Car buying is a deeply emotional process. While most people think of it as a logical financial decision, feelings play a larger role than anything else. Constant thought of what others will think, how the car will look on Instagram– how “nice” it is; all of this can cloud your judgement. The fact is, while the “student debt crisis” takes over headline after headline, there is more outstanding car debt than student debt in the US. To the tune of $1.2 trillion, bad car buying decisions plague this country in a massive way. This needs to end, and so I am writing this so you have something to link your friends when they give your used wheels the side-eye. Without further adieu, here are the reasons the 4-figure car purchase is the way to go.

The “New Car Tax”

Everybody knows this one, and yet, we fall into the same old trap. The moment a new car is driven off of the lot, the value plummets. Is this due to mileage? No. New cars on dealer lots can rack up hundreds of miles due to test drives, and the value doesn’t change. Simply, the idea of a “new car” has value in our society. So you are, quite literally, paying for nothing. This causes people to buy from unreliable brands like Nissan and Kia in order to get a “new car” for a low price. I don’t have to tell you not to do this, because you probably can’t for less than $10k anyway!

Affordable Luxury

Just because a car is older and cheaper, doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty. $9999 is an amazing car budget. For example, the main picture on this article is a 1990’s Lincoln Town Car, which goes for $1000-3000 on the used market with decent mileage. Only a couple thousand for an amazing suspension, beautiful classic looks, and astoundingly comfy seats. On the higher end, E90 BMW 3 series are available easily for less than $10000. A wonderful combination of sport, luxury, and sex appeal. If you think cheap has to mean low-quality, you haven’t been looking.

Cost of Repair

This one’s easy. Older cars tend to have cheaper parts and better aftermarkets. This means whether you do the work yourself, or let the dealer take care of it, your repair bills are going down. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it remains a general rule nonetheless.


They just don’t make ’em like they used to. An early 2000’s Lexus LS400 was a luxury showstopper that could run forever. Costing about $2000-3000 for a decent example now, these absolute zombies could run for 300-400 thousand miles. No new car is expected to reach numbers like this, even from the same historic Toyota brand. Older cars were, in general, made to last much longer than the newer ones. Not only that, but there is better information out to inform your purchasing decisions. Odds are if you are buying a car for under $10k, your local mechanic has had enough time to get to know the reputation of most options pretty well. You’ll be paying much less to get much more out of your purchase.