Author Topic: Need help buying a car  (Read 4635 times)

Frugal D

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Need help buying a car
« on: September 05, 2015, 10:31:09 AM »
Just typing the words "buying a car" makes me sick, but it is what it is and I'm looking for car buying advice.

A little background on the situation: My new wife leased a VW Jetta almost 3 years ago for a mere $422/month (we were dating at the time). Absolutely brutal. Luckily that lease is coming due shortly and we'll get to rid ourselves of that horrid payment. But that just means we have to find a new car as she has to have one for work and we're probably about 1 year away from having children as well. I myself haven't had a car since I was 22 (I sold it when I moved to SF for work after college).

I'm looking to pay cash for a used car; $10k or less. As a sanity check, that is the correct play, right? I mean versus leasing something or financing something if I could find a 0% APR deal. With a $10k budget in mind, what are the mustachian opinions about make and model?

I've been researching a lot lately, but I just hate cars so much and have been out of the game for so long that I know nothing about them. I appreciate the guidance here.   

Kroaler

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 05:26:13 AM »
I can't believe no body responded. I guess it makes them sick thinking about buying a car.... Kinda turns my belly typing this....

JK,  In all seriousness I don't have much to offer other than this. I believe in one of the Mr money mustache articles he recommends a book called  "Lemon Aide"  by Phil Edmonton.    I rented it from my library, pretty good book. There is a 1990-2015 Book that list all the best Values by vehicle segment. I didn't listen to what it said... and recently took a 2,000 dollar loss selling the car that it listed  as "poor value" that I bought anyway cause I thought I was smarter than collected facts and statistics.  Don't make the same mistake I did... lol

Basically someone has already taken the time to hunt all the best values, and reliable used vehicles and organize it by year and vehicle segment. Why reinvent the wheel? Maybe start there since no one here seems to want to offer any suggestions.  Again I recommend the 1990-2015 Used car edition. My library had it so I didn't pay a dime to read it.

firewalker

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015, 07:19:21 AM »
The book is a great idea. Everyone here will have anecdotal praise or curses for any given car. That researched guide sounds like the best way to start.

RunHappy

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 09:09:23 AM »
This is an often asked question, if you do a search on the forums you'll see this question a lot.

Start by reading the MMM blog:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/

It is a couple years old, but a lot of the cars and advice will still hold true.   Just because you're planning to have a kid doesn't mean you need to start thinking about a big SUV.  All car seats have to meet the same standards, after that you buy them based on size and extras.

When I bought my 3 year old hatchback I bought something I liked, with good mileage, and I would want it for at least 10 years.  I also knew that I would have 1-3 kids before that 10 years, so I made sure I could fit 3 car seats in the back.  I paid cash for it, more than I probably should have ($13k), but overall I really like my car.

As far as financing it or not that really depends on you.  When I bought my dad a car, I had the cash to buy it, but ended up financing it for 1.9% because I knew I was going to get a mortgage eventually, and my credit was around 650.  Now my credit is around 720, we bought a house (a year after my dad's car), so I'm planning to pay off that car next year, because I hate the idea of owing a bank or anyone money. 

you should figure out how the car will be driven, then look for something with good gas mileage that fits your budget.  As long as you have a back seat with seatbelts and a trunk you have room for kids and their stuff.  With a $10k budget there are a lot of great options available to you.

lhamo

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2015, 09:26:11 AM »
I would have preferred to buy a used car in the $5-10k range, but my DH was strongly against the idea and I didn't have the time/energy to argue with him (we had totalled the car I was driving and needed to get a replacement in a short period, and DH was heading back to China when all this happened).  So we decided to go new.  I ended up getting a 2015 Ford C-Max hybrid for around $20k including tax and license -- MRSP was $25k, so I got a great deal.   The lower price was largely why I chose the C-Max over a Prius. Part of the low price included a $2500 discount for taking the Ford Financing deal.  I will pay off the loan once I get paid for my upcoming consulting gig.  Ford would have only kicked in $1000 if I didn't take the financing, so it was worth it to have the loan for a couple of months.

Once you identify used cars you are interested in, troll Craigslist regularly.  You will get so you can spot a good deal.   You can see what is NOT a good deal by which cars hang around forever without selling.  And once you have identified those ones that aren't selling, you can consider putting in a lowball offer. 

Seppia

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 09:40:36 AM »
I am thinking about moving to a place where I would need a car and I have close to zero doubt I would go for a used Honda Fit.
I have been the owner of a Honda Civic in Europe and Honda cars are phenomenally well built, handling is great and fuel efficiency above average.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 09:45:41 AM »
When I bought my 3 year old hatchback I bought something I liked, with good mileage, and I would want it for at least 10 years.  I also knew that I would have 1-3 kids before that 10 years, so I made sure I could fit 3 car seats in the back.  I paid cash for it, more than I probably should have ($13k), but overall I really like my car.

That's so badass.  What hatch did you buy?  I tend to lose "hatchback vs SUV" arguments whenever the subject of 3 car seats comes along.  I'd love to use yours as a counterexample.

RunHappy

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2015, 10:16:12 AM »
it is a 2012 Ford Focus. 

We are almost done with our first (I'm due this week) and will most likely stop at 2 since we will both be over 40, but this website really helps with the whole 3 carseats.  There are a lot of slimline carseats out there you just have to find the one right for you.   

http://thecarseatlady.com/fitting3across/

ScottEric

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2015, 10:29:27 AM »
We have a Scion Xa, which we bought cause a friend was selling it because she couldn't fit a rear facing car seat in it with a reasonably sized adult up front.  So yeah, keep that in mind!

lbmustache

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2015, 11:25:20 AM »
You can find a lot of cars for $10k! The major players: Toyota, Honda. Maybe even Mazda, Chevy, a few Fords (it seems the newer ones have trans issues). I'd avoid the used German cars unless you place a really high priority on driving dynamics over reliability.

Since this car is for the long haul, and you have visions of kids, make sure it's big enough for a rear facing seat. Almost all cars can fit rear-facing seats, it just depends on how tall the front passengers are. A Prius is always a solid choice: economical and tons of space.

Valencia de Valera

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2015, 12:19:22 PM »
Consumer Reports has a section in their annual buying guide called "Reliable Used Cars for Every Budget" where they list recommended cars from years past by price range, including an "under 10k" category. I'm guessing you could find the guide in a library somewhere, it's included as part of the magazine subscription. They also have tons of information about specific models and tips on the buying process on their website, although you have to subscribe to access it.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 03:36:23 PM »
it is a 2012 Ford Focus. 

We are almost done with our first (I'm due this week) and will most likely stop at 2 since we will both be over 40, but this website really helps with the whole 3 carseats.  There are a lot of slimline carseats out there you just have to find the one right for you.   

http://thecarseatlady.com/fitting3across/

That's great to hear.  I LOVE the newer focus hatchbacks.  Sharp-looking, practical, plenty of power (especially if you get an ST), can still get a stick shift, etc.  Ford has really stepped up their game over the last few years.  Superb quality across the lineup.

Kroaler

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 02:42:57 AM »
Funny you guys mention a focus hatch.   Thats the car I just sold, 2014 Focus hatch titanium.  Unfortunately thats the same car that was listed as "poor value" in lemon aid.  I personally didn't have any problems with mine. My ford touch was kinda annoying compared to the knob in the middle on the mazda 3. And the 2012 Power shift transmission destroyed consumer confidence even though the leaky seal issue was fixed in mid 2013 model production from what I read. 

TMM

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2015, 07:57:00 AM »
There is an incredible amount of information online based on your needs, i.e. best cars for families, for travel, etc. I then go to fueleconomy.gov, which gives you not only listed mileage, but sometimes has owners reported mileage. Research, research, then go actually sit in one and drive it.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Need help buying a car
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2015, 10:09:23 AM »
I was almost in the same situation you are in.  I thought I was going to take a job in the 'burbs, in which case I would need a car (the job has been delayed and may never happen...)

My research indicates the values or should I say the "premium" on Priuses versus non-hybrids has been reduced/eliminated due to lower gas prices.  For that reason, the fact that I prefer low gas bills, less envirmontal impact, and the overall reputation of the vehicle, I would go Prius.