Buying a Cheap Car

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Saving money when buying a car is not an easy goal to accomplish. Dealerships and car manufacturers are geared toward upselling and increasing their profits. Buying a used car from an individual can be nerve-wracking, too. Don't get discouraged—just get prepared with a few easy steps.

Why Buy a Cheap Car?

Buying a cheap car doesn't mean it's a bad car, and there are a lot of inexpensive cars with good options that didn't used to exist. Today's low-end car, once considered cheap, could very easily have power locks and power windows that come standard. A used car full of dings, dents, or other cosmetic problems can be discounted because of its looks, but still have several thousand miles of life left in it.

Make sure to keep your first priority in mind: spending the least amount of money possible, plus getting good value at a low price within your budget. This will help direct your attention and narrow your choices.

Shopping for Cheap Used Cars

Buying a used car is a great way to save money. There is a very wide range of used cars available, from refurbished certified pre-owned vehicles to old clunkers that are one step away from the junkyard.

When looking for a deal on a used car, make sure you include getting an expert's point of view, even if it costs a little extra. This will help you avoid buying a car with mechanical problems in need of costly repairs.

You should also plan to purchase a vehicle history report for any used car you are considering. This step helps you know whether the car was in any accidents that could impact its value.

Beware of Extra Costs

Whether you're trying to spend as little as possible or just working within a very specific budget, make sure you plan out the extra costs of owning a car. Here are a couple of the bigger expenses to think about:

  • Have you gotten a car insurance quote before buying so you know how much you'll pay every month?
  • Do you understand the cost of maintenance, especially on an older car?
  • Are there any cosmetic issues that you'll need to have repaired?
  • Does your car require a specific kind of gas or oil to continue running well?

You should also think about how you plan to use the car. If you're going to drive a lot, reliability and gas mileage are going to be very important.

One last tip: don't get distracted by add-ons and options. This is where a $13,000 car suddenly becomes a $16,000 car.

There are good deals out there. Just arm yourself with patience, stay focused on your needs and budget, and don't be afraid to negotiate.

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