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Buy a Car at Fire-Sale Prices

Buy last year's model: Many car companies ship their 2009 models to dealers in the early fall. Since sales have been weak this year, dealers are still carrying a lot of 2008 stock. Who would pay the same price for a 2008 model when a shiny new 2009 model is sitting right next to it? That leaves dealers eager to unload whatever 2008 stock they have left, and leaves you in a good position to negotiate a good deal.

Buy used: Even better than targeting last year's models, why not buy used? Low prices for new cars means lower prices for used cars as well. Although the price of a used, fuel-efficient Toyota Corolla may not drop as far as a used Chevy Suburban, used cars have the potential to be great deals. Most car-search Web sites are good for finding both new and used cars. Also check Kelley Blue Book to make sure you understand price ranges.

Peter McDougall is a freelance writer who lives in Freeport, Maine, with his wife and their dog.
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