It doesn’t matter what type of car you are buying, whether it is new or used, Japanese or German, you should know the tricks of the trade so that you avoid losing money and valuable time. So I’ll begin, even if you want to pay cash for the vehicle, you should make sure that the dealership or the dealer do not know that you want to until after you sign for the vehicle. This is because the dealer can make a lot of profit from financing and therefore in trying to make a deal they will be willing to give you a lower price in they think they can simply make the money back later through how you are going to finance the car.
You should never shop on a weekend or on weeknights, it is simple economics that if the cars are in high demand they are easier to sell for more money so you want to go at the absolute worst (well best) times to look at cars when there are very few customers and the dealership is eager to move some product. Do not concern yourself with the monthly payment; the real issue is the overall price of the vehicle. One of the issues with a monthly payment is that the vehicle can end up costing far more just so that it can cost less each month, if your finances are so poor that you can’t deal with monthly payments than you probably need to be looking at a less expensive vehicle.
You shouldn’t be too interested in getting rid of your current one, wait until after you have negotiated a deal on the car you want to buy before you start talking about getting rid of your older one. Basically you don’t want to make the determination of how much you should pay more complicated, if there are extra factors that weigh in on the price than there are more things that the salesman or woman can screw you over on. More importantly you don’t want your focus to be taken off of getting a better deal on the car you are buying just because you are getting a “one time only deal” on your trade in.
Don’t fall for any no-haggle pricing; the point of it is just to say that you are going to walk into the dealership and pay the full price or full MSRP of the vehicle and that they aren’t going to let you argue with them over the price of the vehicle. No haggle pricing only benefits the dealership because they can sell vehicles for more money in less time. You should always try to get the salesperson to like you; if you are friendly they are in general friendlier back and less aggressive with negotiations. Finally, remember that you have the power… you can always just stand up and walk away if they are being too tough on negotiations or won’t budge on pricing. This is the end all negotiating tool of the customer because if you walk away their time is wasted and they have only lost money, so they will often make amends with you to try and keep you from leaving.