How to Buy / Own a Car for (almost) Free

You guys, a couple week ago, we sold our truck, a 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500 (diesel), that we bought for our dreamy year of travel (glamping), which never actually happened, (this was when we came up with the name “This Gypsy Family”).

We paid $26,800 for the truck last July and put about $2,300 into it to get it ready for heavy duty and full time towing (hopefully the new owner will actually put it all to use unlike us, haha!). We sold the truck for $29,000.

The truck we had before that was a 2007 Toyota Tundra that we bought in 2017 for $26,800. Does that number sound familiar? That’s the same amount we paid for the Silverado! The much newer truck! See a pattern here? We technically haven’t lost any money on the last two vehicles we’ve had besides a few hundred dollars on interest from the payments (and of course maintenance, which is unavoidable for any car, so I don’t really count that as a loss).

My first love. Really. I have never loved a vehicle so much. The day we sold this, I literally had tears in my eyes.

Regarding financing, I always overpay (towards the principle only, of course) 35% or more of the actual payment amount, or however much we can! Any little bit helps and you’ll end up paying less interest in the long run because you’ll pay it off sooner than if you’re paying just the standard payment every month. This is HUGE if you have an extremely high interest rate due to bad credit, no credit, etc.

When buying a car, I know that cool new Jaguar F-Pace you’ve been dyying to have is so tempting, but stop, take a deep breath and think about whether or not driving a beautiful car that is admitibly SO DOPE but won’t hold it’s value well is worth it to you over driving a more feasible and still nice option that holds value extremely well (think Toyota, Subaru, etc.), so well that you can possibly sell for close to what you bought it for, the same price, or more! It’s totally possible, guys! We’ve done it twice now and I don’t plan on stopping here.

I’ll be honest, you have to do your research. Start by making a list of the brands that hold their value well. List the models you like, then narrow it down by exploring the various packages/edititions to determine what you’d like to have in a car. The more rare and sought after packages can be great for resale (I’m always thinking about the exit strategy when Im buying something I know won’t last forever) and pricing it based on supply and demand, not just KBB value.

When you’re ready to sell your vehicle, first look at the KBB value, then check several websites for current listings of your same vehicle to see how much they’re going for. Great resources are, TRUECar, Craigslist, Letgo, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, etc. If you purchased a car that holds its value well, you may find that the going price is higher than KBB value and may even be as much or slightly more, yes I said more, than what you actually paid for it. At the end of the day, it’s all about supply and demand.

You’re probably wondering what vehicle we bought next, and after tons of searching (and putting it out into the universe, the powers that be, praying, whatever you want to call it), we found the exact truck my husband’s been wanting, another Tundra, but the TRD Pro package, which is the rarest of all trim levels (all I really cared about was getting another Tundra). (I’m pretty sure we’ll never not have a Tundra again because they’re freaking amazing. They have SO MUCH SPACE for families of 4 or 5, great for tall husbands, they’re safe, they look badass AND hold their value well). We pulled the trigger and bought it for…. you guessed it $28,615. Less than what we just got for the Silverado we just sold that was three years older! We had to do our research, though. This truck was located in Southern California (about three hours away) and we were willing to sacrifice six hours of time to get the exact thing we wanted.

Nice, right?! I LOVE it and there is soooo much space inside. It’s so nice to have that back, plus the entire back window rolls down, which is really cool and unique to Tundras.

Our new truck KBBs for $33K – $38K (fair market range)! Sometimes dealerships are too busy, or really just don’t fully understand the trim package of the vehicle and underprice it. This happened with our first Tundra. You can find deals like this, but you have to be patient and do your research! You will be more likely to run across this when you have a Toyota sitting on a Chevy/GMC lot or something like that. If this truck came from a Toyota lot, it would not have been priced below KBB, because they know their trucks.

Anyways, I just wanted to share our car buying journey with you because this is seriously unheard of and people are amazed when we talk about this. It’s really not that hard, but the key here is patience. The process of selling your vehicle private party for the same or more than what you paid for it can take months (but it’s so worth it)! You do have to be realistic though. If you’re looking on Craigslist, or other local car-buying sources and yours is significantly overpriced for no reason (no major additions, etc), it’s not going to work. DO price at the supply and demand rate, not what KBB says, unless KBB is higher, which of course, you should then follow KBB value, but this situation would be extremely rare.


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