A Spreadsheet To Help You Purchase A Car

In 2002, I decided to buy a new car.  I love doing research, but I hate dealing with car salespeople.  Luckily for me, I found this article that changed my whole way of buying a car, from research to dealing with the car dealerships.  I read the article (it's not short), but the spreadsheet is my own.

Here's how my car shopping spreadsheet works:

Start with the first tab (called "Worksheet"); you'll find instructions at the top.  The data in this spreadsheet is from an actual search; ultimately, the decision we made was to buy a Nissan Altima Hybrid.

The 2nd tab is info about our winner, the Altima, and it was used to get pricing info that goes into the bidding process.  You would use this tab to fill in details on pricing info for whatever car you end up choosing in the "Worksheet" tab.  The idea, as explained in the Motley Fool article above on how to buy a car, is that you want to find out the prices of each option you're considering.  It will help you put together a complete bid.  This, in turn, helps you deal with the car dealerships to get the best price you can get.

The "Bids" sheet is used for Step 12 of the car shopping process.  Read this to go straight to Step 12's explanation, which basically has you contacting all the dealers of your type of car, asking them to bid for your business.  The "Bids" sheet is used to keep track of all the bids you'll receive.

The "Dealers" tab we used to keep track of all the dealers we contacted, and whether we got to the point where we sent them our full specs and asked them to bid for our business.

It worked like a charm.

If you try this spreadsheet for your own car shopping, write back and let me know if this was helpful to you.  And if you have improvements on the spreadsheets, let me know!

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In my opinion, always use the bluebook before you even start going to local auto dealers. Carfax is also a good option. Tim

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