Car Reviews Food for Thought Money / Savings

How to buy a used car – a virtual class to learn the essential life skill of automotive buying

buying used car tips

Understanding how to buy a used car is a fundamental life skill everyone should know. Learning the process from budgeting to searching for a car to negotiating will not only help you in your day to day life but will also help you save money while getting a quality car. 

Guest post by Chaya Milchtein

If you’re like me, you’ve been stuck at home for what feels like a lifetime now and probably ran out of things to watch on Netflix. While states have begun reopening, many people (and the experts) are still staying in as much as possible to prevent a resurgence of the disease. If you are looking for something unique to keep you occupied and that’s worth your time and money, I have the answer for you. A virtual class called “How the Heck Do I Buy a Used Car.”

This class isn’t new. I’m Chaya Milchtein and this month is three years since I launched Mechanic Shop Femme, a platform to educate and empower the average automotive consumer. I’m an automotive educator, speaker, and writer dedicating my time to helping folks just like you understand cars and the car buying process so you have control.


How to Buy a Used Car course taught by expert auto writer Chaya Milchtein

Some folks have people in their lives to turn to that will help them buy a car. Many people don’t. The ones that do have someone to ask may not be asking someone who actually understands the process.

“How the Heck Do I Buy a Used Car” has been mentioned in articles for publications ranging from The Chicago Tribune to Shondaland and Twin Cities PBS. I’ve been hired to teach this class at libraries, a university and a non-profit. My students’ reviews tell a clear story.


Down to the nitty-gritty. Here are the details you want to know about this auto car buying class. 

This July 13 – 15, I’ll be teaching this class live. You’ll be able to ask questions as you have them with full access to my knowledge bank. I’ll be covering the used car buying process from start to finish.

Check out my interview with Chaya where we discuss the ins and outs of buying a used car and how to arm yourself with knowledge about research, financing and choosing the best used car for yourself.

Monday – 45 min:
Determining the best car for your specific budget
Where to Buy the Car (Online resources, Car Lots, Dealerships, etc)
Which dealerships to buy from
Places to stay away from
Dealership vs private party purchases

Tuesday – 45 min:
Financing detail for before you begin shopping
Budgeting for the purchase and first few months
How and where to finance your car
When and how to buy using cash (paid in full)
Interest Pitfalls
Test Driving Your Car

Wednesday – 45 min:
Checking over the car yourself, before you pay a mechanic
Finding a mechanic to inspect the car
Deciding to make the purchase
Determining how much you should be paying for the car
The art of negotiating
Negotiating with a dealer vs a private party

This class is offered at sliding scale, allowing it to be as accessible as possible. I’ve cut the prices down further since the start of the pandemic. Sliding scale prices start at $39. I also offer scholarships on a limited basis to low income people of color and people with disabilities.

While the class is taught live, it’s also recorded. If you can’t make on or more of the live classes, you’ll be able to watch the live recordings at your convenience. I also answer questions all week in the private group for the class.
Sign up for the class here.

Sign up for the class here. 

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions! If this class isn’t right for you but you’d like to stay in touch, please subscribe to my email list.


More Used Car Buying Tips

When it comes to buying cars, I’m a gently used car kind of gal. I’ve gone various routes – leasing, buying brand new and buying used and buying used is really the way to go. With leasing, you never own the car and often times have to pay a fee when you turn it in. I’ve found that buying a used car (about two to three years old) means that you can get the car for 20 – 30 percent less than when it was new. So, why not let someone else take the depreciation hit?

Used Car Research

Once you decide on a new or used car, then you can narrow down your focus on make and model to suit your needs and your price range. I love doing lots of research when it comes to making any purchase, whether that be dining out, traveling and especially a major purchase such as a car.

mazda cx-5 used info


When you hone in on the car you’d be interested in purchasing, it is always a good idea to run a Carfax to see the car’s history and / or take it to a trusted mechanic who can give you their expert opinion.

Financing for used cars

Obviously, the best way to pay for a car is with cash. If you know it will soon be time to buy a car you can begin saving up, so that you are not paying interest. However, if you have decent credit, you won’t have a hard time finding a lender.

Used Car Registration and Ad Valorem

Another thing to consider when purchasing a used car is ad valorem. Each state adds this tax differently. Some make you pay it all in one lump sum, while others prorate it over the life span you own the car. The rate is based on the cost of a car, so the more expensive the car, the higher the ad valorem tax and this must be paid in full before you can take ownership.

For example in Georgia, ad valorem is about 7 percent of the cost of the car. So, if you are purchasing a used car that costs $20,000, you’ll need to pay an additional $1400 when you go to register the car.

Now that you know these tips on used car research and financing, you are much better equipped to find a a car that suits your needs.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!