In a previous life, I sold cars for a living.

New car buyers have a unique smile as they slide into their never been sat in seats, inhale the intoxicating new car fragrance, and carefully study the complex dashboard layout to make sure they don’t break anything before putting the car in drive and gingerly inch it towards a street full of legitimate threats: other drivers.

Used car buyers often smile as they complete their transaction, but their purchase carries a variety of unknowns.  What was in these seats?  WHO was in these seats?  What is this aroma which replaced the new car smell?  And does everything still work on the dashboard?  Let’s face it: buying used has a stigma.  However, I’m here to say that you shouldn’t feel any sense of shame or remorse for buying pre-owned.

Here are 5 reasons why my family buys used:

Depreciation

A new car loses about 60% of its value after 5 years.  Yes, you need reliable transportation to invest in your career and your family, but don’t fool yourself to believing your new car is an investment.   It’s not.

Value

You’ll win when you disconnect your self-esteem from what you drive and seek out older, well maintained vehicles.   Search for the word ‘senior’ on Craigslist and see what shows up.  Grandma’s car is often for sale because the grandkids wouldn’t dare scoop the loop in a Buick.  However, you’ll enjoy a sense of satisfaction when you know you paid $1800 for a safe, reliable car with 53,000 miles and no rust- my most recent find.

Insurance

When the car is worth less, it costs less for your insurance company to replace.

You may even find your car’s value is low enough that it’s no longer worth having collision insurance.  Your insurance company won’t pay for any damage to your vehicle, but you may sense it’s worth the risk when you consider the value of your vehicle and how prone its primary driver is to accidents.

Registration

Most often, your car registration fees are largely determined by the age (value) of your car.

History Reports

The unknowns are what keep many from buying used.  In the past, you had to take the sales rep or car owner at their word.  Today, you can get good clues to a vehicle’s history through a report from Carfax or AutoCheck.

Buying a used vehicle is less convenient and carries some risk, but a little extra work to find the right used car can make positive changes to your budget or help you save for that Italian vacation you’ve been dreaming of!

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