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We Bought a Used Car

Just an update, we picked up a car Tuesday. After hunting for a car for a bit, we found a great deal on a well cared for used car. Buying a used car was the best way for us to go.

The new (to us) car is pretty much what my husband needed and included a lot of what he wanted.  In case you missed the list, here's what he was looking for:

  • Good Gas Mileage- Our last car had gotten over 30 mpg; this car lists 29mpg. the previous owner had the original papers with it written down.
  • Solid Reliability– We’re buying a used vehicle so we’re hoping to minimize the chance of repairs by focusing on highly rated vehicles.
  • Cheap (in Price) Parts – Toyotas usually have a reasonably priced parts based on what my mom had. We'll see how it compares to the Acura we had before.
  • Not Red– The car is white, so we're good in that department.

Why did with go with a used car from a private seller? Quite simply it was in our budget and we wanted to avoid getting a car loan.

Did you know that the average car loan being around $26,300 ? Comerica Bank frames it as almost half of an average person’s annual income. That $26,000 car has a monthly payment of around $464. We'd rather not getting a car loan especially when we've found a car that works for us.

A Car Fits That Our Needs

He also has a coupe and it does have manual transmission. He seems really happy with his pick and I'm glad I don't have to haul him around town. 🙂

The seller maintained the car well and had all the paperwork on the car, as in a box of paperwork. I believe that tipped the scale for my husband, as he felt that owner was more conscientious. I hope this car lasts for a bit and we can build up our car replacement fund again.

Buying a Used Car with Cash

For many of our friends, buying a car with cash isn't something that they've consider to be reasonable in their situations. I don't know their finances, so I won't second guess their decision. I will say that not having car loans has been beneficial for us for several reasons.

  • Smaller monthly expenses. Having a car payment is usually a big chunk on many people's budget. It was for us years ago and  remember the relief once we paid it off know that we had some breathing room in our monthly cash flow.
  • More freedom to allocate money. That few hundred dollars that we don't pay for the car loan has been reallocated for other goals. Yes, some of it is being redirected towards our car replacement fund, but it's also giving us a bit more fun money and charity money. The point is we can decide month to month what we want to do with it.
  • No more pressure to go to the dealership. Now that the car is paid for and isn't on a warranty, we don't have to take it to the dealership to get inspected. I don't have a problem with getting a repair done at the dealerships, but I've noticed that I'm strongly encourage to get more services done there that only they could handle. I've found a greta independent mechanic who has done a great job on my car and who has been consistently cheaper than the best dealership prices.

We're not the only ones living car loan free. One of my favorite blogs, No Credit Needed, has been tracking how they as a family have been debt free from cars for years. Based on their experience and others, we were inspired to start a car replacement fund.

If you’re looking for some more stories to help keep you focused, here are some of my favorites:

Thoughts on Buying Used Cars

How many of you purchased used cars? Have you've found them to be reliable?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

10 comments add your comment

  1. Yep, that’s our car! It look like an Integra, but it’s a Toyota Celica. I guess that’s why my husband liked it 🙂

  2. Congrats on the car and sounds like a solid car with some great mileage. I’ve personally been doing the Zip Car thing for a while, but probably should look into getting a quality used car where you can get some great deals…I think it’s the better way to go vs. buying a new car when you consider value…as long as you do your homework.

  3. @Kay: We’re happy with the car and so far it’s doing well.

    @Andrew: Thanks; doing the legwork and research is a must with buying a used car.