The Best Buys in a Bad Economy

By Constance Gustke

The silver lining to the financial crisis? Prices are plummeting, and there's never been a better time to buy some of the big-ticket items your family needs.

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Photo by iStock Photo

The Deal: A New Car

Why Now?
As automakers retrench, they're discontinuing certain makes and models of cars. Discounts on those cars can be considerable, says Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at Truecar.com. For example, you can get Pontiac and Saturn vehicles for at least 20 percent off the sticker price. And because all automakers continue to have trouble moving inventory, even popular models can be cheaper right now.

How to Get the Most for Your Money
Nab incentives and rebates. For example, Hyundai is offering rebates of up to $3,000 depending on the model. Right now GM is extending 0 percent financing for four years on select models and up to six years for Pontiacs; Ford is offering 0 percent financing and up to $1,000 cash back. Check out Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) for incentive and rebate data. You should also take tax breaks before it's too late. Most taxpayers can deduct 2009 state and local sales tax and excise tax on new car purchases, courtesy of the stimulus program. This amounts to a few thousand dollars of deductions for the typical family buying a $30,000 car. Go to irs.gov for more information.


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