My Frugal Life: The Best Type Of Car

After I got married, it was time for a second car so that my wife would be able to get out and go take care of things while I am at work. I paid off my car earlier that year so that was $300 extra we had. We looked into the options that we had as far as buying a new car and did not want another car payment haunting our budget for the next 5 years.

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Luckily, my Dad's friend was in the business of buying cars at auction. Some of them were fender benders that needed some minor repairs and replacement parts and some were repossessed vehicles. My Dad and I went to see him one day in 2006 and saw a 2005 Ford Focus station wagon in really great condition. The price tag was $7000, HALF of what it was worth if bought at a dealer. We decided to buy this car. Granted, it was in an accident but all parts were replaced and the car runs great. When we got it the car was 1 year old.

I estimate that we saved ourselves at least $10,000 on that car if we were to buy it from a dealership. Plus, we had the money to buy it because we learned to cut out the unnecessary stuff and save some of what we earned in the past. And that's a good lesson: Saving money today will allow you to save even more later.

My friend's wife talked him into buying a new Nissan Quest minivan earlier this year. He said they got a 'good deal' at $24,000 instead of $27,000. I was not at the least jealous at that point.

Remember, the best type of car is one that's all paid for.

Paul from Clover, SC

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

February 21, 20080 found this helpful

In my experience the best type of car is none at all! They are so expensive to own and run that I don't bother. I realise that this is not an option for everyone, but many people feel they 'have' to have a car, when they could mange perfectly well without one. I reckon that I save about £2000 a year by not having a car.

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

Great story, told well!

Thanks, Paul

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

I have to purchase my car from a dealer that will provide me with a free loaner car if the vehicle needs maintenance or repairs. I have stuck with the same dealer for 13 years because I have that peace of mind. I don't think I get the best price- or the worse. I was glad when car dealers started charging the sticker price. I remember Saturn started that with their "no dicker sticker". So many people started buying Saturns because they didn't want to worry that they had paid a $1000 more than another customer.

I agree that no car is the best deal if you are able to make a living without one.

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

Dear Paul!

I agree that not having a car is the best way to survive. It puts two thousand dollars a year into your pocket for a nice vacation in January!

The best type of Car to drive is an inexpensive Electric vehicle that does not dump carbon into the atmosphere. They are sold quietly almost everywhere. I am positive you also understand that the worst type of car to buy is a new Car with high insurance rates that will cost you a fortune to fuel up at the Gas Pump! Did you know it is now possible to buy a second hand Hybrid Toyota? A combination gas/electric. They have been around now for three years! The second worst type of car to buy is an old Jalopy that will cost a fortune at the gas pump and will create a large amount of pollution until the day, soon, Police will drag it off to the scrap yard! Have a great day and ride a Bicycle and then plant a Tree! signed: Joseph Raglione

Executive director: The World Humanitarian Peace and Ecology Movement.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

I am a firm beliver in buying a good used car versus buying a new one. I would definitely have reservations about buying one that was previously wrecked. The folks who fix or repair wrecked vehicles for resale are in that business to make a profit. They are probably going to claim that their repaired vehicles were in "minor" little fender benders, whether they were minor or not! I have several extended family members who fell for the new shiney paint and seemingly low sale price of a salvaged vehicle. I don't recall any of them being pleased with their purchase after only a short period of time. I can't list (and probably can't even remember!) all of the things that "went wrong". You have to understand that there are so very many components under the hood, and in the vehicle in general, that are made of a hard plastic, or plastic-like substance. In a "wreck" or "collision", no matter how seemingly minor......these parts are often cracked or damaged, but it's not immediately obvious, especially to the untrained (or unsuspecting!) eye! It doesn't take long for a multitude of problems to crop up! Many folks don't have the time or finances available to keep repairing or replacing these aggravating problems. If you don't fix the problem it could easily cause additional problems in an adjacent component of the vehicle. I could go on and on........but won't!

Another problem you may encounter if you buy a wrecked and repaired vehicle is that the title to that vehicle will show that it is a "salvaged" vehicle. In many states that means you cannot purchase "collision" or "comprehensive" insurance (which would reimburse you for damages to your vehicle), but only be able to purchase "liability" (which would pay for damages or injury that you caused to someone else). An extended family member purchased a sharp-looking, late model sports car that had been wrecked and "salvaged". She managed to take out a fairly large loan to purchase it. She "totalled" it soon after and learned that she only had "liability" insurance. She didn't bother to learn about car insurance and it cost her dearly. Yes, she was paying for car insurance..........to protect others, which is mandatory in our state, but did not realize that she had no insurance to protect her own investment! She still had to pay off her loan (for her car) but had no car to drive! Hard lesson to learn.

I believe that everyone should check out the "history" of any used vehicle they are considering purchasing. I use "Carfax" to check out the ones I am seriously interested in. I almost bought a car a few years ago and felt pretty confident about it........but decided to check it out via Carfax anyway. I am so glad I did! It had been totalled.............in a state far from mine! Needless to say, that car was dropped from my list like a hot potato!

A good website to go to for information on insurance....or many other topics is "The Dollar Stretcher". After Thriftyfun....it is my favorite!

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February 27, 20080 found this helpful

I have to somewhat disagree with Grandma Margie. Not ALL rebuilt wrecks are unsafe. My father has rebuilt cars for years. He is very honest and he picks cars that are not too badly damaged. He won't do fire or water damage or rollovers. And even when he tries his best to get a good car, sometimes one will not fix "just right" and if he doesn't trust it, he won't sell it. There ARE honest people in the world. There are also dishonest ones. Just use your noodle, instincts, and common sense. I've driven rebuilts for 15 years--and none of them have been factory perfect, but they've been reliable. I'd LOVE a new car, but I have $1,700 in the car I have now and that I've driven for almost 4 years. Not too bad.

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August 30, 20080 found this helpful

My college-age daughter and I both own Ford Focuses. They are great little cars and easy on the gas. I will never own an SUV again- not even a smaller one, such as an Escape.

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