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6 tips to save money as a frugal car buyer

The frugal car buyer
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Save $5,000 this year
By Jean Chatzky

The frugal car buyer
The frugal car buyer

Buying a car is one of life's biggest expenses, but there are plenty of ways to save money, and the benefits add up fast. You can save thousands of dollars over the life of your car by doing simple things such as thoroughly researching before you buy, finding the right insurance and diligently maintaining your car once you get it.

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The really hard part comes at the beginning: choosing the right car. Unless your job or your professional image depends on having fancy wheels, discipline yourself to separate your emotions from your buying decision. Don't buy fancy, and don't buy new.

You can save around $6,500 in the first five years after buying a used car instead of a comparable new one, according to car-buying site Edmunds.com. The longer you keep your car, the more you save money.

"Many people are very much into their cars. It becomes a major part of their identities," says Lars Perner, assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. "They end up spending a great deal of money."

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