I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.


Looking to buy a new or preowned car?

Before you sashay on over to the dealership with a cashier’s check in hand, do your homework.

Researching car performance and car value ahead of shopping is the best way to get a reliable and safe car for a fair price. Consumer Reports has a nifty Auto Spotlight Guide. In the guide, you can find the 10 Top Picks of 2017 – the year’s best cars based on a variety of important criteria.

My trusty 1999 Toyota Camry has been good to me for over ten years and not out of sheer luck.

I made sure to invest in a car that would last me for a while.


How I Found a Reliable Camry

I bought the 1999 Toyota Camry in 2007 for $4,000 in cash. It’s held up until this day without any major repairs.

Before I purchased the Camry, I made a point to check out reviews so that I could choose a quality car make and model.

But, I didn’t stop there.

I had my mechanic take a look at the specific Camry I wanted to buy. He inspected it and told me it was a solid car. He also said that it would last me a long time if I did regular maintenance.

He was right! I’ve been rockin’ with that Camry ever since.

If you’re looking for safe and reliable cars to choose from, I’ve got a shortcut for you.

(Don’t you just love shortcuts?)

Enter: Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports top picks are cars are shown to be reliable, safe, and satisfying. Each one has scored high on Consumer Reports strict track tests and extensive owner surveys.

FYI: Consumer Reports car testing is like no other.

The car teams test 60 vehicles per year, driving them a total of 900,000 miles, at their state-of-the-art auto track testing center. They evaluate everything from acceleration to emergency handling to safety features.

[bctt tweet=”Most automotive publications do reviews on cars and trucks lent to them by manufacturers. Not Consumer Reports. @consumerreports” username=”thebudgetnista”]

They purchase every vehicle they test from a dealership, just like you do. This way, they can maintain their independence and test cars that you and I actually buy — not special versions that manufacturers want to showcase.

When car shopping, finding the perfect set of wheels is easier than you think. Visit cr.org/buyacar to save money while choosing new or used cars. On this site, you can also learn about financing, safety features, tires, insurance, car seats, and more. Safety is a very important aspect to consider when weighing your car options.

Learn more about safety precautions to take before buying cars with unusual-looking automatic shifters here. Find out what you need to know about safety and self-driving cars here.


How to Negotiate on Price When Buying a Car

Let’s talk a little more about getting the best price. I recently bought another car for business.

Although the Camry is a solid car, I needed a car that I could drive to speaking engagements, meetings, awards, and events. I knew that I wanted something that looked like luxury without the luxury price tag. I also knew I wanted something newer. After doing research online, I narrowed my search to Lincoln MKZs. They are good looking American cars with high resale values and affordable parts.

I decided to buy a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) car which is a car that’s inspected, refurbished, and certified as good quality. This is key because Lincoln CPO cars offer bumper-to-bumper coverage for six years or 100,000 miles.

I researched how much the car typically sold for. You can research car price with the help of Consumer Reports here.

The asking price for the car I wanted was $24,000. Including taxes and registration fees, the car was a little over $26,000. I test drove the car at the very end of last month and offered $22,000 to include taxes and registration which was $4,000 less than the dealership’s listing. The sales agent refused, so I left, and test drove other cars.

The next day, I called the sales manager of the dealership again since I knew they had to meet quota at the last day of the month. We agreed upon a $22,500 price to include the car, taxes, and all fees.

Woot, woot!

Now, I have a business car and a personal car! This new car is also a tax write-off for my business.

With patience and research, I’ve been able to make the most of not one but TWO car purchases. The moral of the story is, always remember you have more leverage than you think. Make an offer, shop around, and don’t be afraid to negotiate!


How to Choose Car Insurance

You can’t think about car shopping without thinking about car insurance. I shop for insurance every year to make sure the insurance rate and plan I have is still competitive.

Need help looking for car insurance? Consumer Reports is also your best resource for car insurance information. You can use the car insurance buying guide to discover which features of a policy are most important to consider. Consumer Reports’ car insurance reviews and research give you unbiased buying advice that you can trust.

One worrisome trend Consumer Reports and ProPublica recently found after analyzing nearly 7 million car insurance premium quotes, is that car insurance companies may charge higher premiums in minority neighborhoods.

These research findings are something we all need to be mindful of. Watch the video for more information below.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports works for and with consumers (a.k.a. us!).

Consumer Reports is non-profit and independent of corporate and advertising influence. They aim to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace by putting research, facts, and data at the center of everything they do.

Subscribe to Consumer Reports today to get digital access to independent, unbiased ratings, and reviews for the products and services you use everyday.

I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.

About the Author Tiffany Aliche

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, is an award-winning teacher of financial education, America’s favorite, personal financial educator, and author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Get Good with Money. The Budgetnista is also an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The One Week Budget and the Live Richer Challenge series and most recently, a children's book, Happy Birthday Mali More.

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