One final idea:

don’t overlook farm auctions as a place to get cars. We recently attended a farm auction where several perfectly roadworthy vehicles were sold in the $500 – $700 range. We scored a $3000-ish tractor for $425. Everyone at that auction went home with some amazing deal. And this is the perfect time of year for such auctions because no one wants to store unnecessary equipment over winter. So, keep an eye out for those – you’re in the perfect part of the country for having a farm or estate auction somewhere within a 2-hr drive of you probably every single weekend.