So the research is done, the model is selected, the colors are features are chosen, and it's time to purchase a new car. All that's left is to go to the dealership and actually do it.

Now comes the negotiation. If you're like me, this is the worst part. I would make a terrible saleswoman, lawyer, or anything where I must look at someone and negotiate. I'm great with words on paper, but in real life, I'm a pleaser who just wants to finish up, go home, and have everyone like me and be happy with our interaction.

The last time I bought a car was from my father in law, and even he laughed at me. Easygoing probably equaled easy mark in his book, and the only reason he didn't take total advantage was because I hold the gate key to his grandchildren.

If you're like this (and it's not a male/female thing - there are women who are amazingly tough customers and men who are probably worse than I am), you don't have to panic when it comes down to this part of the purchase process. There's no rule that you can't have a ringer with you.

In my case, it's my (now retired) father in law. Even though my husband is a tough negotiator, he knows that I weaken the arguments by being so eager to please. So, we decided that I'd take the backseat for the final phase (no pun intended) and my father in law will step in and sit with my husband as the final purchase is worked out.

He told us it's not uncommon, and actually really smart. Having someone emotionally unattached to the purchase can provide clarity. This isn't their purchase, so they aren't afraid to ask the "stupid" questions. They can be objective and have an eye for the details you may overlook.

When we're sitting down and signing the papers, it'll be my husband and my father in law in those first two chairs. I know my weakness, so once I'm happy with my model and color and feature choices, I'll be stepping back, staying quiet, and only signing what I need to, confident that between those two, I'll be getting the best deal possible.

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