08/15/2012 09:26 am ET Updated Oct 15, 2012

How to Be Fearless When Shopping for a Car

You may or may not be surprised to know the wide variety of issues people see me for. Among the most popular lately are big life changes -- for instance, getting married or making a major purchase such as a car or home. Although these are generally very positive things, they can be quite stressful.

When people make a big purchase such as a car, there's uncertainty -- at least a little bit. Questions such as these might run through a buyer's mind: "Am I buying the right car for my needs? Am I getting the best price? Can I afford this? Will I be able to walk away from a pushy salesperson? Is the salesperson pulling a fast one on me? Am I informed enough to make a good decision?"

The aforementioned introduce doubt and can destabilize a person's otherwise confident thinking. Theoretically, asking ourselves such questions ultimately leads to making a better decision. Problem is, though, people sometimes get stuck in this anxious mode of thinking, ruminate too long, and never act on the decision. This uncertainty leads them to feel fearful of outcomes they think they have no control over.

The tips below will free you of this uncertain thinking and help you be a fearless car buyer:

  • Educate yourself on cars and know what you want and need in a new one.
  • Know your budget and stick to it.
  • See your trip to the showroom as an opportunity to get your best price.
  • Be aware that the salesperson may appeal to your emotions by suggesting things such as "SUVs are safer than cars," or "You'll look great in a convertible with leather seats."
  • Research what the dealer pays for the car as compared to the sale price.
  • Let the salesperson suggest the price first.
  • Remember that you're under no obligation to buy, even if you've taken the car out for a few hours.
  • Be prepared to walk away guilt-free.
  • Sleep on any decision to buy or not, and reevaluate in the morning.

For more by Jonathan Alpert, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.