How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

Jun 22, 2011 | Get Out of Debt

As I mentioned on Monday, we finally got our new car this weekend! Here's a brief background on our story…
Part 1:
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
Finding a new car

We have been a 1-car family for almost a year. We did it to save money, and to help us get out of debt faster. We told ourselves we wouldn't go back to two cars until our debt was paid off. Let me tell you, that was motivation for me especially!
We started shopping for cars about 6 months ago. We set a strict budget and started looking for:
  • A dependable car from a brand we trust.
  • An AMAZING DEAL.
  • A 5-seater with space in the back for our dog so he doesn't have to take up an entire seat.
  • A car with gadgets and gizmos if possible.
  • Everything we wanted, while putting NO money down. This was the tough one.
  • A short-term deal, 2 years or less was preferred (we'll need more space when we have 3+ kids)
  • Leather was a plus, but not a deal breaker (Our dog sheds a lot so leather is easier to keep hair off of, and to clean when our son spills stuff).
We decided to look into leasing rather than buying, since we think this is somewhat of a temporary fix (2 yrs or so).
The good news? We found exactly what we were looking for, and MORE! Here's how we did it:
  • We did a lot of research. We read reviews about cars, looked at ratings, compared cars, and spent a lot of time online finding out what the best deals were. Research is important!
  • We decided to take over someone's lease. We searched leasetrader.com and swapalease.com to find our car. There are people that need to get out of their leases for whatever reason, so you pay a small fee to transfer their lease into your name, and you simply take over the payments! This is what allowed us to get a brand new car for no money down. It's a great deal if you take the time to really look into the car before taking over the lease. ***Note: I liked swapalease.com better than leasetrader.com. Lease trader doesn't keep their inventory updated so we wasted a lot of time calling on cars that had been “sold” months before.

(The car we got was a cute old guy's who had his license taken away because he was going in for heart surgery. It only has 18 months left on the lease [we're extending it for 6 more months, though], has very few miles on it, and is in immaculate care! He was also so desperate to get rid of it quickly that he offered a $1,400 cash incentive to take it off his hands, bringing the monthly payment down to our exact budget!! Taking over his lease was the perfect solution for us.)

  • We set a budget and STUCK with it! Our budget was actually pretty low, so I got worried after months of finding NOTHING in our range that our expectations were unrealistic. My husband was the strong one, though, and kept saying “patience will pay off”. He was right! Set a budget and DON'T BUDGE – no matter how tempting it is.
  • We checked the sites often. In order to get the best deals on anything online you have to be willing to check your computer OFTEN. Good deals come and go fast, and that was definitely the case with swapalease! We found our car the first few hours he posted it online. We never would've gotten the great deal had we not been the first to jump on it.
  • We were patient. This was the most important, and HARDEST, step of all. Like I mentioned before, we started looking for cars 6 months ago! We found lots of cars we loved and were tempted to snatch up, but waited for
    • Our debt to be fully paid off
    • The perfect deal to come along
    • The right timing
    • Once we found the car, we had to wait to be approved for financing.
    • Once approved for financing, we had to wait another month for all the paperwork to be transferred into our name.
    • Once transferred into our name, we had to wait another 2 weeks to pick it up from Arizona! This was the hardest step. By waiting, though, we saved over $120 on our flight.
The process took months and months, but just like my husband said…
patience pays off!
We are soooo loving our new car and hope that my experience helps you somehow, too!

 

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
Part 2…
Making an old car look new again!

My husband is still driving our old car that I've had since high school. She (yes, she's a she) is dependable and runs great, but spent many years outside and in college parking lots. She was having some cosmetic issues, to say the least!

Notice the huge dent and fading paint?

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

The paint was fading BIG TIME all throughout the car

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

Another view of the sexy dent…
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
More chipping paint
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

There were lots of dings and chips on the bumper too. You can see them if you look closely…
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

The car is getting old, has 100K+ miles on it, and was starting to look ugly with a capital U. We thought about selling it, but kept saying “if we could just make it look like new again, this baby could run for another 10 years.”

So…we were patient, we did our research, and here's how we went from that, to THIS:

How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

The dent is completely gone, and the paint is gorgeous!
  • We got it painted and fixed at Maaco. I heard bad things about “a Maaco paint job” so we were a little hesitant. However…we needed our entire car painted, and needed our fender replaced (the huge dent) and they were leaps and bounds cheaper than other places!
We got two other bids. One was for $2,500, one was for $3,500 (to only paint the front end of the car!!). And Maaco?
Only $600!!
We are super happy with the results. It only took 3 days, the cost was exactly what they quoted us, and the paint job seriously looks amazing…I don't know what everyone was complaining about!

  • We waited for their 1/2 off sale. A few times a year they discount their paint service. We waited…and waited…and waited…but FINALLY the sale came which brought the cost to just $670 (with tax) for everything!
Remember,
patience pays off!!!
  • We checked daily deal sites (like CityDeals, Groupon, Plum District, Screamin' Daily Deals, etc.) for car detailing. You shouldn't ever have to pay full-price for things, remember?! We got a discounted full detail and will make the inside look as new as the outside very soon.

By putting less than $700 into our car we extended its' “life” for years. Whether we keep her around for another decade or whether we sell her (and earn WAY more than we would've before!), it was well worth the investment.

No more chips on the bumper…
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
No more dent and fading paint…
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
Look at the great paint job!
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
No more faded patches…
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
Did I mention NO MORE DENT??
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!
How to get a new car for cheap, and how to make an old car new again!

Here are some other articles I found with ways to keep your car looking like new:

  • Know how to safely remove spots and stains from your car (Details HERE)
  • Check your owner's manual for tips (more tips HERE)
  • Know how to clean it well, and clean it safely (learn how HERE)
  • Use petroleum jelly on your rubber strips (read more HERE)
So now my family is enjoying two “new” cars, for way less than we ever thought possible. Hope this helps you if you are ever needing a new car, or needing to spruce up an old one!

4 Comments

  1. melimba

    hey team page!
    Just remembered you had this blog, Jordan! You have some awesome stuff on here!!
    Also, congrats on the new car! And, hello, your old car looks awesome! I can’t believe that transformation?!?! CRAZY!
    Good work all around!

    Reply
  2. Megan

    Kind of bummed I was hoping I could see the steps with the making the old car new again but the pictures are unavailable. I was looking to spruce up our vehicles since we can not afford a new one at this time!. Is it possible to reset the pictures or email me them πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • FunCheapOrFree

      Not sure why the pictures are gone! I will fix that asap, stay tuned!

      Reply
      • Launna

        A friend showed me your blog post about your van, but I can’t tell what kind of van it is. Would you mind sharing the type of van you drive?

        Reply

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