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What will be my monthly expense for maintaining a car?
I am 21 years old and planning to buy a used car (don’t know which one) for around $5000. I live in Toronto, Canada and I just got my G2.
I am trying to know how much will I have to spend on the car each month, including insurance, gas, maintenance, and other expenses. Any inside tips are also welcome, since obviously I don’t have a large budget. Thanks.
P.S. Feel free to share your experience of your first car.
There are so many variables, it’s hard to pin down how much it would be for one person without knowing more info.
Here’s how you figure it out though -
1. Gas. Gas is high. Most people drive between 15 and 20,000 miles per year. (20k miles = 32,000 kilometers).
Estimate your mileage for your car, and be conservative. It’s probably in the 20 mpg range. I don’t know if you need to do all this in metric or not, but figure (as an example: 20,000 miles/year divided by 20 mpg = 1000 gallons. 1000 gallons x $3 buck/gallon = $3000 in gas per year. $3k year/12 = $250 per month in gas.
2. Call your insurance company and get a quote on 3 or 4 cars in your price range that you would like to find. Keep in mind that some are much more reliable than others when they are older. For example – don’t touch a used chrysler lebaron, and don’t touch an older mitsubishi eclipse if it’s a turbo (same with talon). They are cool and fast and a moneypit to keep running.
Keep in mind you’ll pay a premium for your age. That’s just how it is. Take a driver’s education course for 40 bucks on a saturday and you’ll get a 5-10% discount for the next 3 years or so. It’s very much worth it. Also – check into a security discount, and if you can get one, install or buy a vehicle w/ an alarm. You can get them for 200 bucks.
3. Maintenence depends on if you can work on it yourself or if you have anyone that can help with this. If not, figure on at least a 1500 per year. That would probably cover it, but I don’t know how much mechanics run in Canada and it will depend on what car you pick. Japanese cars cost alot more to repair but can be alot more reliable than some from the US. Others – it’s not worth the difference.
4. Don’t forget you’ll need tires. Figure on $400-500 every 3 years.
At 21, you may be moving frequently due to school, or changing life situations. A pickup is very, very handy to have.
I wouldn’t touch a pickup without an extended cab.
The upside on pickups are this: the undercarriage and suspension are heavy duty. The bearings, brakes, shocks, springs, are all sturdier than you find in a similar car and a used higher mileage pickup is going to show less wear and tear because of this.
A pickup is going to have alot more room in the engine compartment, making it easier to work on yourself.
4 wheel drive is nice, but it’s a big price premium over 2wd and they get worse gas mileage. Consider your winter driving habits and if 4wd is needed before paying more for it.
Dealerships are pros at making money from people. You’ll get a better deal by searching Yahoo! Autos for your zip code and then slowly finding the right car for you.
PIckups normally have timing chains instead of timing belts. Timing belts must be changed every 60-90k miles and it’s a major expense. Chains won’t need to be replaced. Likewise with an automatic transmission versus a clutch. You’ll get alot more mileage out of an automatic and can avoid the cost of replacing a clutch. Both of these repairs are probably imminent on a vehicle in your price range if they are the type to need them. Don’t buy an car with brand new automatic transmission fluid in it or if it doesn’t shift smoothly. Smell the transmission fluid. It should not smell burnt. It should be a dark red color. Bright red would be brand new. Very dark might be never changed or burnt.
Unless you need the power, go with a lighter truck and a v6 engine. You’ll get much better gas mileage, more in line with a car, unless it’s a big v6 versus a small v8. My 4.7 liter v8 is similar in gas usage to the 6 cylinder engines in dodge trucks.
Pickups are much cheaper than similar cars when they are brand new, so their resale is also a better deal.
If it were me, and I were you, I’d pick a smaller used extended cab pickup with an automatic tranny. A ford Ranger, or a Dodge Dakota SLT would be great. (I have a Dakota SLT myself by the way.)
- Good luck whatever you do.
For those who have good credit, how do you stay disciplined on paying bills on time?
For those with good credit , does it derive from having an abundance of money due to education with high pay, two workers in the home, or no dependants? If you are a single parent and do have decent credit ok how do you do it? Is direct bill pay the way? Just good habits, what’s your motivation. I need some tips! I am inthe process of re-establishing credit and wonder what habits others have that help keep them from crashing and burning when it comes to credit?
I have good credit, and I’m not rich. I am the sole moneymaker for a family of four. Some basic principles:
1) Don’t be house-poor. Don’t buy the biggest house your mortgage lender will qualify you for, or the biggest rent your landlord will qualify you for. This is true of any business transaction – don’t even REVEAL to a vendor how much you can afford.
2) Look at your monthly expenses like a hawk. This is the stuff you buy every month, like taxes, insurance, rent, car payment, groceries, and gas. Total it all up. Make sure it isn’t more than 75% of what you make. If it is, start looking for cheaper stuff and ditching stuff. I pay $60/mo for car and home insurance combined, and I don’t have cable service.
3) Use Quicken. If someone forgets to send you a bill, it will warn you, and you can call them before you are past due.
4) Pay bills on time and electronically. You can set up electronic bill pay from your bank to pay everything 5 days before it’s due.
5) Pay the credit card bill in full at the end of every month. If you have a problem with that, tear up the credit card. If you stick to principle #2 and don’t go crazy with discretionary spending, you should be OK.
6) Live cheap. We moved to Indianapolis because housing was cheaper. We own a chest freezer so we can stock up on groceries on sale. The motto is a dollar saved is two dollars earned (after taxes).
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