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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: tiger002 on May 21, 2015, 03:26:59 PM

Title: Looking to buy a car
Post by: tiger002 on May 21, 2015, 03:26:59 PM
Hello MMM community. I've been lurking here about a month, and have really been inspired by some of the posts here showing that FIRE is possible at a much younger age than I would have thought, but that's a bit of a longer term focus than my current situation.

Anyway, I plan to buy a new (new to me, not brand new) car in a few weeks, and wanted some general advice.

I want something that will be reliable, so I was looking to get a car 2-3 years old. Good gas mileage is a plus of course, and I'm also looking for something that can handle snow fairly well, though snow tires I've heard could make that easier. I'm leaning toward a compact car, though preferably something a little bigger than the Dodge Stratus I currently own. I plan to drive it about 25 miles to work/school each day. I have a little over 10k saved, so want to use that to pay for the car so I don't have to borrow anything.

My dad owns an auto shop, so he'll be able to give me a lot of guidance, but he isn't as frugal as the people here, so I thought it'd be good to get some opinions here. He's suggested getting a car at an auction as he's gotten a lot of cars there to fix up and sell at a profit there, which I'm leaning toward, but I'm also considering buying from a conventional dealer.

A little bit about me to give you more context.

Age: 24
Current Occupation: Grad Student/Research Assistant for the school.
Current income: 550 a week (net), so about 2200 a month.

I'm going to be graduating in the middle of June, so that job will stop, but have a job lined up that should start near the end of June. That job will pay about 1325 a week (gross...not sure what net will be), and assuming everything goes right I won't be without pay for more than a week.

I currently live with my mom so my expenses are very low, between rent and everything, probably less than 800 a month. I do plan to get my own place before too long, but that's a topic for another post. I do have about 12k in student loans, but my new job will take those over as soon as I start working there (that was a very nice incentive to work there).

So, I guess my main questions are if there are any types of cars you'd recommend, or if there is any advice for buying from a dealer or auction, or I guess any advice in general you may have.

Thanks for taking the time to read and any advice you have.
Title: Re: Looking to buy a car
Post by: sisto on May 21, 2015, 04:31:21 PM
I would not consider a Stratus a compact car and you say you want it to be bigger than the Stratus and get good gas mileage. That seems like a very tall order. Personally, I'd recommend a Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra, but I don't know if you will find either big enough.
Title: Re: Looking to buy a car
Post by: alsoknownasDean on May 21, 2015, 04:40:28 PM
Would you consider going a few years older? Surely you'll find something good in the 2008-10 era?

Aside from that, most Japanese compact cars have a pretty good rep. Modern day Hyundais and Kias are pretty good cars too.
Title: Re: Looking to buy a car
Post by: tiger002 on May 21, 2015, 09:12:29 PM
@Sisto Thanks for pointing out the Corolla and Sentra, I'll be sure to look into those.

@alsoknownasDean Yeah, a few years older is fine, and it might work better that way. I just don't want something where I'll need to worry about maintenance right away. From what I've seen Japenese cars to tend to have good reputations, I've come across Hyundais a few times when looking at what people thought.
Title: Re: Looking to buy a car
Post by: TaxChick on May 21, 2015, 09:20:21 PM
My mechanic  has a dealer's license. He was in Chicago at an auto auction and found a really great car for me in February.  He was also able to sell me a warranty on the car up to 100,000 miles.  Three months in, I have no regrets. It saved me several thousand dollars off the dealership price for the same car. It is definitely worth considering purchasing a car this way.

As for cars, you might consider an older model Honda Accord. It would be more in line with the size of the Stratus.
Title: Re: Looking to buy a car
Post by: Pooja Sharma on May 22, 2015, 06:35:51 AM
You should try Craiglist, it's the best place to find buyer/seller of any damn thing on planet Earth.