The Benefits of Buying a Used Car

Over the past weekend, I heard three different people talking about buying cars. All three people were in different financial situations and phases of their lives. The first person was a teenager who is about to get her license. Another was a friend of mine who has a great job and is ready to get rid of the car she has been driving for the past 5 years. The third was an older man whose car broke down last week. Their situations were all different from each other’s, but I noticed they all had one thing in common. They are all planning on buying a used car.

This got me thinking – did I make a mistake when I bought my car brand new? I started to think about the benefits of buying a used car, and realized there are more than I thought.

  • Lower Price – The obvious benefit of buying a used car is how much less you will be spending! I remember my sister telling me when I was looking for a car right after high school that I didn’t want to work just to pay for a car. That was great advice, and I went with an older, affordable car instead of the shiny convertible I originally had my eyes on. Having a lower monthly payment allowed me to save more money and have more freedom to spend money on thingsI wouldn’t have been able to do if I had a hefty car payment.
  • Slower depreciation – Driving a brand new car off of the dealership’s lot can result in immediate depreciation of just over 10%. But that isn’t all – in the first year of owning the car, the car will lose an average of 20% of its value. That means a car you paid $30,000 for can be worth about $25,000 after just one year. Buying a used car can help you avoid paying for depreciation, because depending on how old the car is, the previous owner may have paid for most of it already.
  • Lower sales tax – Depending on the state you live in, the tax you pay for owning a car can get pretty expensive. If you don’t plan for how to pay for it ahead of time, you might have to dip into your emergency fund to pay the bill on time. However, if you buy a used car, your excise tax will be significantly lower than what you would pay for a new car’s tax. There is nothing like getting an unexpected bill in the mail to make you regret buying that beautiful car for a few minutes.
  • Less stress ­– One reason I wish I bought my car used is that it would have come with a couple little minor flaws already, like a ding from a carriage at the grocery store, or a tiny dent from someone else’s car door. When these happen now, I get a little stressed out! Maybe it’s not a selling point for buying a used car, but it definitely would be nice to be a little more carefree with cosmetic flaws!
  • Features you don’t use – A used car often comes with featuresthat you are excited to have, such as heated seats or a sunroof, and you don’t pay extra for them. When you buy a new car, every feature is just another charge toward the total price of the car. The packages offered of different features often have some that you will never use. I can tell you from experience that my car can connect to wifi, but I’ve never used it. I’m sure that cost me extra money, but it came with the rest of the car, so I had no choice! In a couple of years, many cars will probably be able to do this too, and you won’t be paying extra for that because it’s in a used car.

In the end, I’m not mad that I bought my car because I love it and I’m in a situation where I can afford the payment. However, I can definitely see why people buy used cars and would probably consider buying a used vehicle if I thought a little longer about the benefits.

If anyone is reading this blog in 2022 – I might be ready to sell my car by now. Does anyone want to buy it? It has wifi!

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