How to Purchase a Vehicle


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Come December, we will have been married for 4 years. During that 4 years, we have sold 2 vehicles and paid cash for another 3. Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about cars in the past 4 years.

The first vehicle we purchased together was purchased entirely because it ran and we could afford it. It had a bullet hole through the trunk and was older than the Lord of the Rings movie series. But it ran (the heat didn’t work), so for us, it worked.

Our second car was purchased privately with our tax refund. It was much newer, it ran well, and the heat worked. It went with us on the move from Missouri to Iowa, and we didn’t have any major issues with it. It was only when we realized that 2 car seats wouldn’t fit in the back seat that we decided to save up for our third car and upgrade.

The process of purchasing a new-to-us vehicle was multi-faceted. First, we did a lot of research on the types of cars that would work for us. Since our main criteria was “must fit 2 car seats,” this didn’t really narrow it down between car, SUV, or minivan. We decided that we are both much too young to drive a mini van, so that option was nixed based on preference.

The second criteria was looking at all available options of vehicle. I have always been an SUV person, and we ultimately decided that an SUV would be best for making long road trips. We used to read reviews and ratings for several makes and models, eventually narrowing down our favorite options between the Honda Pilot, Chevy Equinox, or Ford Escape.

Finally, we crunched numbers to set a goal for how much we could realistically save and how quickly. We worked hard and saved much faster than we planned, and I watched for local cars within our price range and specifications.

Not even a week after we started seriously looking, we were driving our new-to-us 2007 Ford Escape, thanks to a posting on After we had inquired about a few other vehicles, this car was posted late on a Friday night. We drove to the dealership early Saturday morning and by noon we were driving home our SUV. We were able to trade in our previous car, pay cash for the remainder, and the dealership even handled the registration. No long DMV lines for us!

I appreciate how much the internet has changed the process of shopping for cars. Before I purchased my first SUV, I spent hours at the *gasp* local library, reading through several editions of Consumer Reports to compare makes, models, and the differences between the various years of certain makes and models.

Yes, I am that old.

And I’m also very grateful that allowed me to peruse and research in the comfort of 2am in my pajamas. With ice cream.

If you have ever purchased a car using or have any other tips for when we inevitably purchase another vehicle, drop me a comment and let me know!


{This post was sponsored by All opinions are completely my own. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}