Understanding the different options available on a car and how those options are packaged together can be tricky even for an experienced car buyer.

This is one area that car salesmen across the board indicated could be used by consumers to get more bang for their buck. The bigger the package, the more savings on the car.

The best way to see if you are getting the best deal possible and not just being drawn in by all the flash of those shiny, sporty wheels and the four-wheel drive is to make a list beforehand of the items you can't live without.

Next, compare the cost of the car you want with just those must-have features versus the cost of the car with a package that may include the features you most want plus a few others. If the price is similar, it might be worth buying an upgraded package.

car salesman handing woman key to new car

No. 1: Dealer holdback

Edmunds.com defines dealer holdback as a "percentage of either the MSRP or invoice price of a new vehicle (depending on the manufacturer) that is repaid to the dealer by the manufacturer."

All of these incentives can hide the actual cost that a car dealer pays for the car. Even experienced consumers may have a hard time figuring out the actual cost the dealer paid for a vehicle. In addition to Edmunds.com's True Market Value, TrueCar is another service that is available to consumers to help determine the possible bottom line number.

According to company spokesperson Lisa Hendrickson, TrueCar.com is the only website that "guarantees a low price to the consumer and gives them a certificate that they can bring to the dealer so they don't have to haggle."

When you're looking to get the best deal possible, also consider the time of year. Remar Sutton, author of "Don't Get Taken Every Time," advises that Christmas is a good time to buy a new car.

"Most people's minds are on other things at Christmas time, and many dealerships' sales drop dramatically. Managers are more inclined to take small profits during this time." When a new model year is released, you can also buy the last year's models, although still brand new vehicles, at a reduced rate, Sutton said.

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