You don’t have to save up for months to buy a car. If you’re on a tight budget and need something fast to help get you around, there are options out there. You’ll probably have to set your expectations low – you’re not getting a Mercedes. But you shouldn’t settle for something straight out of the scrapyard either. Here are just a few tips for buying a car on a tight budget.
Opt for a used car
You’re not going to find a new car for less than five grand. The Dacia Sandero might well be the cheapest new motor out there at the moment selling at £5,995 – it doesn’t have a radio, air conditioning or automatic windows, which is ridiculous given that there are used cars out there that come to the same value and have all these features plus much more. Used cars are much cheaper due to depreciation. Your best option is a small car, preferably manual and running on petrol. Don’t opt for the latest model and try to avoid anything too rare. Something like a used Peugeot 108 is perfect. Try to target independent sellers rather than car dealerships – it’s often much cheaper, although your purchase isn’t as protected.
Factor in running costs
Some cars are incredibly cheap to buy, but incredible expensive to run. Cars with low fuel efficiency and a bad carbon emissions rating will cost you more in fuel and tax. Very old cars that have past their mileage meanwhile may be more prone to costly repairs – the vehicle may only cost a few hundred to buy, but could cost you thousands in mechanics bills. A car that’s gone over it’s mileage may also be costlier to insure. Reliability is something worth researching online – you can find many used Ford Fiestas and Fiat 500s online for cheap, but they’re got a terrible record for faults, so you could end up spending a fortune on them in the long run.
Consider a car loan
Taking out a car loan might allow you to afford something a little bit flashier. The danger of vehicle loans is that they collect interest, so you’ll pay back more in the long run. However, this could be worth it for allowing you to purchase something on a very tight budget. Shop around for lenders to find the best interest rates.
Consider a lease
Leasing a car is like renting a property – you don’t own the vehicle, but get to pay in smaller monthly instalments as a result. Some cars can be leased for as little as £99 a month. This is not a good long-term solution as you could end up paying more than were you buying a car, but like taking out a loan it’s good for those on a tight budget.
What if you could win a car for free? Comping is a method of applying to as many competitions as you possibly can in order to maximise your chances of winning. There are free competitions to win cars all over the web (it’s best sticking to free competitions, otherwise you could be spending unhealthy amounts on potentially nothing). Even if you win a motor you didn’t particularly want, you can always trade it for something you do want.