The original question was advice to those that couldn’t come up with $500 for a car repair. We got off the track a little with poor people and trains and buses. Obviously if someone had a car repair that they needed to use a credit card for, they already owned a car. Somewhere in there I said yeah, but 76% of the people asked could pay the bill, so really that’s not too bad.
At any rate you have to start building an emergency fund even if its just a few dollars at a time. I suggested Dave Ramsey even though I don’t like him, but I know his method of buckets has helped many people. He drills down to getting rid of the excess first to get out of debt and building an emergency fund. Like I said though, part of minimizing car expense is doing repairs yourself. Up until a couple years ago, I couldn’t ever remember in the last 50 years paying someone to change my oil. Maybe it happened but not much.
So budgeting and knowing what you spend money on so you can analyze it. My high school business teacher got us started on keeping a little book and writing down everything we spent. It was pretty illuminating and I did it for years even when married. So that’s my advice for the 24% that own cars but need to charge repairs.