The 4 Best Months to Buy a Car

From Mondays when business is slow to right before closing when salespeople are in a hurry, there’s no shortage of theories about the best time to negotiate the best price on a new car. But what if you’re not a Monday person or you work the swing shift? Here are the four best months to negotiate a new car deal.

May

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the “big sales event” season for car dealers from coast to coast. And of course, the typical Memorial Day sale runs longer than just those three days. If you want to head into summer in a new ride, this is the time to do it.

Also, according to data compiled by TrueCar, Memorial Day weekend is an especially good time to shop for a mid-size SUV.

October, November, and December

Yes, all three of these are good months to go car shopping, but each month for a different reason – and a different type of car.

October is the first month that dealers really become aggressive about clearing out the previous model year. According to TrueCar’s data, buyers in October average nearly 8% savings off MSRP.

October is also a slow month for full-size pickups. With supply high and demand low, it’s an especially good time to deal on that F-150 or Ram 1500. Most pickups don’t change much from year to year, so if you’re willing to accept a truck from the previous model year, you may find yourself with a screaming deal.

Black Friday is supposed to be all about retail. However, in recent years, car dealers have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon, too. TrueCar data suggests that November is an especially good month to buy midsize and compact cars. However, you’re well-advised to avoid SUVs and crossovers in November. Sure, supply is ample, but so is demand. Dealers are less likely to deal on whatever’s hot at the moment.

By the time December rolls around, car dealers aren’t thinking only about clearing out the previous year’s models; they’re thinking about hitting their annual sales goals, too. The big push is on to close deals. If you’re in the market for an SUV, TrueCar’s data indicates that waiting until December will pay off. Regardless of what vehicle you’re looking for, keep this in mind: While you may get a great deal on the previous model year, by December your choices will likely be very limited.

Bonus: New Year’s Day

Why would you go car shopping after the end of the year? Isn’t it already too late? Haven’t the dealers already reset for the start of the new year? It may surprise you to learn that the car dealer year actually ends on January 2. This gives dealers one final holiday to clear out inventory and make sales quotas. It’s literally their last chance to sell you a vehicle during the current year, so you’re really in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

Limit your car shopping to the months (and holiday) described here, and you’re sure to save some serious dollars!

If you need help financing, First Financial has you covered with low rates, personalized service, same-day approval decisions and electronic closings! Learn more here, and apply online 24/7.*

Article Source: CUInsight.com

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

 

10 Best Values in Used Cars

Good news for used-car buyers: Desirable trade-ins and vehicles at the end of their lease, especially luxury models — are streaming onto the used-car market, and that means more choices at lower prices.

Ten vehicles were chosen between three and four years old that not only were tops in Kiplinger’s rankings for performance, value, and safety when they were new – but also get good marks for reliability.

These vehicles have automatic transmissions, unless noted otherwise, and all have standard stability control and front, front-side and head-protecting airbags. Dealer, private-party and certified prices are averages based on actual transactions reported by Kelley Blue Book for previously owned vehicles with 12,000 miles per year. Check them out!

  • 2011 Honda Civic
  • 2011 Toyota Prius
  • 2010 Subaru Legacy
  • 2011 Toyota Camry
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
  • 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2010 Lexus RX 350
  • 2010 Mazda CX-9
  • 2011 Acura MDX
  • 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe

Click here to learn more about each of these top 10 pre-owned vehicles.

If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, stop by First Financial and apply for an Auto Loan with us! We have the same great low rates whether you plan on purchasing a new or used vehicle. To apply, click here for our online application or stop into any branch location. PLUS, when you’re approved for a new Auto Loan of at least $15k you’ll receive a $100 Visa Gift Card for gas and an auto emergency kit!* Click here to learn more about other great rewards and benefits you could earn as a member of First Financial.

*Subject to credit approval. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. $100 Visa gift card and free auto gift will be issued upon loan closing. Refinances will have the option to receive the Visa gift card or participate in the 2% Challenge promotion. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Article courtesy of Kiplinger by Jessica L. Anderson.

Common Auto Loan Financing Misconceptions

AutoLoans“Don’t believe everything you hear.” How many times have you heard this when you were a kid? Well, everyone grows up and it’s time to actually listen to that little old saying, especially when it comes to buying a vehicle. There are tons of common myths and misconceptions out there, but what is the truth behind these myths? Find out the true answers to some of the most common car buying myths right here:

Myth #1  Auto dealers will always have the best loan rate & payment.

This isn’t always necessarily true. Credit unions and other financial institutions also offer competitive rates compared to dealerships. Those who are looking into buying a car should shop around and not only compare rates, but also compare restrictions, to find the best deal that fits their wants and needs.

Myth #2 Seeking multiple pre-approvals/loan offers will destroy your credit rating.

An individual’s credit score will not be affected negatively if seeking multiple offers. The analysis will have to be made within a certain time period of 14 days. However, keep in mind while shopping around this may cause multiple creditors to request a consumer’s credit report.

Myth #3  Auto loan refinancing is expensive.

It’s actually the opposite. Refinancing can drastically reduce your monthly payments and is an option you should consider. Have you stopped into your local First Financial branch location to see how much we may be able to save you each month by refinancing your car loan? Or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4.

Myth #4 Refinancing isn’t an option on an auto loan.

Most people know that refinancing an auto loan can provide the same benefits as refinancing a home loan. They both can save you a lot of money by lowering the monthly payment or interest rate. Many may not know that refinancing an auto loan is actually much easier than refinancing a home loan. You might want to consider refinancing if your current car loan interest rate is above 6 percent, doing so could save you hundreds of dollars each year if you are approved!

Myth #5 Consumers think that even though Credit Unions have better rates – that you have to have perfect credit to get them, or be part of a union or work at a certain company to get them.

You do have to be a member of a Credit Union to get the Credit Union’s rates, and the rate you qualify for is based on your credit worthiness. However, most people do not realize just how easy it is to join a Credit Union these days, and that Credit Unions will at least try to work with you and help you get on the right track to a better financial standing if you aren’t currently. The majority of Credit Unions how have community charters – where you simply need to live, work, worship, or attend school in a certain area in order to become a member of that particular Credit Union. That’s certainly the case at First Financial – to join $5 in a Base Savings Account is needed at all times, and you must live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey. Plus, once you are a member – your immediate family can join too!

Here at First Financial, Enterprise Car Sales and First Financial are able to offer First Financial Members monthly deals on used vehicle purchases through Enterprise. Get started by getting preapproved by First Financial and search for certified used cars online with Enterprise Car Sales. 

As always, First Financial offers great low rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  If you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly auto loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot. We also provide a free auto buying and research tool, AutoSMART – a great place to find new and used vehicles!

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Things to Consider Before Signing Up for Zero% at the Dealership

zero%Zero percent financing is something you’ve probably heard before, however, before you sign on the dotted line, here are some things to consider…

What is really your best deal? Undoubtedly you’ve heard about “zero percent financing” offers that many auto dealers like to promote. Although they seem to be incredible deals, and are certainly tempting, you should read the fine print and know the facts before you head to your local dealer.

To help you decide if zero percent (or a low “teaser” rate) is the best deal for you, here are a few facts and restrictions you may encounter:

  • Almost perfect credit may be needed in order to qualify for these offers.
  • You may be required to give up a manufacturer’s rebate.
  • It could mean shorter terms and larger monthly payments.
  • It is usually offered on a limited number of models.
  • You may be limited to dealer stock and not be able to choose the exact vehicle you are interested in.

Research, research, research! By using our free available research tools such as AutoSMART & Autocalcubot loan calculator, you will be better equipped when you finally make that trip to the dealership. You may find that giving up that zero percent financing for a manufacturer’s rebate will save you more money.

And finally…Read any contract carefully before signing it. Ask questions about anything you do not understand and don’t feel pressured into making a decision right then and there.

Happy shopping!

What to Consider When Buying a Car for Your Teen

teen-driverParents spend years teaching their children the art of how to talk, how to walk, how to tie their shoes, how to ride a bike, and much, much more. As a parent, you’re overjoyed with each momentous milestone that passes. But with each step your child takes toward independence, you become keenly aware that you’re no longer able to protect them at every moment (and also that they’re growing up way too fast)!

The day your child gets their driver’s license and you send them off on their first solo drive, you may be tempted to trail behind from a safe distance just to make sure they arrive at their destination safely. Eventually though, you’ll relinquish control and trust that you’ve raised a responsible young adult who’ll behave accordingly behind the wheel, even in your absence. If you’ve taken that leap and now want to buy your teen a car, here are some things to ease your mind that they’re protected even without you there to hold their hand.

Should I buy a new or a used car? Ultimately, whether you buy new or used will boil down to your personal preference and how much money you’re willing to spend, but both have their advantages.

First Financial has great low Auto Loan rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  You can view our current rates by clicking here.

A new car’s quality isn’t in question – it hasn’t been in any accidents and has no hidden flaws that a previous owner might’ve tried to disguise. Additionally, manufacturer’s warranties come standard on new vehicles, covering the car for at least three years. And New Jersey has a Lemon Law, which protects consumers if an authorized dealer is unable to repair or service the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts.

Cars are built to last longer so a bit of mileage on the odometer need not be a deterrent or intimidating factor either. Used cars are a good option if you’re looking for more “bang for your buck.” It may not come equipped with the latest technology or gadgets, but will likely have a lot of the same features as a new car for less money. (The availability of fewer in-car distractions for an inexperienced driver isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either). An added bonus of purchasing a used car is they tend to be less expensive to insure.

Credit union members can enroll in Credit Union Auto Club, Love My Credit Union Reward’s newest discount program, which provides credit union members across the country with a wide range of roadside assistance services and other benefits at a significant savings compared to competing auto club plans. Click here to learn more and to sign-up today!

What are the best cars for the money? If value is a top priority, U.S. News and World Report publishes an annual list of the vehicles it has awarded “Best Cars for the Money.” Judging criteria include the average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership data, expert opinion on the car’s performance, interior features and comfort, and reliability and safety data.

What are the safest cars to drive? Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates vehicles based on how well they protect their occupants in a collision. The vehicles are rated good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on how they perform in five crash tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, rollover and rear. The highest designation that can be awarded is Top Safety Pick+. These cars deserve extra consideration because, in addition to protecting your precious cargo, insurance companies will often offer discounts for car safety features.

Insurance costs. One thing many people forget to consider when purchasing a car is how much it will cost to insure. Young drivers generally have higher premiums because their inexperience can cause them to be labeled as high risk. Used cars tend to be less expensive to insure so purchasing one is a way to reduce your teen’s insurance premium. Mercury Insurance also offers good student discounts in New Jersey to unmarried high school and college students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, which can further reduce the insurance premium.

Once you’ve decided which vehicle to buy, emphasize to your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and to do it responsibly.

Did you know that as a First Financial member – you may be eligible for a discount on auto insurance through Liberty Mutual? Click here to get started.*

If you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly auto loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot. We also provide a free auto buying and research tool, AutoSMART — a great place to find new and used vehicles!

Remember, we’re here to help and with our First Time Auto Buyers Program we can offer an additional .25% APR rate reduction for qualifying members who are looking to purchase their first vehicle. If first time buyers don’t meet the criteria but still qualify for a First Financial Auto Loan, they will receive a $100 gas card – a win-win!**

Click here to view the article source written by Maryann Gowen, an independent insurance agent serving Wall, NJ.

*Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. The descriptions of coverages are necessarily brief and are subject to policy provisions, limitations and exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. Discounts and coverages vary by state and are not available in all states. For a complete explanation of coverages, please consult a sales representative. The TruStage™ Auto Insurance Program is provided and underwritten by leading insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.  A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverages and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit and is not federally insured. This coverage is not sold or guaranteed by your credit union. First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361. **Subject to credit approval. Your credit worthiness determines your APR. Not all applicants will qualify.

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5 Reasons to Shop at a Credit Union for Car Loans

car-loansWhen you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’re probably thinking about financing the vehicle. While dealerships make their own financing programs sound especially attractive, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best auto loan rates—starting with local credit unions, like First Financial.

Mike Schenck, Senior Economist for The Credit Union National Association, says there are several reasons why you’ll be better off choosing a credit union over a commercial bank. Here are five of them:

1. You have a better chance of having your loan approved. If you have mediocre credit or have had credit problems in the past, a credit union might be “more likely to listen to your story than a commercial bank,” says Schenck. If you’re worried you might get turned down for a car loan because of your credit history, consider approaching a credit union before you talk to a lender at a commercial bank. Even though the loan application process is the same and the underwriting process is similar, the credit union may make some adjustments that a commercial bank would not. Many credit unions are more inclined to listen to its members’ needs and unique situations—sometimes adjusting terms of a loan accordingly.

2. Lower rates. A five-year term is the most common loan term for a new or used car, and rates at a credit union are typically much lower than the average rate at a competitor bank. According to the latest report from the market research firm Informa, the average rate on a new car loan of $30,000 from a commercial bank is 4.16 percent, while the average rate on a new car loan for the same amount from a credit union is 2.82 percent; that’s more than a 1.3 percent difference and equates to a difference of $215 a year, or $1,100 over the life of the loan.

3. Personalized service. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations and work to provide members with high-quality customer service. Since operations decisions are made by a group of volunteer board members—rather than a group of stockholders—members tend to have a more personable experience at a credit union. You can openly discuss your concerns about your loan, talk about flexible repayment options and review your financial situation with a dedicated professional. This can alleviate some of the pressure of applying and securing financing for your new or used vehicle and you can be more confident that the credit union is working with your best interests in mind.

4. Educational resources readily available. Schenck explains that almost all credit union branches have a dedicated education and resource center, where members can learn more about financing options and how to make the best decisions when assessing the value of their car purchase. If you’re a first-time car buyer and apprehensive about the loan process, you can turn to a credit union for unbiased answers. “The branch can show you how to calculate the real value of your car—not just what the dealership declares as the value of the vehicle— and make a better decision about the deal,” says Schenck.

5. Non-sales approach. Unlike commercial banks, which often grant their lenders bonuses or some type of compensation for the loans they get approved, credit unions work for their members and aren’t driven to sell you anything that equates to extra money in their pocket. All profits from members end up going back to them in the form of better rates on other financial products, such as savings accounts, and more flexible loan options. If you don’t like the pressure of working with lenders from a commercial bank, consider heading to a credit union for a less sales-oriented approach—and potentially rewards in the form of better financial products and services.

First Financial’s goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability, thus enriching the quality of our members’ lifestyles. Apply for a new or used auto loan right online – it’s quick, easy and secure! For additional questions, feel free to call us at 866.750.0100, e-mail us at info@firstffcu.com or stop in to see at any one of our branches.

Click here to view the article source.

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