I'll be needing to move soon, and I'll probably have to end up renting a truck to move all of our stuff into a new apartment. But...what if I didn't rent a truck, and instead bought a beater van or truck?
Stay with me here. Looking at the cost of a 10' truck from U-haul, there is a base price of $19.95 and a per mile cost of $1.29. It looks like I'll end up driving a bit over 60 miles at a minimum, combined with around $11.00 in insurance and fees, and I'll end up forking over at least $110.16 before taxes or gas. I have no hope of ever seeing that money back, and if I needed to move something again, I'd have to rent something else.
So what if I buy a beater pick up or a van instead of renting one? I obviously will have to make more trips, which means it'll take more time to move and probably use more gas. Also, it will definitely cost more to buy up front. I'm not going to be able to to find a working car for $110. I also would have to take into account registering and vehicle taxes.
That being said at the end of the day, I'll have another vehicle. When I'm done moving, I could always sell it again. When you buy a car for $500, there isn't really any more room for it to depreciate. There's even a chance that I could list it for more than I bought it for, turning a profit.
Also, because my fiance and I will be in a new apartment, I would venture to guess that having a vehicle capable of carrying a lot of stuff will end up being useful again once we figure out what furniture we would need.
Venturing on Craigslist, I've found several vehicles that could do the job:
The first is a 1992 Toyota Previa, my favorite minivan of all time. $800, a new transmission and engine, and 200k miles. I could definitely fit a queen size mattress in there (our largest item) and I bet I could re-sell it for about as much as I pay for it. The major drawback would be $800 is more than I would like to fork over initially. On the other hand, I would be the proud owner of a midengined, RWD drift van. I also have a dream to race a Previa in LeMons.