I am starting a new position somewhere that I'll absolutely need a car, so I have to buy one. But I have a poor credit score, so the best APR rate I can receive is about 18%. That means financing a car isn't really an option for me.
I also have lots of expenses in the coming few months because of moving etc., for which I need to use a large part of my savings, so I'll be left with little cash in hand. The only cars I could afford to buy without financing (i.e. buy it out at once) would be some old affordable car, say a 2008-2010 Nissan or Hyundai with at least 100k miles mileage.
I'm new to the US and never owned a car here, and even before coming here I had a car only for a very short period, so I'm totally agnostic about car maintenance and expenses, especially in the US. I'm also not a handy person at all and can't do the simplest diagnosis or repairs myself (I barely know how to fill in the tank of a car!). Also, I'm totally unfamiliar with car leasing, which I thought might be a more affordable and suitable option right now, despite the total loss, if my low credit score wouldn't be a problem for leasing (as I said, I have no idea how that thing works, so don't know if credit score matters for it).
So, I am looking for advice on how to make this work. In particular, I'd like to ask for some information and your opinion on the following:
- Will I be able to finance a <6 year old reliable car for less than 250$ per month with a low (very thin) credit score?
- What would be the total cost, including insurance, maintenance, and fuel, for an affordable 2008 sedan or compact car (e.g. a Hyundai Elantra) with ~120k miles on the clock. In terms of usage, I think in average I will be driving ~40 mins per day in the city/suburb during weekdays, and ~2 hours on the road in addition to that during the weekends.
- Do you think leasing would be a better and more affordable option for a year or two or buying an old car?
- Any other suggestions (other than "don't get a car")?
Keep in mind:
- I know ideally I should wait 6-12 months to build up credit (which I hear should be quick, given I never had any major debts, only one delayed ~50$ bill in my entire credit history) and then finance a car with a reasonable APR, but I can't do that, because I'm moving to the new place soon, and I'm definitely going to need a car there from day one. The place I'm moving to is one of those that you can't even find a CVS or Walgreens inside the town and you have to drive 10 minutes on the road to get a bag chips!
- I went over the answers to this question, because I was thinking about having a co-signer. First, if that's an option, I'd appreciate some information on that. Second, the answers were terribly disappointing and potentially offensive! I have poor credit score, but that doesn't mean I don't pay my bills or always take loans and don't pay them back. The only delayed payment I ever had was a 50$ mobile bill that I just forgot to pay! It's disappointing how some people immediately judge you because of your credit score.