VIDEO: How To Drive a Good Car Bargain

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Looking to trade in that gas guzzler for a more efficient set of wheels? Then make sure to do your homework and take advantage of all the possible savings. Resist the Mercedes S550 (DAI) if you don’t have the budget to back it up, no matter how good you’d look behind the wheel. In this video, TheStreet.com’s Farnoosh Torabi reports that monthly payments shouldn’t be more than 20% of your salary, after taxes. Stick to that rule of thumb to avoid getting into disastrous debt, and opt for the Ford (F) over the Ferrari.

Students and drivers with good records should ask about possible discounts. Some good places to research cars and insurance options are websites such as edmunds.com, esurance.com and insure.com. And luxury additions aren’t the only negotiable items. Warranty details and maintenance packages are also flexible, so be prepared for when that Toyota (TM) salesman starts coming on strong and hold firm ground to the number you have set as your limit. Your dollars can stretch farther than you might expect.

Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.

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