Money Saving Moment:  What a difference a year makes. Just  a year ago I was talking about the price war between luxury car makers, creating some serious deals in that class of car.

But where are the deals happening now? Without a doubt, it''s the midsize market.

Toyota's midsize stalwart, the Camry, a market leader for years, has been slipping as bit in sales. So they are slashing prices. This is creating a real opportunity for you if you're considering buying new over the next few weeks. And the other midsize makers are following suit, so you should also be seeing deals on Honda Accords, Nissan Altimas and more.

But if you're going to benefit from this, do it in the right order.

First, if you're not paying cash, get your financing in order. If you belong to a credit union, start there. Failing that, check out the rates from online banks, and even some auto insurers, some of whom are offering loans under 2%. You'll get the best rate on a car loan at these places. If you insist on going to a traditional bank, start with community banks before the big banks. Either of these choices will save you big money over getting your loan at the dealership!

Once you've secured financing, do your homework online. Check websites, email car-buying specialists, look at warehouse club deals, etc.  Compare prices on similarly-equipped cars to get an idea of the true market value of your desired purchase. Then call the dealership and negotiate the deal over the phone before you set foot on the property. If you want to save money, do not ever attempt to negotiate in person at the dealership--more likely than not, if you do that you're going to end up paying way too much.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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