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Old 06-16-2011, 11:26 AM
1,770 posts, read 2,903,660 times
Reputation: 1174


Hello everyone!

So life hasn't been so hot financially for my partner I lately. We realized that it's not totally our income, it's our way of life. It's pretty digusting how easy it is to spend so much money without realzing it.

We got rid of cable (HD & DVR) as well as a landline. Kept $10 basic cable, for now, until we find a perfect antenna. We currently use our Playstation 3 to stream shows from Hulu and PlayOn to watch whatever we want. Or we watch Antenna TV...best channel in a long time

We used his employers discount to change cell phone services...$130 with Verizon vs $68 with tmobile? Hmm, which to choose?!

We try and keep a food budget of $60 a week, with $75 being an absolute exception.

He even changed some things on his auto insurance and that'll save us $17 a month.

I hate packing lunches because it's just too time consuming and I'm lazy, lol ,but I have been.

Overall, this has helped a great deal. We have just ONE, HUGE, PROBLEM

2 Years ago we both got pretty decent jobs -- eventually we hated it to the point of madness. We did quit. But 2 months into the job, we bought a new car (not each, lol) We were able to afford the then $350 a month payment..but that's what is slowly drowning us.

The good news? The loan amount (about high $13k) is roughly the same value that the car can be traded in for. It's a 2009 Honda Fit (not sport). This is good because we can trade the car and probably haggle enough to get exactly what the loan amount is. The problem is, we'll have no car and we don't have anything down for a deposit for something else.

We NEED a car. We live in South Jersey and we only have one car and only need one car.

What do we do? I say to trade the car in for hopefully the exact amount of the loan.. and just finance a used car that's $6-$8k. The problem we are finding is that the cars in that range (or less) have like 80k+ mileage. I don't know much about cars, hence why I am here, but when it comes to used cars and mileage.. what's a good deal, and what's not?

Will the year + mileage be the deciding factor? If we see 2 cars for the same price, one is a 2006 model with 30k miles and we see a 2008 model with 65k miles.. Realistically, the 2006 model would be the better deal, right?

I think what I am trying to ask is how many miles are too many miles?
I hope this made sense. I appreciate any help as always
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:17 PM
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,614 posts, read 21,347,415 times
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Are you talking about trading your car or selling it outright?

If you can sell your car outright for enough to pay off the loan, you may be able to buy another car with nothing down depending on your relationship with your bank and the car's selling price in comparison to the loan value. I've financed a dozen or more cars over the year with nothing down and have had no problems because I have been with the same bank my entire life and always look for cars that are seriously underpriced.

If you're talking about trading, I seriously doubt that a dealer will trade up to get your vehicle unless you have something unique that there is heavy demand for. The best you can probably hope for is to trade straight across, but you will more than likely be trading for a vehicle that is worth less so not only are you not gaining cash flow, you will be losing value. If your only concern is increasing monthly cash flow you might be able to trade up for a later model vehicle and get a lower payment but for a longer period of time.

Regarding the mileage, for the most part an older car with lower miles would be a better value than a newer car with higher miles. Don't go too old, though; cars need to be driven to keep everything lubricated and free. A 10-year-old vehicle with 20,000 miles will develop all sorts of problems if you start driving it on a daily basis. The cars to watch for are the ones approaching 75,000 miles. This is the point where parts start to wear out on most cars.

Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:17 PM
Location: A blue island in the Piedmont
34,191 posts, read 83,358,195 times
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setting aside car guys with six foot high tool boxes...

there are sweet spots for ownership that begin being triggered about a year after the car is new (when the biggest one time depreciation hit is absorbed) and then cycle with the 15 & 30,000 mile routine maintenance schedule.

EG: Buying a car with 62,000 miles on it that has had ALL of the common services done... and now has new tires and brakes etc... is a better choice than a 55,000 mile car that is due for all these things (even if the 55,000 mile car costs $3000 less)

and so forth.

For selling cars... try to apply this principle in reverse.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:14 PM
963 posts, read 2,307,655 times
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There are certain cars that are good values even when approaching 100,000 miles if they have been well maintained. Hondas can easily exceed 200,000 reliable miles when well maintained. In big American cars, there is a reason why so many fleets use Lincoln town cars, they can also go to 200,000 miles without having to do major engine or transmission work.

Few people realize how important regular fluid changes are to both engines and transmissions. A transmission can last 200,000 miles of you change the fluids at least every 25,000 miles or so. I have driven cars I've owned cross country with well over 100,000 miles on the odometer without problems. The key is maintenance.

New York City is a terrible place to buy an older used car. Bad roads, salt in winter, and city driving all age cars much faster here. A ten year old car from Florida or Arizona will probably be in better shape with higher miles than a five year old car with all city mileage.

I've never bought a new car, considering is a horrible investment (plus I prefer to enjoy my income in other ways). I once owned a 6cyl 1996 Mercury Cougar that I paid $3000 for (with 100,000 miles on the odometer) and put another 100,000 miles on it during five years spent in New Mexico and Arizona (I drove it from New York to New Mexico twice). It has traveled Route 66 from Chicago to New Mexico, and seen some of the southwest's most fascinating national parks. Beyond normal repairs (brakes, tires, etc) I had my first major trouble at 200,000 miles when the transmission began to slip. I will always remember that car fondly. Some of the my best memories were discovered driving it. What a great value it was! This photo of my now retired Cougar was shot in the Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.
http://stylepeterson.com/new-mexico/new-mexico-car.jpg (broken link)
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:39 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,410 posts, read 87,261,002 times
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This is not a problem. There are so many non-frugal people who pay new-car price for a car, drive it about a quarter of its' useful life, then discard it for half of what they paid for it. Their loss is your gain.

Don't concern yourself with cost of repair. You only repair components that are essential to the car actually moving from A to B. You don't count repairs to rips in the seats or dings in the doors. When essential repairs start costing more than the car is worth, just throw it away and buy another. Stick to the $3-4K range. If you get one that you need to add oil, oil is cheap, fix is not.

Don't buy from a dealer. A dealer will overcharge you by $2-3,000 because he detailed the car and presumably feels that it will not need $1,000 in mechanical repairs in the near future. Take your own risk, it's cheaper. Furthermore, very few reputable dealers will put a car on their lot for less than $5K, and you can get a darn good car for less than that.

General rule of thumb is that a US-branded car will last about 140K, a Japanese about 220K, before major work sets in. Presuming average prior maintenance, which you cannot control, nor probably even know about. So a car with 110K already on it, you're talking 3-4 times the remaining life in a Japanese car, which might cost about 50% more for a comparable model.

Last edited by jtur88; 06-16-2011 at 01:52 PM..
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:55 PM
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
29,958 posts, read 25,078,766 times
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Cars with 30K or even 60K miles are still babies as far as I'm concerned. As mentioned, a well maintained vehicle can easily last through 150K or 200K, if well maintained. The problem is knowing how well they've been maintained. This is why I always buy my vehicles from friends who are handy, or my dad. I know what kind of work has been done, and they will be upfront about the condition of the cars, and what will need to be done in the future.

Once a car is in my hands, I know I can probably push it past 150K without a problem. This because I do not skimp on maintenance or repair, and I do most of the work myself. I know most people are not as mechanically inclined, so it's always good to have a friend or two who know cars.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:02 PM
13,009 posts, read 18,981,371 times
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A good time to trade. Used car values are up so you can get trade in value much closer to the price of a new one. Maybe even lower your monthly payment.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:32 PM
1,770 posts, read 2,903,660 times
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Thanks for the replies.
I want to clear something up

We'll be able to sell the car and get the amount equal to what's left on the loan. This leaves us with loan, no car, but not down payment towards a new one.

Money has been disgusting lately, so we really don't have anything to put down for a down payment -- or the few thousand sitting to just purchase a car.

This is why I feel it'll be easier to buy from a dealer, I know they can be crooked but so can people from Craigslist or other ways. It seems like it'll be more 'safer' to buy from a dealer. I , of course, would look up the dealership online and see what kind of reviews. Not all car dealerships are full of slimy people

I didn't think that 50-80k miles is a big deal, either. How can you find out if the car you are buying has been treated well during it's lifespan? Is it just through hiring a mechanic to check it out..?
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:09 PM
Location: A blue island in the Piedmont
34,191 posts, read 83,358,195 times
Reputation: 43804
Used Cars, Blue Book Used Car Trade-in Values - Kelley Blue Book
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:17 PM
22,768 posts, read 30,816,489 times
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Originally Posted by h0tmess View Post
Will the year + mileage be the deciding factor? If we see 2 cars for the same price, one is a 2006 model with 30k miles and we see a 2008 model with 65k miles.. Realistically, the 2006 model would be the better deal, right?
i think:

the american one will always be the worst deal, like the curse of the monkey paw. toyota and honda do not depreciate or break down nearly as much.

buying and selling private party can get you a much better deal than a dealership.
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