How to Get an Affordable Car like a PRO [Without Breaking the Bank]

Cars are an essential part of making ends meet.  You need a car to get to work, daycare, school, college, grocery stores, and other vital places.

Having a vehicle often becomes more of a need than a want.

I feel like many people underestimate and underappreciate how much a car helps us out. Despite brands, leather, color or the other factors, they are solely made for you to get from one place to the other faster. Once you have a car, it becomes a blessing and a significant upgrade from public transportation.

But being able to afford a quality car can be difficult because of its recurring costs.

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. It becomes a huge burden, especially if you are having a hard time being able to pay for the car in the first place.

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. You could also always apply for a loan, but that sometimes gets to be really costly and the details are difficult to sort out. There are also many types of loans which are hard to navigate.

These help you quickly 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 more accessible than ever, even if you are working off a tight budget.

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 seems out of your budget. If you’ve decided that you need your vehicle, look somewhere other than a dealership to purchase your car.

Dealerships will rip you off and require you to pay a lot more and get a warranty. They have to make a profit somehow.

Although it might seem reassuring to get one from dealerships, there are many other places you can look to get a cheaper car.

Resources To Look For Cars

You should also check your local newspaper or to search 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 particular 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 reliable 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

  1. Select your local city and search what car you are looking for. Try to look locally to avoid the most scams.
  2. Research online for the prices of new and used cars, so you have an estimate of what to expect.
  3. 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 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 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 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 need someone to organize his paperwork. Assess your skills and see what you have to offer. Although you may not realize it, trade and barter are 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 the 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 vehicles 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.

Car Donations

Often, 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 generally non-profit organizations who give free or cheap vehicles 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 vehicles, and help pay for the price. So try to apply for as many as possible and be patient. There are many people that 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.

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.

A Note To Keep In Mind

Always be on the lookout for car donations or charity cars since this is a way to get a free car. Look in more affluent 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 more prominent or wealthier cities have.

For most organizations, you 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.

Unusual Places to Look To Get A Free Car Donated to YOU

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. Even if they don’t have a car for you to get right that second, they are sure to contact you if they find something.

Goodwill is also a company that makes donations — and some people often donate their vehicles for tax purposes. These are usually low hanging fruits, and you might be surprised to see what people do for their tax.

Another practical solution that people usually try is finding a job that provides transportation for their workers. Some businesses offer 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.

A Comprehensive Checklist Before Sealing the Deal [The Car Is Almost Yours]

These are some tips you should keep in mind when you are buying a car so you won’t get scammed or ripped off. Although most places are reasonable and safe, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry, especially for something as big as a car.

Make Sure You Aren’t Being Scammed

  1. If the price seems WAY too good to be true, it’s probably a scam listing.
  2. Beware of any deal involving western union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow or any promise of a transaction before purchasing.
  3. Make sure the car is not salvaged.
  4. Make sure the car doesn’t have a significant 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

  1. Choose a model and make of cars to consider. Make sure you have around 5-6.
  2. Research the prices on and compare.
  3. Best deals are when the car is about 3-6 years old and not over 100K mileage.

Once You are Ready to Buy

  1. Have it inspected by a mechanic (it’s worth the $20-50)?
  2. Have your seller sign papers, so they are responsible for any past liabilities.
  3. 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 low price. Either they come free with car donations, although they aren’t guaranteed and can take a lot longer to arrive. 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.

Happy driving!

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