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12 Great Cars for Less Than $15,000

By: Mike Earl, CFP®, CPWA®


Have you read our post about the Importance of Car-Buying Decisions? If you haven’t, you should.

The average new car purchase price in America today is more than $36,000. That is an astonishing number, considering the financial situation of the average American today.

Let’s say a married couple has a combined (Federal plus state) marginal tax rate of 30%, plus an additional 7.65% of payroll taxes. That means this couple must earn more than $64,000 to pay for their new vehicle.

When paying for vehicles, it is crucial to remember you are paying with after-tax dollars. It is challenging for most families to build a portfolio of after-tax investment dollars. It's one thing to accumulate money in a 401(k) plan and a Roth IRA, but it’s another level to also accumulate funds in the “third bucket” of after-tax dollars. This is money that you have already paid taxes on – and is not tied to retirement rules (e.g. can’t access the money until you are 59.5).

For those of our clients aiming for financial independence at a young age (before age 60), having after-tax investment dollars is crucial. The two best ways to make that goal a reality are: 1) get your mortgage paid off early (somewhere between age 40-55…the earlier, the better); and 2) make smart car-buying decisions.

It’s commonplace for people today to make statements like the following:

  • “You can’t get a car for less than $30,000 these days.”

  • “You need to buy a new vehicle to get the latest safety features and the warranty.”

  • “I would buy a used Honda/Lexus/Toyota, but they depreciate so little that it’s better to just buy new.”

All of those statements are false.

Below are twelve great cars for less than $15,000. Each of these vehicles are from actual postings I found online within a few minutes. Each vehicle has less than 40,000 miles, and each vehicle has a clean title history and no accidents. Even better, they all get more than 28 mpg.

2014 Toyota Camry L

  • Price = $12,995

  • Miles = 34,020

  • MPG (city/highway) = 25/35

2015 Honda Civic EX

  • Price = $14,297

  • Miles = 40,329

  • MPG (city/highway) = 30/39

2017 Toyota Yaris iA Sedan

  • Price = $12,999

  • Miles = 16,278

  • MPG (city/highway) = 30/39

2015 Toyota Corolla S

  • Price = $13,399

  • Miles = 22,902

  • MPG (city/highway) = 29/37

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

  • Price = $12,986

  • Miles = 37,524

  • MPG (city/highway) = 27/38

2014 Kia Rio LX

  • Price = $7,995

  • Miles = 41,245

  • MPG (city/highway) = 27/37

2017 Nissan Sentra SV

  • Price = $13,488

  • Miles = 3,808 miles

  • MPG (city/highway) = 29/37

2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid FWD

  • Price = $14,899

  • Miles = 36,639

  • MPG (city/highway) = 36/40

2015 Kia Forte EX

  • Price = $11,995

  • Miles = 30,206

  • MPG (city/highway) = 25/36

2016 Honda Fit EX

  • Price = $14,996

  • Miles = 7,627

  • MPG (city/highway) = 32/38

2014 Hyundai Elantra GT FWD

  • Price = $10,999

  • Miles = 39,000

  • MPG (city/highway) = 24/33

2016 Toyota Prius c Two

  • Price = $13,399

  • Miles = 19,900

  • MPG (city/highway) = 53/46

 

Sources:

1) Kelley Blue Book, https://mediaroom.kbb.com/2018-01-03-Average-New-Car-Prices-Set-Record-High-Up-Nearly-2-Percent-In-December-2017-According-To-Kelley-Blue-Book

2) Car listings found at www.cargurus.com

 

Because The Wealth Group, Austin B. Colby & Associates is independent of Raymond James, the expressed written opinions above are our own and not necessarily reflective of Raymond James’ opinions.