DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a school counselor who works hard to earn money. I save as much as I can, and I have enough money to buy my first car. I think this is a big milestone in my life, and I am feeling excited and nervous at the same time. Do you have any recommendations for how someone should go about choosing the right car? A new car is a huge investment, and I want to make sure I am going about this the right way. -- New Car Owner, Norfolk, Virginia
DEAR NEW CAR OWNER: First of all, know that you can buy a good car without having to buy a brand-new car. Used cars are much less expensive and can be perfect, especially for a first car. Just make sure you have it thoroughly checked out so that you don’t have surprises down the line. You can also consider going to government auctions for cars. At different times of the year, most cities auction off cars that have been impounded or otherwise abandoned. Often, you can find incredible deals for cars in excellent condition. Get creative. Look online for bargains. You can buy a car and be frugal at the same time!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)Read more in: Money | Miscellaneous