Recently, I wrote a blog entry (Click Here) that said the biggest money mistake in my early adult years was wasting a perfectly good $3000 savings on a down payment and loan for a $13,000 nearly new NISSAN Versa Hatchback. If you re-read a bit further, you will see that I ended up paying $20,000 for that car, which I plan to drive until it dies a slow death. But writing that blog made me wonder: what if I was smart enough to just buy a car with straight cash for $3000? What could I have gotten?
For this exercise, I assume that all cars are being bought from a private party via Craigslist, newspaper classifieds, or some other method that is not a dealership. As of February 2015, in no particular order, my top 5 list of used cars under $3000 is as follows:
1) Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2001 Model)
According to Kelley Blue Book, I can get this entry level luxury sedan in good condition for $2748. That’s quite a steal if you ask me. Plus, it still looks pretty slick for a car that’s almost 15 years old.
2) BMW X5 (2000 Model)
This shnazy sports activity vehicle was the very first vehicle every produced in the United States by BMW. If it were not for the success of this vehicle and others like it, the economy of the South would not be as strong and diversified as it is today. This SUV is available currently for between $2700 and $3200. But if you play your cards right, I’m sure you can get someone to sell you one for $2500 or lower.
3) Ford Mustang (2003 Model)
If you can find this car in excellent condition (which likely), you can buy it for under $3000. In fact, KBB says that we should be able to buy one for $2964. That’s a real deal. Pump up the engine package and the price will rise, but it is still very affordable. The price is main reason why this is usually everyone’s first sports car.
4) Honda Civic (2002 Model)
This right here is ol’ reliable. If you need a car and do not have a lot of money, then the Honda Civic is your car. Not to mention, several independent body shops specialize in Honda vehicles so this makes maintenance very affordable as well. Did I mentioned that it has whopping 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway?
5) Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab (2002 Model)
I honestly do not have a preference for the F-150, Silverado, or Ram—all of them are good sturdy trucks for every day normal use. Not only that, they tend to be cheaper than other vehicles but are still very easy to sell once you decide to upgrade in car.
What’s your Top 5?