It’s one of the better times to buy a used car as 2023 comes to an end. The hard part is deciding which used cars are worth the current higher prices.
It’s also important to know what you can afford. Most experts recommend spending no more than 10% to 15% of your monthly income on a vehicle, which includes insurance, gas, and maintenance costs.
What Payment Can You Afford?
The median American income is around $74,000, which translates roughly to a monthly income of $6,166. Using the 10% to 15% rule, car expenses should be between $616 and $925 per month. However, this should include fuel costs, insurance, and maintenance, as mentioned above. Therefore, your car payment should only be a fraction of this. Ideally, it should be around 20% or less of your monthly car budget. That translates to less than $200.
Obviously, with that budget in mind, you’re probably not looking for expensive used cars, but rather affordable used cars with good reliability. Some of the most affordable and reliable used car options include popular names like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
Top 3 Affordable Used Cars
The Toyota Corolla generally always makes the short list of affordable used cars. Depending on the mileage, it’s usually easy to find one under $20,000 and even lower than that if you look at an older model. The Corolla retains its value well and is one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy.
Also on the short list of affordable used cars is the Honda Civic. Like the Corolla, the Civic isn’t hard to find in an affordable price range and it can last a long time with proper maintenance. The Civic also comes in a wide variety of styles and engines depending on the model year that you look at.
The Ford Focus is probably less in demand than models from Toyota and Honda, but that also makes it more affordable. Recent years of the Ford Focus typically run between $9,000 and $18,000.
Three More Affordable Used Cars
The Toyota Camry is another affordable and reliable entry that offers a bit more room than the Corolla. As used cars go, the Camry is one of the cheapest to maintain and routinely goes past 100,000 miles still running smoothly. Used models can be had between $8,000 and $12,000 in most places.
Another budget-friendly used car is the Hyundai Elantra. This four-door sedan offers good fuel economy, a comfortable interior, and an affordable price range between $6,000 and $8,000 for used models. Even a model as recent as 2016 should be easy to find under $10,000.
If you’re looking for something small and affordable, consider the Honda Fit. The Fit averages between $7,000 and $10,000 in price, but it’s great for city driving and has excellent fuel economy.
These are six great options for affordable used cars, but if you need a few more selections, some honorable mentions include the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, the Dodge Avenger, and the Kia Forte.
This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.