By now, you’ve realized that buying a used car is almost always smarter than buying a new car. Here’s more information on the best time to buy.

By now, you’ve likely realized that buying a used car is almost always smarter than buying a brand new car. But what you might not know is some dates are better than others to test drive a new-to-you ride. Promotional deals, seasonal sales, and consumer trends can all play a role in what benefits you’ll get when buying a used car.

If you know a vehicle upgrade is in your future, you may want to bide your time. Consider hitting one of these dates for little-known savings and perks:

Black Friday

When most people think of bargains the day after Thanksgiving, they envision appliances, jewelry, winter gear, and shiny new TVs. Local car dealerships, however, love to get in on the celebration by offering up their own deep discounts. In fact, a recent iSeeCars.com report claimed Black Friday is more than a good time to buy—it’s the best.

When Demand Wanes

Shopping for a convertible? Consider poking around for a good deal in winter. Off-season sales may be more readily available when demand is low. Other ideas could include nabbing a four-wheel-drive SUV in June, or a motorcycle in January. You may have to wait for the weather to change to enjoy your fun new ride, but at least you’ll know you beat the crowds.

Another factor you can use to your advantage is consumer perception. On Jan. 1, every model becomes a year older, so most people view them as a little less desirable. Really, though, how much has the transition changed those vehicles? Buying a used vehicle in the early weeks of January is a great way to celebrate its birthday at a bargain.

Tax Season

Taxes are usually nothing to get excited about, but refund season can be fun. There’s nothing quite like getting that check in the mail and deciding what to do with it. If you’ve had your eye on a used car, now could be the best time to get serious about it. Your refund might be the perfect amount for a down payment.

Before Tax Season

Using your refund to pay your down payment is a great idea, but it means you’d have to wait—sometimes weeks after you file your taxes. What if you could get it months before usual? The Tax Max program is a smart way to have your taxes filed by a professional and get your refund amount applied toward a used car—immediately. Yes, simply arrive with your W-2 and leave in a car. When issued, your refund goes straight toward your vehicle’s down payment, so you don’t need to hassle with the calculations.

After You’ve Reviewed Your Budget

None of the above opportunities is the right move if you haven’t first reviewed your own budget. This sales event is subjective since every person’s situation is different. It could land on a day in February for you, but your neighbor may need to wait until May. In other words, it’s your own ability to manage money at a given time that best indicates a good time to buy a used car. And to decipher that, look no further than your own budget. Have you been staying ahead of regular bills? What about surprise expenses? If you want to know the worst time to buy a used car, look for warning signs in your own financial life.

Get a jump on the crowds and get your new vehicle by choosing one of these smart times to buy. When your friends are battling the crowds, you’ll be offering them a lift in your enviable ride.

Bethany Johnson

About the AuthorBethany Johnson, Contributor

Meet Bethany Johnson, pop-culture and modern corporate reporter. Before the days of SEO, Bethany was immersed in the professional snowboarding industry. Through sponsorships, interviews, press releases, and public conduct, she promoted gear, brands and concepts. In 2007, Bethany went to the National Championships and won a bronze medal (3rd place) in the SnowboardCross event.  Coming out of the world of professional snowboarding, she chose the office of a private investigator on Capitol Hill.  There, she says her hunger for a good story only grew.   Like many milennials, Bethany is industry certified in (seemingly) random things: Oracle 11g SQL, snowboarding movement analysis, Microsoft Access database systems, and pet therapy.  For years, corporate clients like Tom's of Maine and Purina have relied on her to generate buzz on their sites.  Media consumption for media consumption's sake is finally history. So get to clicking, and enjoy.