Originally Posted by Red Chrome
I find it ridiculous that people think a good car HAS to cost at least 4k. I can tell you, I've never paid over 2k for a car and they've always been reliable and decent looking. I have an 00 Ford expedition now that was 2500$. It has had more issues, the issues are all cosmetic, than my 98 Ford explorer that I paid 800$ for. Go to a tow yard auction and look. But don't let people get you thinking you have to have at least 4k to get a decent vehicle. They're wrong.
This. We've always paid $500-750 for our car, and they've lasted 6+ years, plenty of driving/distance, with very few fixes, other than general maintenance.
It really comes down to knowing the car was taken care of before you got it, and continuing the care.
ETA: so yah, I wouldn't be discouraged, though it can take some time to find the right car.