At 18 years old, I paid for my own car in FULL with 100% of my own money! No loans baby! Did I mention it’s now almost 3 years later and I’m still driving it around in style?
How about the fact that I was only making minimum wage the whole time I was saving money? Sound impossible? It’s not! And I’ve got some tips to help.
This post may contain affiliate links. More information here.
Like I said, I was only working part time in the food industry making a small $7.25 an hour, so buying a car was going to require some serious saving.
Now unfortunately back then I still felt the need to go to the mall every time I got paid and get a cute new outfit for the weekend, so I was only managing to save half of my paycheck.
DON’T BE LIKE ME! Save as much of your paycheck as you possibly can while you’re still living at home rent free with a fully stocked fridge.
Give yourself a smaller budget to get a few things you’ve been wanting, and save the majority.
Craigslist Holds Hidden Treasure
Yes, craigslist has some sketchy stuff out there, but there are DEFINITELY gold mines too! It’s just going to take consistent looking.
And I legit mean every day. I checked that website so many times It pretty much became a second job.
There are constantly new listings going up, and if someone has had an item up for a while, they’ll drop the price!
If you can, have a parent or friend help with the search too to double up on the research. Preferably someone who knows something about cars, cause I was, and still am, completely clueless.
Prices are almost never set in stone. There is always some wiggle room to get that price down. The worst they can say is no. And when it comes to your hard earned money, you won’t be quick to settle on a bad price.
Try to negotiate a lower price even if you can afford the asking price. There is always room to save some extra cash for that new iphone upgrade you’ve been dying to get.
My car originally started at $3,600 and since I only had $3,400, I negotiated with $2,800. Only to have the guy selling the car say he had already decided to drop it to $2,400! Can I get a HELL YEAH!
Do Your Research
I’ll admit, I know absolutely nothing about cars. I’m talking I still get confused on the difference between the make and the model (yeah that’s pretty bad).
So when it came to a car, I had to do some research. Some key things to think about:
- How many miles does the car already have? ( I wouldn’t purchase anything over 150,000 miles, you want this car to last a while)
- How many miles do you get per gallon of gas? (this is EXTREMELY important to keep your gas bill low)
- Does It have 4 wheel drive?
- Does It have power steering?
- Are the windows automatic? (I know it’s not a necessity, but you will get annoyed really fast doing it manually)
- Is it a 2 door, or 4 door car?
This is extremely important when it comes to the history of the previous owner’s maintenance/accidents with the car. Carfax will show any repairs or damage that has happened to the car years before you found it.
I would definitely check to see if the previous owner has had any accidents in the car and exactly where the damage was done. If it was just a little fender bender it may be alright.
But if half the car had to be completely redone, I may steer clear of that purchase.
I never really understood what this meant until I wanted to buy a car. When it comes to purchasing a car from a private owner, cash speaks louder than a check.
Checks can bounce, and there’s never certainty right away for the current owner of the car to know that you are being honest with your money. If you pay in cash, they can count it right there and Wala! You got yourself a car.
When people hear you have cash on you, they are more likely to drop the price down as well. Let’s say you’ve got $2,500 with you and they are asking for $2,800.
If they know you have cash and are ready to purchase on the spot, they’ll most likely drop the price! Score!
Don’t Get Ripped Off
This can happen at both a dealership or a Craigslist sale. I 100% recommend bringing someone who knows A LOT about cars to take a look at it before the purchase.
There are so many things that can easily go overlooked during a car sale that can end up costing you even more money in car repairs.
It can be something as simple as the stereo not working (although if I couldn’t listen to music in the car I would lose my damn mind), or something as serious as a transmission that’s a week away from giving out.
Don’t sign the deal until the car has been thoroughly inspected by at least one other person.
Don’t Give Up And Get That Car!
It took me almost 3 months of weekend car dealership runs, a bunch of Craigslist ads, and A LOT of frustration until I finally found the perfect car for me.
Be patient, give it time, and DON’T rush into a purchase. A car is a really big deal, so don’t hand over the cash until you’re confident with the purchase. Good Luck!
Some Things You Might Like To Help You In The Adult World!