Looking to buy a BRAND spankin’ new car?… Don’t waste your money.

Most people I meet are pretty shocked to learn that I drive a newer Mustang. I think most of it is because my glasses and choice of dress screams more Toyota Prius than anything. But they always ask me one thing: “How the hell can you afford that?”

I’m a full time student juggling two jobs, an internship,  and an inconsistent sleep schedule. I don’t exactly scream “rich”.

A lot of people assume my parents bought the car for me, to which I say “hah!” My mother, who, mind you, is one of the most worrying, anxious people around, would never willingly purchase me a “speeding death trap”. To this day I can not ride in a vehicle with that woman without wishing I had a James Bond ejector seat.

I purchased the vehicle with my own money, and there’s only one secret as to how I can afford it: I didn’t buy the Damn thing new.

If you’re on a budget and want a nice car, buying a car brand new at the dealership is a huge mistake. For one, just because a vehicle is used doesn’t mean it’s inferior to the newer model, and secondly, the majority of that cars value is lost the second you drive it off the lot.

You need to keep in mind that vehicles go about 4 years without any drastic design changes.  I knew that I wanted the newest body style for my Mustang,  but I wasn’t willing to pay over $20,000 for a 2013. And ultimately, the differences between the 2010 Mustang (my model) and the 2013 were minimal. Only someone well versed in Mustangs like myself would really be able to tell the years apart.

So I got a car that looked almost just like the showroom model, but for half the price. And unless you just so happen to be purchasing the car in the year when they completely revamped the design, this is true for nearly all cars.

Had I bought my car new,  I also would have been forced to settle for the base model. These models are typically stripped down versions of the car – no bells and whistles included. They’re also the cheapest option. I managed to get a Mustang with leather seats instead of the standard cloth, a superior sound system, and built in Bluetooth and voice controls… all for less than a newer Mustang without those features.

Now I do understand people’s concerns about buying used: there’s always that belief that the vehicle will have something wrong with it, or that it won’t run as well as a new model. But from my perspective, a used car that is still running great just means that it’s a vehicle that is standing strong through the test of time.

And as far as vehicle defects go, that’s a valid concern that people reluctant to purchase used cars have, and it is indeed a risk you take. Even though my car was a few years old, there still were a few minor things that needed to be fixed. The dealer that I purchased the car from happily fixed the issues at no cost to me.

As long as you are working with a legitimate dealer with a good track record, and not some guy who has his car for sale on his lawn, you’re going to run into few issues. Most major dealers offer “certified” used cars, which basically means that the vehicle has been inspected, is in excellent working condition, and is worthy enough to be sold along side newer models.

Still, there are people, and possibly you are one of them, who are dead set on never purchasing a used car. But unless you seriously have the cash and don’t even remotely consider purchasing a new car an investment, then I’m going to think of you as a huge fool.

Take my story into consideration, and save yourself some cash! New isn’t necessarily better…

Weigh in below about your own experiences, and feel free to ask me any questions as well!

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