Buying a Car for $500 (Not a Typo)

Auto expenses are one of the biggest line items on most people’s budget, so from time to time we all try to trim them by shopping for cheaper gas or looking for lower cost insurance. Well, what if you slashed your car costs by 90% or more?

Entrepreneur Chris Hedgecock had just that thought when he started his Web site Cars For a Grand, which does just what the name says: lists thousands of cars for sale nationwide for less than $1,000. To prove that you can find a reliable ride for just hundreds of dollars, Hedgecock bought a 1974 Pontiac LeMans via his site for just $899 and then drove it cross-country from his hometown of San Diego all the way to Miami. His journey is detailed in a very entertaining video blog and has also been featured on dozens of local news reports, like this one:

To be sure, there are plenty of worthless clunkers out there for a few hundred dollars, but follow Hedgecock’s tips and you may discover reliable transportation that is shockingly light on your wallet:

  • Know what you are getting in to. Before buying a car, purchase a vehicle history report for just $15, which will provide all public records on title history, odometer readings, accident reports and other potential damage.
  • Be prepared to invest a bit in your new purchase. Hedgecock spent several hundred dollars on new spark plugs, an oil change and other minor repairs to make sure that his car was in shape for its cross country journey. Many vehicles will probably strongly benefit from an intense cleaning job as well!
  • Keep your insurance costs cheap. Don’t bother with collision or comprehensive coverage as it will never be worthwhile to undergo repairs if the car is in an accident. Instead, use the savings to make sure that you have a solid roadside assistance plan from AAA or another nationwide provider.
  • Decide on an exit strategy before you buy. Odds are some major expenses will eventually pop up, so decide what your cost threshold is going to be. If you’re facing a repair bill that is more than what you paid, you may just wish to get rid of the car by donating it to the countless charities that accept cars in any conditions. Or, if the proposed Cash for Clunkers bill passes, you may find that $400 hunk of junk is now worth $4,500 towards the purchase of a more fuel efficient new car!

Your new ride may be a bit less stylish than you are accustomed to, but saving mountains of cash is always in style!

11 Responses to “Buying a Car for $500 (Not a Typo)”

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  1. alison says:

    That is really interesting! We literally traded our 2006 Mini Cooper for a 1998 Audi with 167,000 miles on it. (We got a big chunk of cash as well as the car.) But our new goal is to see it make a quarter million miles. Hopefully upkeep won’t cost too much!

  2. I totally understand buying cars for little to nothing. I myself used to only pay cash for cars.

  3. travis says:

    does anyone know where i can find a somewhat nice and running car for 1,000 or less???
    either e-mail me or call at 530-440-0550

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