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March 31, 2011 8:57 AM   Subscribe

How to get some wheels & get outta this town?

I have $1000 cash and $4000 credit limit with no balance. I have zero debt. I have no car. I have no job and no prospects of finding a job in the place where I am now.

I need to move. The obvious choice is 6 hours away, "back home" around where I grew up where things seem more favorable to my chosen field than where I am now, and where I know people, have contacts, etc. I'd most likely need a car to move, and to get around once I moved.

I don't think I really want a $1000 car, and I know I don't want to max out my credit card yet again. Is extracting $1000 - $2000 from my credit card in the form of cash advances a workable idea in order to get a $2000-$3000 used car? Or should I buy the best ~$1000 clunker I can find and hope it'll get me where I need to go for a bit?

If I had a job I think I could handle a sub-$200/mo payment (for a $5k car loan) but I am pretty sure it's very hard to get a fair car loan without a job, right?

Any help appreciated. I know virtually nothing of finance and credit beyond what I've typed here. I'm probably ignorant of much so if you know something I've missed, please share.
posted by distressingly thick sheets to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rent a pickup truck from enterprise. Move your stuff (might take one or two trips -- you can usually snag a free unlimited mileage deal); drop the truck back off where you picked it up, and have a friend (or bus) take you to your final destination. If the latter part sounds no good, see if you can arrange a one-way rental, although be warned that it could cost you double.

Once you're there, start feeling out your job prospects. Don't buy a car until you have a job, and move someplace where you can walk to the food store, etc. (OR move someplace where you simply don't need a car)

Is there any reason why you evidently have no debt or expenses, despite having no job?
posted by schmod at 9:05 AM on March 31, 2011

Response by poster: I have expenses. Scraping by on unemployment. Unsustainable.
posted by distressingly thick sheets at 9:15 AM on March 31, 2011

s extracting $1000 - $2000 from my credit card in the form of cash advances a workable idea

Don't do this. Cash advances are usually at sky high interest, 25-30%, or worse. For a small car loan a bank or credit union might give you a loan at a higher interest due to the higher risk associated with you being unemployed. But the high interest they will charge will not be in the 25-30% range of a cash advance.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Maybe something else to consider:

When I lost my job and my car (and got dumped), I decided to hightail it out of where I was living and I moved back to Boston. I didn't need a car. It saved me a lot of money on the actual purchase of a car, the high gas prices, maintenance and insurance. Also, I was able to find a job a lot easier in a larger city. And since it's a college city, there were plenty of places to rent ASAP.

How did I get my stuff 1100 miles to Boston? I rented a van from Alamo for $150 (using coupons) and drove myself and my stuff up there.

So, consider moving to a large city where you can just take the subway/train/bus and (maybe) find a job easier.
posted by KogeLiz at 9:33 AM on March 31, 2011

Personally, I would go with the $1,000 clunker option. I would not feel comfortable putting the more on credit cards if I were unemployed. Because if you think about it, even if the worst-case scenario could happen (clunker dies), and you could replace it with another clunker for the same money or less. If the worst case scenario doesn't happen, you're ahead of the game.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 9:38 AM on March 31, 2011

I don't think you should buy a $1000 car unless you also have $1000 set aside for emergency repairs. The car is priced at $1000 for a reason. Are you moving back in with your parents? Can they let you use a car for interviews until you land something and buy a car?
posted by COD at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2011

Response by poster: Are you moving back in with your parents?

No, but occasional use of someone else's car is not out of the question.

Thanks for the responses so far. You have me thinking.
posted by distressingly thick sheets at 10:13 AM on March 31, 2011

I bought a $3,000 clunker a few years ago in a similar situation. It was a financial move that I knew everyone would frown upon, but I HAD to have a car. (My solution to avoiding the frowns and lectures from those with jobs who wouldn't approve? I didn't tell them.)

I paid it off (early) and still have the car. It drives like a dream, despite high miles. If you do this, you might want to consider a Subaru.
posted by Sheppagus at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2011

I'm a beater man, like my father and his father before him. You just have to have wheels unless you live in a hive. Here's two articles that may be of use to you...

Eleven Tips For Buying A $1,000 Beater On Craigslist
What would you buy for $1000?

If you can sell some junk - and maybe some plasma - you can get up to the $1500 level like these articles from the Car Lust Blog - The $1,500 Challenge
posted by codswallop at 11:02 AM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

keep in mind a $1000 car will cost you title fees, registration fees, sales taxes & insurance to make it legal. Then having possible repairs early on & if your moving to another state the cost of reregistration,etc., etc. Rent a van.
posted by patnok at 11:05 AM on March 31, 2011

Pack your most important stuff into big boxes. Ship the boxes, sell everything else. Hop the bus to your new destination, bum rides with fam and buds after you get there. Get job, buy car, buy beer for fam and buds. Added benefit: Selling big stuff puts cash in your pocket. This isn't do-able for everyone, but it's an option.
posted by sageleaf at 12:11 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

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