Buying a Car Makes Sense for Some Job Seekers


“Are there any ways to get help buying a car so I can have more job opportunities available to me?” from Tamika in Atlanta, GA.


If you can’t access jobs in your area by using local public transportation, now’s a good time to explore your options for affordable wheels.  When considering what you can afford, be sure to factor in ongoing fuel, maintenance and insurance costs.

It’s also important to remember that the positive career implications of owning a car may help offset these costs over time.

  • A car can give you the flexibility to work longer hours since you’re not spending your time waiting for buses or for rides from friends or family members.
  • Owning a car may open up opportunities for promotion, if it helps you be more flexible about working on different shifts, or if you can use your car for business assignments.

There are various programs that help put qualified candidates behind the wheel. To find one that’s right for you, start by contacting your Goodwill. Most local Goodwills are able to connect people who have financial challenges to a local program, and may offer these services as well.  For example, here are a couple of ways that Goodwills are making cars available to people in their communities:

Goodwill Industries of San Antonio helps residents who don’t own a car (even those with prior credit problems) obtain a low interest rate loan. Your income cannot exceed 80 percent of the local median income, you must have been employed for six months, and be an involved parent. If you live in the San Antonio area, contact the Goodwill. If not, visit the Ways to Work website to find a similar program near you.

In Michigan, growing numbers of low-income families are getting the vehicles they need thanks to Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan’s Workers on Wheels (WOW) program. When the Goodwill receives a high-value vehicle donation, it works with a trusted local car dealer to sell the vehicle and then purchases two to three reliable vehicles that better fit the needs of the WOW recipients.

A special savings account, known as an Individual Development Account (IDA), may be another option for people with modest incomes. If you save in an IDA, your money will be matched with donations. That means that you can receive another dollar or more for every dollar you save. Typically, IDA savings and match money can be used to buy a house, pay for education or job training, or start a small business.Some IDAs allow people to save for purchasing a car. In addition to earning match dollars, you will learn about budgeting, saving, banking and more. Read more at

When you are ready to purchase a car, be sure that you get the best value for your money.  Working Cars for Working Families has resources that help you understand how to buy a used car and avoid fraudulent sellers.

Good Luck!