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How to Drive an Almost New Car for Almost Free

If you can forgo that new car smell to save a big lump of cash, follow this advice to ride in style.


  • Step 1: Study the market Study the used-car market. Determine what cars have the largest depreciation the first year and again around the fifth year.
  • Step 2: Buy a car Buy a car that is anywhere from one to two years old. Research the going rate for the car of your choice with the options you desire so you know how much you want to pay.
  • TIP: Negotiate a better deal. Be prepared to walk away from the sale if the price is not right.
  • Step 3: Take care of the car Take good care of the car. Keep the upholstery clean and all manufacture-recommended maintenance up to date.
  • Step 4: Keep the miles down Keep the miles on the car well below 100,000.
  • TIP: After 60,000 miles most cars will need expensive repairs that you will want to avoid.
  • Step 5: Research the sell price Research the market value for your car to determine how much it is worth now that you've been driving it.
  • Step 6: Sell the car Sell the car before the second steep depreciation, which is usually around the fifth year. Bask in the glory of knowing that you just spent a few years in a sweet ride for hardly anything.
  • FACT: In 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Toyota Camry the "Best Midsized Car for the Money."

You Will Need

  • A desire to save some cash
  • Research on the used-car market
  • Regular maintenance checkups
  • Negotiation skills (optional)

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