You Need a Car but You’re Broke: What to Do

So you’ve suddenly found yourself without a vehicle. Buying a vehicle is already a stressful process, not to mention a time consuming one. Add to that stress the fact that you’re strapped for cash and you have a pretty anxiety-laden situation. You need a car to get to work, so you can make money, to pay for said car…but you can’t buy the car without funds. What do you do now? 


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Luckily, there are many options for folks on a budget or who are strapped for funds when your car gives out. You can find a great deal on a new or used vehicle that fits within your budget, with a wide variety of options for payment, if you just know where to look. 

Financing is a great option for people who need a car fast – regardless of whether or not you have perfect credit, there are many places to buy a car that will happily finance you with affordable monthly payments and in some cases a very low down payment or none at all (several allow you to use your old car as a trade-in or as collateral). You can find the best car finance deals in your area and even compare cars online before you buy. Take the time to compare prices, find companies that will finance you and even choose the car you want before you even step out of the house. These companies understand the dilemma you are in and will work hard to find you a great vehicle at a price you can afford.  

Another option that many people use to buy vehicles when they’re strapped for cash are online sites such as Craigslist and even the Facebook Marketplace. Now, perusing sites like this for vehicles does come with some risk – for starters, you don’t know the seller, they haven’t been vetted, and they could be trying to sell you a lemon. But if you’re looking for a really great deal from a local seller, sometimes these sites can be a godsend. Just follow a few safety precautions before you set up a meeting. Get the name and phone number of the seller, only agree to meet in public spaces, never go alone, and make sure you’re allowed to test drive the vehicle as well as give it a good, sound look inside the engine (bring a mechanic or someone who knows cars with you). Don’t bring cash and arrange a time to buy at a later date. Never buy a vehicle without a clear, legal title and do your homework about the car BEFORE making an offer. Check online for any recalls or other relevant information. If you follow these precautions, you can avoid getting taken advantage of. 

It is possible to buy a car while you’re on a budget – it’s just a matter of being smart, savvy and knowing where to look for the best possible deals. Don’t think that just because you have bad credit or don’t have much cash for a down payment that you’re out of luck. You can find the deals if you’re willing to look for them! 

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