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I used to buy beaters in my youth at a time when saving money for retirement was important. Now I only buy new cars about every six or seven years. I always pay cash plus using my trade in. I take the trade in to CarMax have them give me a written price guarantee, good for five days. I go to the new car dealership and negotiate the lowest price without a trade. After I get a firm price, we negotiate my trade in. The dealership will usually lowball your trade. This is when you pullout the price guarantee from CarMax. Usually a $2000 difference, the dealer will match the price. I sometimes also use the Costco auto-buying program.
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