Car buying tips using the iPhone

Weakonomics had a post on the future of money, and it made me think about my recent car buying experience, and how different it would have been if I didn’t have the iPhone. Although I have written about car buying tips once earlier – I thought I’d write a post about my car buying experience specifically with respect to the iPhone.

The way I went about the whole exercise was to search cars around my area first. is a great place to do that online, and it has got an app too. So I downloaded the app, and used it on my iPhone to browse cars.

One thing I noticed about is that it doesn’t update as frequently as it should. You see several cars there which have already been sold, so it is always a good idea to call up the dealer and find out if something you liked is still available.

On the iPhone you can just tap the listed phone number, and it places the call for you. It saves you the trouble of keying in the numbers, and that was a big reason I used the app even when I had the computer handy (it is only now that I realize how lazy I have become).

If the car was still available – I usually used to make a note of it on Google Docs. I used to go online and update it from my phone itself.

Next up was figuring out the KBB value for which I used to go to their mobile site and although I am a little disappointed that they don’t have an app yet – the mobile site works fine too.

Once you get to the dealer’s – you see several cars that  you hadn’t checked out earlier, and it’s really useful to have the phone to go online and check the KBB value immediately.

On the app – there are a few tools and one of them calculates monthly payments for you, and I used that quite a bit to see how much each car would cost per month.

Finally, when I did buy the car – I forgot my insurance papers and was able to go online on the phone and check the insurance number from there itself.

I used the Chase app to check my bank balance a couple of times, used the GEICO app after I bought the car, but I didn’t use these apps as much as the others.

As I think about it – the phone changed my car buying experience quite a bit, and made it easy too, but in all honesty, I think I would have bought the same car even if I didn’t have the phone. It made the process easy, but it didn’t do anything that I couldn’t do without it. I don’t have any insights to offer into the future of money, but if you have a smart-phone that can make life easier for you in a lot of ways. If you don’t have one – then you are probably just missing out convenience and nothing more.

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