Buying a Car on a Tight Budget

Buying a Car on a Tight Budget

Let’s face it – unless you live in a large metropolitan area with a great public transportation system, you need a car to get around.  In most cases, and most importantly, you need a car to get to work. But if you are just starting out, or perhaps getting back on your feet after some financial hardships, you (like many other people) may not have an endless flow of cash to purchase a car.  So how do you find an affordable car if you have a tight budget?

If you are in need of a car but you are concerned about the expense, if you take the time to do some research before you start shopping – you may find an affordable option. Here are a few recommendations for affordable car shopping.

Do Your Homework

The internet is full of valuable information.  If you want to find the best value for your money sites like  and Consumer Reports feature product reviews, safety information, pricing comparisons and even tips on how to haggle or bargain for a new car. You can research the cost of any car that you are interested in buying and use it to determine what you are willing to pay.


In most cases, nothing is off the table when it comes to negotiating the price of a car. This includes prices, options, add-ons, interest rates for loans (from dealers) and anything else that may affect the sale of the car. Don’t be afraid to haggle – you can’t win if you don’t even try. According to Consumer Reports, “Eighty-nine percent of those who haggle are rewarded at least once.”

Consider a Used Car

A used car is almost always a more affordable option – as long as you are getting a reliable vehicle. Look for cars that meet your functional needs, have a good history of reliability and parts that would be easy to obtain if the need arises.  Used cars are often sold directly by the original owner but they can also be purchased at car dealerships that received the vehicle as a trade-in.

For Sale by Owner

If possible, buy from someone who is either the original owner of the car or has owned it for a long enough time to give you a reliable history of service.  Sites like Craigslist also allow you to narrow your search by price, seller-type (dealer vs. owner), location and any other factors that may be important to you.

Used Cars from a Dealership

Certified pre-owned cars can be a good middle ground between buying brand new and any old used vehicle. These are used cars that the dealership has inspected and they are typically only a few years old and have low mileage. Manufacturers may also offer additional warranty coverage on these cars and sometimes special financing offers. But these extras may come at a cost; the average asking price is often much higher than that of a private sale.

Consider Financing

Financing is an option that can help with the initial purchase of a vehicle.  If you have good credit and a substantial down payment, you may be able to get a new car and an affordable monthly payment.  If you have bad credit, there still may be financing options available to you. Visit to fill out an application for the auto financing you need. This site in particular works with car dealerships that can offer auto loans to customers with less than prefect credit.

So if you are looking to purchase a vehicle on a tight budget, with a bit of time and research, you will find something that you can afford.