How I Saved Money for My First Car

2 min to read

I had never truly owned my own car. First was the teal 2003 Toyota Avalon passed down from Grandma. She was my baby, but after 180,000 miles the Avalon’s run was over. I wasn’t all too upset- my girlfriend could never tell if I was picking her up to go on a date, or if her Grandparents had come to visit from Florida. Next was the 2008 Mazda CX-9. I was given the “family car,” and I couldn’t have been happier. It was fantastic and my friends loved it; having the third row meant I was the driver for any and all road trips. However, after graduating college I had to hand the Mazda off to my younger brother.

And then I came to Detroit. I didn’t have a car. I really needed a car. There was only one a solution – I needed to save money.

After weighing my options, I believed buying the car outright, versus leasing, was the smart decision. So following extensive research into the world of used cars, I set my eyes on one car, and one car only.

The car: 2010 Ford Fusion (I’m in Detroit after all)

The price: $9,000

I knew my parents were going to split the $9,000 with me (I am extremely grateful and fortunate for having them), which meant I needed to put down $4,500. I had previously saved up $2,000 in my bank account, so my end savings goal = $2,500.

It was September. I wanted to buy the car by February (my birthday). And so, my 6-month saving journey began.

It started with $20 a week.

At first I figured, “okay, let’s start small and see how things go.” Each week I transferred $20 out of my checking account into my savings account. About a month later I had $80 saved.

Then I ramped things up.

I lowered my cable bill, and cooked at home more often. Instead of going out both nights on the weekends, I stayed in Friday nights. Things still came up here and there, but ultimately I was able to free up an additional $80/week. I was now saving a total of $100 each week!

24 weeks later…


I was cruising down Woodward Ave in my brand new (used) 2010 Fusion! After reaching my goal of $2,500 I was ecstatic. My first car under my name! Plus, with gas being so cheap these days, I’m able to drive her around all the time!

Saving is challenging, but in the end certainly worth it. My advice is simple-

Start small & automate your savings.

I’m excited to keep my saving habits in tact, and I look forward to the next journey: buying my first home!

Start saving toward your first car at