership to get a “special” deal. I might have done it were it not for the fact that his dealership was almost an hour from my home so no dice.

We established a good relationship with the fleet manager so I’m thinking if I decide to go that route, we’ll simply go there and pick up my car.

As for the financing, the dealership wasn’t really offering any special deals. When I asked the manager what the financing rate was he said it depended on my credit. When I asked him what the “best” rate would be, he quoted 7% for excellent credit.

I proceeded to shop around for some cheaper financing and came across Costco’s Auto Financing Program. It was pretty easy to get signed up for a 40k loan and received a blank check overnight to get the deal done today. The financing rate was 5.5% but I’m not planning on paying that for more than 30 to 60 days. I’ll flip the loan over to 0% credit card.

Why would I want to flip a loan secured by my auto over to my credit card? Here are the reasons:

1. ALWAYS trade secured debt for unsecured debt! In worst case scenario where I simply have no more money and declare bankruptcy, my car won’t get repossessed since it’ll be credit card debt which is unsecured debt.

2. Why pay 5.5% interest when credit cards offer 0% for 6 to 12 months at a time? I financed this car over 3 years so I think I can get 0% APR for 36 months and if the offers dry up, I’ll pay off the car loan with my cash reserves.

Over all, my wife was extremely happy with her new car and the 40k price tag seemed steep but we’ll likely keep the car for 10+ years so that averages out to about 4k/year and I’m good with that cost breakdown.