My Car Shopping Experience + Tips!

These past few weeks have been a blast, especially since I purchased my first big girl purchase – my Volvo S60 T5 Momentum that I named Daisy! Daisy and I have been cruising around town ever since I purchased her, from a road trip to Charlottesville, Virginia to a bunch of drives of I-495 to my office about 45 minutes away from my house and *of course* to my nearby Metro station (Washington, DC’s subway transit system) to go into downtown Washington, DC. If you follow me on Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee), then you have probably seen a peak into my adventures since purchasing Daisy. What people don’t know about my pre-purchasing journey to getting Daisy is that it took me around 6 months to make a car purchase. So, today, I will be sharing ALL the details into my car shopping process, what I learned, and tips – especially in this tough tough tough-to-buy current car market.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through one of my links, then I will receive a small commission. This commission is at no extra cost to you. Additionally, this post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own.*

So flashback to October 2021 and I went on my first-ever car shopping experience. My Papa and I went to a local Honda dealership to test drive some Honda’s. Initially, I wanted to go for an SUV and my two car models that I kept looking at were the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV-4. However, when Papa and I got to the dealership, I fell in love with a Sedan Honda model known as the Honda Insight. I loved loved loved the Honda Insight’s huge truck and its small, adorable look. Unfortunately, when we went to the Honda dealership, I wasn’t even able to test drive a car due to the lack of inventory and supply chain issues that still persist to this day (aka April 2022). I did, however, get to sit in that adorable 2022 Honda Insight! Even *yes, even* the car salesmen at the dealership were discouraged by the current supply chain issues. Papa and I left the dealership empty-handed and discouraged.

In October 2021, I was driving a family car which I shared with my step-siblings while they were away at college. I decided then to continue to drive my family car for the time being. I felt hopeless with the idea of purchasing a new car at that time and didn’t want to deal with that tough tough market. On the same token, car prices were skyrocketing. There was little room for negotiation and the prices seen on a car’s sticker at the dealership was the price that you would buy the car for. There was barely ANY room for negotiation or even wiggle room. You were indeed lucky if a couple hundred dollars or less was taken of the price of your new car. So, given these current car market failures and struggles, I felt fearful to even think about starting to buy a car. So, I decided to take a break from the car search.

Initially, for the time being, I decided to focus on a Honda and only a Honda to purchase. BUT, that all changed in March 2022 – a flash-forward y’all – when I started the car shopping process yet again. This time, my Mom and I went back to the same Honda dealership and got to test drive the Honda Accord (Honda Insight’s were REALLY hard to come by then even for a test drive). So, we can all assume that the car market’s supply chain issues persisted into March 2022 and still persist today. The test driving experience was super strange – we only drove a whopping 3 laps around the parking lot. That being said, we left the car dealership and went to another Honda dealership nearby. We test drove the Honda Civic and Honda Insight even on the highway and left empty-handed. I, then, went onto TruCar and started searching for Honda Accord’s since I enjoyed the Honda Accord even with the whopping 3 laps around the parking lot test drive of mine and got price quotes, BUT the prices were sky-high upwards of $40,000 for a new car. $40,000 was definitely out of reach for me when buying a brand-new car. The car prices for the Honda Civic and Honda Insight were ridiculously high, especially for the used models that I test drove yet didn’t fall in love with.

Later that week, my Mom and I started looking into used Volvo’s. For some context, my Mom purchased a used Volvo a few years back and LOVES hers. I also love that sweet white Volvo of hers, too. She has the Volvo S60 T5 Momentum 2017 or 2016. I looked online at cars that were used Volvo’s from 2019 or 2020. It was then that I found an adorable white Volvo S60 T5 Momentum 2019 at a nearby dealership that had been sitting at the lot for over 2 months. I ended up calling the dealership to test drive this car, not even thinking much except that I’ll test drive this car and see if I even like the idea of purchasing a Volvo. Well, when Papa and I showed up at the dealership to test drive this car, I fell head over heels with it. I found the test drive – which was on the highway and through windy roads – to be a great test drive and better than those of my Honda test drives. I sat on the idea of buying this car for a few days, but I knew that I would probably try to pursue purchasing it. A few days later, Papa test drove the car. Then, later that day, Papa and I went back and bought the car! That car is Daisy!!

Papa and I also had a great time at the dealership, too, the other dealerships we went to were trying to force a sale, unlike this dealership that wanted us to get a car that was a good fit for us and also get to know their clients beyond their perspective sale. We even got a few hundred dollars off of the sale price, which was nice, and purchased an extended warranty package aka my biggest concern with purchasing my new car. Since then, I have really enjoyed my brand-new white car. I have always wanted a white car and a week before purchasing my friends made fun of me for wanting a white car – HAHA!!

Car Shopping Tips

When car shopping and making that big, exciting purchase, make sure that you have ALL your ducks in a row when you do so. Trust me, there’s a lot of ducks that have to be put in a row when purchasing a brand-new (or used like myself) car. You want to make sure that you’re well-equipped both financially and safety-wise. These tips helped me when buying my car!

  • Get an auto insurance quote on the exact car model and/or VIN before purchasing it
  • Make sure you’re auto insured BEFORE you take your car off the lot
  • Choose an auto insurance company that you’re comfortable with using
  • Have a set budget in mind that you’re comfortable with (for both down payments and monthly payments)
  • If you don’t have much credit, consider having a cosigner on your car loan, to lower the interest rates
  • Shop around for auto loan interest rates to get the best rate for you
  • Make sure you test drive the exact model and year of the car you’re considering purchasing and DO NOT drive it for a whopping 3 laps around the parking lot before deciding that’s the one you’re going to buy
  • Be willing to negotiate on car purchases and perhaps bring someone who may be more experienced than yourself
  • Make sure your car has a decent warranty before purchasing it, even if that is an add-on purchase
  • Lastly, make sure that the car you purchase is the RIGHT CAR for YOU 🙂

In the meantime, I have linked the my outfit details below!

Happy car shopping/car shopping learning!!

XOXO – Katie <3

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