No matter how much your dream car costs – thousands or tens of thousands of dollars – the money has to come from somewhere. If you don’t have the excess cash in your bank account right now, here are some clever ways to get the money.
1. Apply for scholarships
Applying for scholarships probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about ways to afford your dream car. Technically, you can’t use scholarships to buy a car (unless that’s what the scholarship is for), but you can save money on existing expenses, which will free up some cash.
Start searching for scholarships related to your major. For example, if you’re pursuing a CPA license, check out Wiley’s finance and accounting scholarship. The scholarship is awarded yearly, but the qualifications change each month. If you win this scholarship, you’ll have $1,000 worth of expenses handled and can put an extra $1,000 toward your dream car.
Academic scholarships are great, but don’t forget to search outside the box for additional opportunities. There are plenty of scholarships awarded each year for hobbies and interests.
2. Go extremely frugal for a few months
Try going frugal for a few months to see how much money you can save. You might be surprised to see just how much cash you spend unnecessarily. For instance, if you spend $7 each day at Starbucks, that’s $210 each month. Multiply that by additional seemingly small, daily unnecessary expenses and you could end up saving close to $1,000 each month.
You don’t need to be like those “extreme coupon” people on television who manage to generate a $500 refund from the cashier after buying $3,000 worth of groceries. However, any expenses you can cut back on can be dropped into your dream car fund. The more frugal you become, the more extra cash you’ll have for your dream car.
3. Sell everything you aren’t using
With the exception of seasonal items like barbecue grills and hot tubs, go through your house and find all the items you either don’t use, have never used, or will never use. Be honest with yourself about future use scenarios.
Ask yourself what’s more important – getting your dream car or hanging on to a giant stash of yarn that you might use in ten years? You can always buy a new stash of yarn (or whatever else you’re not using).
4. Start a small online t-shirt business
Starting and running a business is no small feat, but you can run a kind of micro-business where you simply create cool t-shirt designs through a company like Spreadshirt where the company will sell your shirts in their marketplace. You won’t have to manage orders, process payments, or ship anything.
With a system like this, you can market your products on your own website if you want, but people will find them in the marketplace.
Naturally, negotiating a good deal can help you get your dream car with less cash on hand. You don’t need to pay full price for your car, even if it’s new. If you’re buying from a private seller, they’re going to price the car higher than what they want to get for the car to leave room for negotiating.
Car dealerships will set the price higher as well. However, don’t tell the car dealership you’re paying in cash until the very end when the price negotiations are over and it’s time to pay. Even if they ask you how you’re paying, don’t give them an answer and stay focused on getting all of your questions answered.
The days when cash did the talking are over. Car dealerships make more money when customers take out loans. If you walk in with cash in hand, you’ll end up paying more for your dream car.
Getting your dream car will require patience. If you can’t generate the cash immediately, take your time and save your money for a little while longer. There’s nothing urgent about getting your dream car right this minute, even though it may seem that way.
Provided you have a car you can use for now, be patient and don’t make any rash decisions. If you have the option of compromising today or waiting another six months to get the car you really want, wait six months to get exactly what you want.