I need to figure out how to pay for a car

I have five kids, and one is graduating high school this year, and another a year later. One have two vehicles, one is a mini-van that has 215,000 miles on it, the other is a full size van that has 86,000 miles on it. Both are paid for. But the mini-van is showing its age.While I can handle doing maintenance, the costs are soon going to outweigh the benefits of keeping it, and I need to replace it, or at least get another on hand for when it gives out.

We try to put all the miles on the mini van, and save the full size van for family outings and vacations to keep the miles low on it, and reduce out fuel bill a bit. So my daughter uses the mini-van for school and work, and since I work third shift I use it for work as well since it is opposite hours.

She is working to save up for a car, and we are not sure what strategy we want to use to purchase one. I am counseling her that a loan can cost more money than it is worth. So I am thinking that she can save up and pay cash for a cheap car, then save up to pay cash for a nicer car later on. The challenge for her will be college costs. We are working on financing strategies for college from scholarship awards, to less expensive colleges, or even going to school on line.

But the challenge is going to be for me to get a car to replace the mini-van. I don’t have the cash saved up to pay cash for one, and I really don’t want to stop, or reduce my snowball to get a car. I am wondering what some others have done to pay for a more reliable, less mileage car for everyday use. We don’t want luxury, but we don’t want a piece of crap that needs a lot of maintenance and is worn out either. I was thinking about maybe a higher mileage (but under 150,000 miles) Honda accord or Civic. I think the target price is in the $5,000-$10,000 range. So I am open to suggestions on how to do this. Maybe I will have to take a set back on my debt paydown?

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