A quick bit of advice for car buyers who are shopping this weekend: If you know what you can afford in terms of a monthly payment, don't disclose it to the salesperson too early in the sales process.
If you do, the sales person will do whatever he or she can to make sure that's what you pay. He or she will either be unlikely to go lower than your number, or he or she will tack on extras to reach that number.
Just ask the Chicago Tribune's Kristin Samuelson, who went through the car-buying process recently and blogged about it for the paper. She was cautious not to give out her maximum number until late in the process, because she did not want to give up her leverage.
And that's what it's all about. If a dealer knows you can only pay $350 a month, he or she will avoid going lower. However, if your number is known only to you, you have more leeway to work with.
Any extra advantage you have while negotiating can't hurt. So as you hit car lots this weekend looking for your next ride, keep this tip in mind.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]