How to Buy a Used Car if You Don’t Have Cash Upfront

As I alluded to in yesterdays post, buying a brand new car is a poor choice. Cars depreciate quickly and with every time you drive them. They lose a lot of their value when you drive them off of the lot too so if you need a car, don’t buy new!

Lots of people, particularly students I think, believe that their only option is to buy new to take advantage of financing and leasing deals that are available on new cars, but that’s not the case. You also have the option to buy used, even if you don’t have the upfront cash for it.

I know what it’s like to be low on cash (each and every semester I have to shell out thousands of dollars for tuition! And then I get hit hard with textbook fees!) but you still have options with buying used.

Take Public Transportation Until you Have Enough Saved

Many students actually don’t need a car. One good option to buying a used car if you don’t have the cash right away is to save up money until you do have enough saved.

Take public transportation until that time. While it might be inconvenient it’s still a foolproof way of getting in the car you want. Plus you’ll probably be so motivated by having to sit on a bus that you’ll make money faster and it will be very gratifying when you do have your car.

Don’t Buy Any Old Used Car

Just because you can afford the car, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. If you have to wait for a little while to save up some extra cash so you can get a better car, do it!

Buying a beater can put you in the exact same situation, just in a few months from now, instead of right now. Your future self will thank you for forgoing that junk car and waiting for a better one.

Do your research – for instance use Kelley Blue Book – to really look at what a car should be worth. If they are selling it way less than that, there is something wrong!

Get a Car Loan

Typically, private sales are a better way to save money on a car, by buying it off of (for instance) Craigslist. Car loans are available through some banks and private car loan brokers.

The interest rate on car loans may not be as bad as you think, either. Of course save up as much as possible before you have to take out a loan but if a small loan (with hopefully a lower interest rate) is what is between you and a reliable car that will last you for years, it might be worth it. To see rates on car loans click here.

Buy at a Dealer

This is the least preferable option to get you in a car, because dealers not only can be shady and have higher prices, but they also offer financing usually at higher interest rates.

Only use this option if you are in a true bind, but exhaust the other ones first!


It’s not impossible to get into a car you want if you don’t have the cash upfront, it’s just preferable that you do!


Save Money on Your Car as a Student

If you have a car as a student, there are some things to think about with respect to how to cut down the cost. We all know how expensive cars can be and they can be just an added, unnecessary cost when you are going to school. Sometimes though students need to have access to a car.

car parked


This is especially true for working students and students that have long breaks between classes. Alternatively, if the school is in a location that is either lacking in public transportation or has unsafe transportation.

If you need a car to get to and from school, then you should be finding ways to save money on it. Here are a few helpful ways:

Don’t Pay for School Parking

Most colleges will have a student parking lot, which you can pay to park in. The premium to park can be quite high and can be an unnecessary expense.

Instead of paying to park in the student parking lot, scope out some free parking in residential areas around the school.

This has the bonus of a free workout if you have to walk a couple of blocks from your car to class.

Don’t Waste Gas by Taking the Car Out on Spares

I know a lot of students who will take their car for a spin on a spare, so that they can burn time or even go to get food somewhere.

Everything that you need is on most campuses, so why waste the gas and money driving around aimlessly or for something you “need” that you could get on campus?

It’s pointless, so don’t do it. It’s a waste of money!

If you stuck around and studied instead, maybe your grades would be a bit better :)

Save on Insurance

Car insurance can easily be one of the more expensive things about having a car. Saving on car insurance can be a good way to cut back on the cost of car ownership.

Try raising your deductible or shopping around for rates. Click here to make a car insurance comparison which may help you save a couple of dimes.

Buy a Used (But Reliable) Car

Buying a new car is a huge waste of money. A car (especially a new one) loses a lot of it’s value when you drive it off the lot. Furthermore, the car may not suit your needs for the period of time that it’s worth something.

Buy a used but also reliable car. This will decrease the amount that you put out initially to buy the car, but also will ensure that your car won’t break down causing ugly repair bills.


A penny saved is a penny earned and this is especially true if you are a student.


Cheapest Places to Retire

If you are like much of the world, you are concerned about retirement because you haven’t put away enough money. Alternatively, you put away more than enough but want to make it stretch so you can enjoy some luxuries in your golden years.

North America can be a pretty expensive place to retire. Living costs in general are much higher than that of many other countries and, on top of that, we’re taxed on our retirement income over a certain amount.

Retire in Uruguay

Uruguay is a great country in which to retire. A South American country surrounded by Argentina, Brazil and the ocean, the weather is pretty constant without any huge and drastic weather patterns and it doesn’t get cold in the winters.

Uruguay is subtropical, so it has actual seasons (which is nice if you are coming from North America) and the president of the country, José Mujica, has received some attention lately with respect to his frugal and modest lifestyle, Robinhood-like past (stealing from the rich, giving to the poor) and progressive views. Plus, cannabis is legal there :)

cheap places to retire

This is the president’s luxury ride

The best part is, if you retire in Uruguay, the country does not tax any pensions or social security income you get. Furthermore, renting a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre of the capital city, Montevideo would be under $600/month, and public transportation is super cheap as well.

Retire in Bali

Aside from the fact that Bali is absolutely gorgeous, it’s also a great place to retire.

Bali is known for it’s amazing beaches, quaint and authentic culture, and laid back lifestyle. It’s incredibly cheap too.

Apparently, you can rent a 1 bedroom place for under $420/month  in the city centre in Bali, and going out to an inexpensive restaurant costs less than our at-home meals here in North America.

Bali is an island so is surrounded by water, and what better way to stay healthy by swimming every day or hiking in the monkey forests?

Retire in Malta

Malta is one of the smallest countries (by land size) in Europe, but is absolutely breathtaking. The country is on the Mediterranean sea and you could rent a 1 bedroom apartment there for (depending on the apartment) under $600. It’s a tiny, quaint little country full of charm.

cheapest places to retire


Since it’s on the Mediterranean sea, despite the higher prices of many things (ie wine, beer, food), it’s the perfect climate for retirement.

Plus, look at how beautiful the buildings and the ocean is!


There are a lot of great places to retire in North America, but if you are looking for a lower cost of living and a more comfortable climate all year round, the three countries mentioned above will probably scratch that itch in retirement. Regardless of where your retire, you’ll want to maximize the amount of money you retire with. This could be a difficult and daunting task, however there is help out there. Like, for example this superannuation fund does all the dirty work for you.

Do your research when looking at how much money you will need to retire.

Tips to Improve Your Job Prospects and Be More Marketable

Being a student can be equal parts fun, challenge and frustration. In our college years, we encounter people and viewpoints typically not possible. Academics teach skills beyond textbooks, such as meeting deadlines and prioritizing.

However, parlaying college into a career can be frustrating. Employers also want practical skills, which starts with the questions: ‘What can you do?’ and ‘What have you done?’ This can be difficult for young adults who have been buried in coursework and doing odd jobs.

Many college students approach graduation with a resume that relies mostly on their textbook knowledge. A tight job market and repaying student loans also causes anxiety.

Thankfully, making yourself more marketable can be fairly simple.

Here are some strategies to consider:

Manage Your Social Media Wisely

You can set yourself apart from a crowded field by responsibly managing your social media.

What is considered ‘appropriate behavior’ depends on many factors. College students and working professionals are often held to different standards, including social media use. Employers and graduate programs will likely turn to social media for a sense of who you are.

Pictures of parties or pranks are standard parts of college life. However, how will this reflect on you as a job applicant?

We are commonly judged by the company we keep. Comments from friends may reflect poorly on you, as well. You should consider deleting profanities and comments about politics, religion or sex. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion, but consider how comments will be taken by others.

Some best practices for social media include:

Know how to:

1) delete/hide past posts

2) Limit friends from tagging  you in their posts

3) change your cover photo, if needed.

When posting, assume you have the career you want. If you want to work as an IT Specialist, consider how an IT professional would post.

Would they post the picture or comment you are about to send?

By asking these questions in advance, young adults can ensure their social media will not be an issue as their careers grow.

Get Experience By Offering Your Skills and Time

Time is perhaps the most precious asset we have. Our skills are of equal or close importance. College students can leverage their digital age skills and flexible schedules gain valuable experience.

Elliott Broidy is an investment manager who earned financial experience by starting a Laundromat in college. The money management skills he learned are still used today.

Young adults tend to be very tech savvy, particularly with internet technology. Although big companies are prized for internships, small businesses across America lack the time, staffing or expertise to expand. You can gain multiple skills and a great referral by offering skills to a small business.

How? Here are some thoughts

Any given small business doesn’t know how to open or manage social media. Many small business owners use their personal Facebook pages for company purposes, which affects credibility. You can offer to manage or setup a small company’s social media, even for free. The resume building value of ‘Social Media Intern’ for ‘Company XYZ’ will pay for itself.

The same approach applies to any industry. If you want to work in financial services, approach a local office and volunteer IT skills or even to answer phones. You can avoid applying against hundreds of other resumes by proactively offering your time.

Fast food restaurants, call centers and retail shops all have multiple facets. Accounting majors can offer to help with inventory or future writers may volunteer for drafting memos or writing on the company blog. Be creative and match your skills with what is needed.

Use What You Know and Build Your Brand

Opportunity is not always obvious. Sometimes, we must find value by looking at what’s available around us. You can also gain credibility by using social media as a branding tool.