How Frugal Is Too Frugal for a Car?

Many people buy used cars because they can be better deals financially than brand new cars. However, sometimes it is possible to be too frugal when it comes to purchasing a car. If you’re thinking about buying a cheap car in order to save some cash on transportation costs, here’s what you need to know.

It Depends

If you’re trying to decide whether you should buy a cheap car on Craigslist, then chances are good that you’re looking at one factor above all else: cost. However, you don’t necessarily need to buy a used car in order to save money on transportation. Taking public transportation can save you up to $10,000 a year, which means that you’ll save the $5,000 you were going to put into buying the car. However, your work schedule may demand that you have access to reliable transportation. In that case, you may want to buy a newer-model used car that is reliable but less expensive than the brand-new car you had your eye on.

Heavily Used Cars Are Risky

So, you’ve found a car that doesn’t look like a patchwork quilt. It has nice tires and a lovely interior. You think it’s worth the cost based on what you see. Sure, it’s 10 years old, but things could be worse, right? All of this is worse if you have a lemon. Sometimes cars may look nice on the outside, but have several problems when you pop the hood or take it for a spin. Like with any major purchase, doing your research ahead of time can prevent investing in a junker car and help you find a car that best fits your needs.

Other Considerations

The cost and the condition of the used car in question aren’t the only factors you must consider before you buy a used car. You should also think about finding parts and financing. If the used car you buy is over 15 years old, you may have difficulty finding parts to replace the ones that go bad, and when you do find them, they could be very expensive. If you don’t have the cash saved up to buy a car outright, you may have to finance the car in question. With the interest you’ll be charged, you could wind up paying more than the car’s worth, or at least paying more in interest for your used car than you would a new one. You also run the risk of holding yourself responsible for a car payment, only to have your car break down permanently, leaving you paying for a car you no longer drive.

Cost shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when you’re buying a car. Reliability, your job circumstances, and parts availability also come into play. It’s best to weigh all of your options when you’re deciding whether to buy a less-expensive car.

You might also be interested in this article: Buying a Used Car Privately? Look Out for These Red Flags

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