From A Car I Hated Paying for, to a Car I Love

3 years ago, I did everything wrong:

I thought I had to get a GM car in order to get out of a GM lease early. I had moved for work and started a commute that was 4x as long. 

I was a payment shopper for a Buick that I did not really want. I ended up unknowingly rolling over $800 in negative equity and buying $5,500 in GAP, VSC and protection plans with a 3.5% interest rate. Last year it was worth less than $19k on KBB leaving me $7k underwater. 

Last week I purchased a CX-5 Carbon Turbo AWD. A more reliable car that drives so much better than my Buick. Even though it is a bad time to buy, I used everything I learned from YAA and feel great about my decision. 

Negotiating the out the door price did not prove too fruitful as I was left with MSRP, but I saw the invoice and I commented on floor plan, hold back, advertising assistance, etc. but got nowhere. However, every other car they sold was getting $1,250 markup for dealer window tint and PPF that I was able to negotiate off before it was installed. Based on what I have seen through YAA on other invoices, I feel MSRP on Mazda leaves a lot less profit and looking on YAA at the past incentives Mazda does not not offer cx-5 cash back too often even if it was not a pandemic. 

Now the trade, armed with CarMax ($22,600), Carvana ($20,312), and Vroom ($22,782) quotes, they offered $20,000 for my car. I got them up to $22,000.  With the tax advantage, I got $200 more then CarMax. 

I canceled my service contracts and GAP on my trade for a (pending) $2,200 refund and put that towards my down payment. 

I financed through the dealer asking the F&I manager if they got flat fees and there was no markup on the buy rate. They beat my CU by .15%. Skipped the $800 GAP that they said was required and was already discounted from $1,000. I did get the windshield coverage (5 year, $0 deductible, unlimited repair/replacement) down $300 to a still ridiculous $800 but I have repaired my other windshield 6 times and replaced it twice in 3 years/50k mi. Replacement is quoted at $800 for the Mazda and insurance deductible is $500 with an inevitable premium increase, so it was worth it to me. 

I got a lot more for my trade then I think it was worth, I got a lot of money back from my trade's service contracts, and I got a lot of car for $33k. The Mazda is more powerful, shifts better, is AWD and has more safety features then the $37k Buick had. I felt in control, I asked questions along the way and I actually know what I paid for thanks to YAA and I feel great about it. 
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Has anyone had experience with RoadVantage? The dealer sent me home with pamphlets that appear to be made by a 5th grader and I am not finding a lot of reviews online. This is for windshield coverage - supposedly they cover replacement which is huge for me because it saves an insurance claim. 

Just walked but learned something...

So happy to have YAA tools, but I learned something while trying to buy and trade in a car. I had given the sales manager my payoff, but they sales person came back and said they needed to call the bank to get the payoff directly from them. The sales person called my bank in front of me and wrote down the information and asked me to sign off on it. Two interesting things, they needed a 20 day payoff (not that interesting) but they wrote down the previous dealers buy rate (1.69% vs my 3.25%). For the upcoming payment, in 10 day, they would actually pay less interest! 
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Feeling Bad for Mazda Dealers...

I just watched this video and now I feel really bad for my Mazda dealer and someone needs to snap me out of it before I try to buy a CX-5!

MSRP is 3% over invoice, holdback is 1%, and advertising assistance is 2.5%. Please tell me there is more profit here, because with these numbers the carbon turbo I am looking at is only $2,000 profit for them and I think that is perfectly fair.
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New Dealer/ Is a Refundable Deposit Real

The only reason I am considering a new car is because my current car is actually worth something in this crazy used car market. However, I am not sure how long that will last given the recent downward trend. 

Here is the situation: A 4 month old Mazda dealership has extremely limited inventory and claims they can only get cars allocated if they have a deposit which is refundable. They say they are selling at MSRP, no markup. It could be 6 weeks before they get the car I want in. Is this a real thing?

Is it a horrible idea to put a refundable deposit down? Is a refundable deposit really refundable? 

I don't want an OTD deal to be binding because I would not want the car if my trade becomes worth 15% less in the next 6 weeks.

Any particular leverage with a newly opened dealership?  

Trade with Extended Warranty

I am looking at a new car and I plan to trade in my existing. My question is what do I do with my existing service contract and when? 

I am 3 years, 47,000 miles in. I (way over) paid $3,139 for 84mo/100,000mi.

My understanding is that it is not worth anything at the trade, and it will take some effort to get a pro rata refund. 

My understanding is that if I cancel before the trade, the money goes to the bank. After the trade I get a check. 

The contract is cancellable for a $75 fee. Is this even worth the effort?