The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: cowboysgirlfriend on October 11, 2014, 05:09:40 PM

Title: Need a car
Post by: cowboysgirlfriend on October 11, 2014, 05:09:40 PM
I need to buy a car so I can travel to school in Seattle, as well as stop using the gas-guzzling work truck to do the grocery shopping. I'm struggling to understand what constitutes a good deal for a second-hand car here in the US.

I've been looking on Craigslist for a manual transmission car (it's what I'm used to and they seem to be cheaper) and I've also been keeping an eye out for a second-hand Prius. I have no idea about how a Prius runs, what it needs or how much more useful life I could expect to get from one that has already done 145k (http://bellingham.craigslist.org/cto/4698142604.html (http://bellingham.craigslist.org/cto/4698142604.html).

I'm not sure whether to go for something that is familiar to me, like a VW Jetta or Golf, or a Ford Focus, or whether I should go for a prius and put in more money upfront. I intend to drive the same car until it can go no further, so it will need to accommodate kids in the future. Fuel economy is key.

I'd appreciate your thoughts, fellow mustachios.
Title: Re: Need a car
Post by: RWD on October 11, 2014, 06:14:38 PM
Kelley Blue Book is a good resource to estimate the value of used vehicles:
http://www.kbb.com/
Title: Re: Need a car
Post by: RWD on October 11, 2014, 06:16:47 PM
And I use fueleconomy.gov (http://fueleconomy.gov/) to research vehicles by fuel efficiency. Use their "Power Search".
Title: Re: Need a car
Post by: southern granny on October 11, 2014, 06:23:24 PM
I would do some math first.  Even if you got a car for free you will have to pay taxes, insurance, gas, tires and other maintenance.  If you do the math, you might find that it is cheaper to put the extra gas in the work truck than to have two vehicles.