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What credit score do you need to buy a car

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I'm 24 and am in need of a car. My last one was a '96 Camry that officially died in early November. I've been using public transportation since then, which wasn't a big deal, but now that I've graduated college, going on interviews isn't working out with the time conflict between my regular job + taking time to wait for the bus (example: instead of running out for an interview, taking an hour or so, I have to schedule everything around the bus's schedule, thus taking more time/money from my paycheck).

I'm just in a never-ending circle as far as the above goes: could get a better job with more $, but can't get a job without a car. (I'm a journalist/reporter and a car is necessary).

Credit history. 5 years

Revolving accounts (credit cards): $8,912

  • Includes 3 credit cards; I got the oldest in March 2007.


  1. $5,284 out of $5,400
  2. $1,914 out of $2,000
  3. $1,714 out of $2,000

Installment Loans (school loans ): $15,125 to start paying off in July

It's a lot; I know. The one credit card with the really high balance was essentially maxed out when I decided I didn't want to take out school loans and paid a semester with my credit card (HUGE mistake, I know). When I transferred from junior college, obviously, the cost was much higher and I had to take out loans. All my schooling was paid with 'borrowed' money in my own name. I used the cards for books and things of that nature as well.

I don't know what to do now. There are jobs in my field iwth higher pay, but scheduling interviews is a big problem with no vehicle which leads to me not wanting to schedule interviews because I'll be losing money for taking more time off from work.

I work 40 hours/wk and make

about $1500/month. I pay my parents a small percentage for rent/utilities, since I have moved back in with them.

Typing it all out kind of has me answering my own question.

If I get a new car, everything would be under my own name. The car I'm looking at is a Corrolla, basic nothing fancy/no upgrades, which runs around $20K. If I have to get a 2011 one that by some weird reason is still in a lot, that would be great for me because it's not "new," per se.

I guess my question is is there any way I could get a single-digit interest rate? I doubt there is, but just thought I'd ask. I've never missed a payment on anything, but the combination of all my debt is a huge factor and I know that. My current job pays OK, but if I got a new one, it would obviously pay at least $20/hr, which would be double my current income--allowing me to pay down all my debt waaay faster. But I'm trying to plan all this in the present--based on my current income. I don't want a high payment either. And I don't want to lease. Toyota's are good reliable cars and I could have this one for a good 10 years at least.

I absolutely hate having all this debt; my credit score was 812 at one point--before the loans.

Any and all suggestions/questions are welcome. As you can see, I don't know what to do. I live in a major city where a car is essentially required if you work outside the 'city loop'.

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Thanks for all your answers. I expected a 'you should know better than having that much debt at your age!' (which I would agree with and, quite frankly, deserve), but you all have been very helpful. Thanks for sharing about your experiences as well. I'll do some more research in the mean time.

Category: Credit

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