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Saving money on car buying

There’s much to consider when buying and selling a car — and many ways to save.

Consider your season of life

Gone are the pre-kid days when we’d hope for a push-start of our clunker car from whoever was standing nearby. When it comes to vehicles, most moms seek reliability, fit and safety. With kids in tow and a million errands to run, we need a car that starts every time — and bonus points for onboard wifi.

The new/used debate

Sometimes buying brand new makes the most financial sense, even with the know-

ledge that cars depreciate quickly. Buying new allows you to know that your vehicle will start when you need it to and not leave you stranded. If it’s not reliable, you will throw money away on towing fees, taking time off work, missing important events, etc.

Buying used will save you money on the purchase price. But the sweet spot of mileage, age, wear and tear can be difficult to mentally sort through. We get it. It helps to talk it out with a no-pressure expert. At Capitol, our mission is to see you happy in choice, be it used or new. Come in for a chat (and snacks) and we’ll help you figure it out.

Determine what you can afford

For new cars, Edumunds recommends that your car payment be no more than 15% of your monthly take-home pay. That’s just the payment, though; you want to factor in an additional 5% for insurance, fuel and maintenance costs. That bumps things up to about 20%. Again, remember that this is based on your monthly income after taxes and other deductions. We have a payment estimator on our website, as well as an instant pre-approval for financing. Have a look after you put the kids to bed, as well as shop our new and used inventory online.

Buy from a reputable dealer

If you don’t want to get into the weeds of the math, be sure to work with a dealer who has a long, solid reputation of keeping customers happy. The pop-up seller who is there one minute and gone the next might be more interested in getting as much money out of you in the moment, without regard to how you’ll manage in the future. We’ve been in the car business for over 90 years, so we’ve seen how this goes. Choose a dealer who has an investment in your community — we aim to keep you as a customer for life.

Don’t skip routine maintenance!

If you don’t properly maintain your vehicles in terms of oil changes, routine maintenance, tires, etc., you are throwing your money away. Say that louder for the people in the back: you save money by taking good care of your vehicles. It also makes sense to have your maintenance done all at one place. At our service center, we keep impeccable track of what has been done and when, as well as when you need to return for routine maintenance.

When not to DIY

Those TikTok videos might make changing out your spark plugs look easy, but if you have to hire a babysitter to watch the kids or take time off of work to do this, you are not saving any money. Put a price on your time: how much money do you burn when you outsource yourself? Your time is valuable, and many tasks make better budget sense to leave to the pros.

Sell or trade-in a vehicle you don’t use

If you have a car just sitting around, it’s not fulfilling its mission in life, which is to drive! A vehicle that sits for a long period of time is also prone to costly problems: batteries lose their charge, fluids go bad, tires rot. The longer it sits, the more it also likely depreciates. We’re always buying used vehicles; just give us a call or stop by.

Check out incentives, rebates and coupons

Car manufacturers are constantly offering incentives and rebates, which can give you a nice cushion of savings. These numerous offerings change frequently, and we keep them posted on our website. If you are a military household, you could also qualify for a special rebate. And who doesn’t love a good coupon? Visit our service page for current savings on parts and labor.


Brought to you by:


Monika Duke, executive assistant, has been with Capitol Auto Group for 21 years. She is the mother of two daughters: Lauren, age 18, and Morgan, age 17, who were born on the same day exactly one year apart! Monika enjoys working at Capitol because of the great owners and her co-workers. She also loves the freedom Capitol provides to do her favorite activity outside of work: watching her girls play competitive soccer all over the West Coast.


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