Here's my advice: If you can get by without owning a car, do that. Owning a car is expensive and it causes all kinds of problems. People who live in large cities can save a lot of money by taking public transportation, riding a bike, or walking. However, in some cases, a car is absolutely necessary. If that's true for you, here are some things to consider when you go car shopping:

  • Do you want a new car or a used car? Some places refer to used cars as "preowned."

  • How much do you want to spend? A used car will save you money, but you might have to make repairs on it.

  • How large a car do you need or want? The bigger the car, the more it will cost. Also big cars are not always safer cars.

  • How often are you actually going to drive the car? If you don't have very far to go, you have more options. If you have to do a lot of driving, consider buying a car that gets good gas mileage.

  • There are many costs associated with buying and owning a car: insurance, license fees, the cost of gasoline, the cost of repairs, parking expenses (in some areas), and monthly payments if you take a loan to make the purchase.

  • Are you going to buy a used car from a dealer or from a private party? A reputable dealer will make sure the car is in good working order before selling it to you. A regular person who tries to sell a car through Craigslist might not be all that honest, but you never know. Buying a used car is a little risky, but the newer the vehicle, the lower the risk of being stuck with a lemon (lemon = a bad car).

Here are some questions you can ask when you go shopping for a used car.


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