Cars are a very important part of making ends meet. You need a car to get to work, daycare, school, grocery stores, and other essential places. Having a car often times becomes more of a need than a want.
But finding cars can be tough on a limited income.
They are often money drainers, having you pay for insurance, repair, gas, and so much more than you can get overwhelmed with expenses and delay you from getting a car to begin with. I mean who’s actually heard of affordable cars that won’t cause any problems?
Now, this is not something as an impossible or unlikely as entering sweepstakes hoping to win a car (however, it doesn’t hurt to try if its free!). There are some other sure-fire ways that you can try to get closer to that dream car.
But using car assistance programs, like donation organizations, craigslist, or charities can help you land a car for free or a price that won’t make you go broke.
These help you easily get a working car for cheap and without all of the hassle that dealerships provide. There are many places you can look but many places that can also scam you, so being cautious of what information you give about yourself is crucial.
As long as you look in the right places, getting that car will be easier than ever, even if you are working off a really tight budget.
Often times, the car donation method is ignored.
Why? I don’t know.
It might be because people find it hard to believe that so many free cars are available. They are normally non-profit organizations who give free or cheap cars to those who can’t afford one. More people are eligible for this than you think and there is no harm in trying to score a car with the help of others.
There are many places to find organizations that donate cars, give cheap cars, and help pay for the price. So try to apply for as many as possible and be patient. There are many people who try and a limited amount of cars.
People that are likely to receive aid with donations are military families, the working poor, single moms in need, etc.
For most organizations, you just need to go fill out an application online and people who receive cars are based off a voting system. The more often people in your area donate a car to charity, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to obtain one for free.
National and Local Organizations
Take Free Charity Cars, for example, people donate a car to this nonprofit organization, which in turn gives a car away to someone in need. Everyone gets to vote on who is the most eligible and is a national program.
Another place to look is at local donation places near you. Since its a lot more smaller scale, it gives you a higher chance of getting that car. But that also means that fewer cars will be available as well.
Look for Habitat for Humanity cars too, they also offer many cars to help you out, especially for single parents.
Always be on the lookout for car donations or charity cars since this is a way to get a free car. Look in richer cities near you since most do it for tax purposes. They usually dispose their least used cars and don’t want to go through the hassle of selling. This will get you a better quality car that doesn’t have as much mileage for a fraction of the time as bigger or poorer cities have.
Unusual Places to Look
Usually, religious institutions or churches are pretty helpful. Tell them about your situation and they often do a good job trying to help you in any way they can.
Goodwill is also a company that does donations like that — and there are people who often donate their vehicles for tax purposes.
Another effective solution that people usually try is finding a job that provides transportation for their workers. Some businesses provide cars for their employees. Granted, there may be some limitations on how much and where you can drive it, but having the luxury of owning a car is useful nonetheless.
Buying Cars [Even If You Don’t Have Enough Money For One]
Maybe you have a little bit saved to buy a car but don’t know where to look since everything still looks out of your budget. If you’ve decided that you need your own vehicle, look somewhere other than a dealership to purchase your car.
Resources To Look For Cars
You should also check your local newspaper or CraigsList.com to look for used cars. Maybe, you could also write a post on social media or platforms explaining your situation and saying that you’re looking for an affordable, reliable vehicle.
Who knows who is going to read it.
Maybe someone has a car they were going to sell but would rather it go somewhere it’s really needed, and they might offer their car to you.
You could also check with car rental companies. They occasionally have rental cars for sale since, after a certain time, their cars become too “old” for them to use even though it works perfectly.
How to Buy Cars from Craigslist
Cars are big purchases and require lots of money and can be quite the investment. If you don’t have the means to buy a new car, craigslist may be a good option for you to find a car that suits your price point and requirements and needs
However, you want to make sure you are careful about buying on craigslist. There are many cautions to beware of. There are many ways to get scammed, but if you are careful, you can successfully get a healthy car for significantly cheaper than a dealership.
Just be sure to have a mechanic inspect any used vehicle before you buy it.
Tips For Buying From Craigslist
- Select your local city and search what car you are looking for. Try to look locally to avoid the most scams.
- Research online for the prices of new and used cars so you have an estimate of what to expect.
- Email the seller and make sure to ask why they are selling the car. The best prices and a quality car come if the seller is moving, relocating, or just don’t really use the car enough to keep it.
Paying For Your Car
Use Your Tax Refund
Years ago, you could get a decent running car for a couple of hundred dollars. Today, that kind of car is probably going to cost you around $1000 unless you find a really great deal.
Depending on your income, you might get Earned Income Credit and end up with a healthy chunk of change after you file your taxes.
Get Creative About Securing Funds
Believe it or not, you may have a valuable service to trade for a car. You can always ask someone to loan you the money or sell anything might have in order to save the money up.
You might also find great local deals by offering services instead of cash. For instance offer them babysitting services, house cleaning services, or whatever they may need that you can provide. For example, a self-employed construction worker may have need of someone to organize his paperwork. Assess your skills and see what you have to offer. Although you may not realize it, trade and barter is still very much alive today.
Car Grants And Loans
Don’t forget to check with your local Social Services agency, credit union, or any related non-profits in your area. Many times credit unions will design loan programs that offer families help with transportation.
More often than not, a vehicle means the difference between a person receiving government aid or not because of their ability to get to work. Agencies know this and many will take extra steps to help you on your quest to find a car.
Use the power of the internet to help you, too. Search for automobile grants and loans. You might be able to find programs that offer free cars if you meet certain need criteria.
Is It The Right Price For You?
Many people think that the price you see is the price you pay when it comes to cars. The truth is that people and dealerships usually list cars for the maximum amount they want because they expect you to haggle with them.
Start low and work your way up, usually meeting in the middle. It also helps to take someone with you who is familiar with cars. There may be a defect that wasn’t listed and you can get the car for much less because of it.
A Comprehensive Checklist Before Sealing the Deal [The Car Is Almost Yours]
Make Sure You Aren’t Being Scammed
- If the price seems WAY too good to be true, it’s probably a scam listing.
- Beware of any deal involving western union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow or any promise of a transaction before purchasing.
- Make sure the car is not salvaged.
- Make sure the car doesn’t have a major defect, even if it’s cheaper, it’s not worth buying since it won’t last in the long run.
What To Do When Buying a Used Car
- Choose a model and make of cars to consider. Make sure you have around 5-6.
- Research the prices on KBB.com and compare.
- Best deals are when the car is about 3-6 years old and not over 100K mileage.
Once You are Ready to Buy
- Have it inspected by a mechanic (it’s worth the $20-50)?
- Have your seller sign papers so they are responsible for any past liabilities.
- Make sure all paperwork, title papers, service records and car keys are going to be handed over to you.
There are many ways to get that dream car at a cheap price. Either they come free with car donations, although they aren’t guaranteed and can take a lot longer to get. Or you can buy a used car.
Both options have many pros and cons and things to watch out for so you can ensure a safe vehicle for you and your family.
Cars have become a crucial necessity, especially for those who are low income because they have to work multiple jobs to keep up with the expenses. But this comprehensive guide will help you score that car you always needed a lot easier than you expected it to be.