I am in the process of re/building my credit, as I have never had a credit card until recently (I did everything with debit or checks). I do however have a decently sized number of student loans (on the order of $20k). They are dispersed between some higher-interest loans (mostly at 4.5% but some at 6.8%) and about half in lower interest loans (around 3.4%). In the past I was not always able to pay them much less on time, which naturally hurt my credit. After having been in a good paying job for well over a year, I have been paying regularly and kept up with them.
Due to some events that I won't go into, I'll be coming into quite a bit of money, relative to me. Suffice it to say, it's enough to pay off all of my debt and then some.
I would like to buy a house in the next few years. Due to housing prices around here, it will likely be on the order of $400-500k In order to do this I know I'll need a large down payment of at least %10 if not %20 to avoid the costly mortgage insurance.
Now related to the car: So far, my wife and I have gotten by using Lyft and public transportation. By Lyfting only when necessary and taking the bus/walking otherwise (I can bus directly to and from work luckily) we're able to save ~$200 per month over the cost of owning a car (after gas, insurance, etc).
So, after paying off my debts and saving some (ensuring maxed out 401k/IRA contributions for the year), is it worth the cost to buy a car? I would basically be paying $~200/mo for the convenience of owning a car and for the bump in credit that it would bring (assuming paying on time), potentially getting a better interest rate on the mortgage I hope to get.
I'm wondering approximately how much this benefit will offset the cost of the car. If it's enough, even, say, equivocal to $100-150/mo in value, then it makes owning a car more worthwhile to us. Lyfting and busing are great, but having a car gives much more freedom. I also have to consider the implications of not either putting that money directly into savings or into the down payment.
The logical next 'bonus' question is, if I have the chance to buy a car basically outright, is it worth it to still get a short-term car loan and pay it off quickly? I assume that paying cash for the car gives no credit boost.