I agree with mandyloo - used car's are a great option. Just watch the local paper, craigslist, and any other good sources (like the Mnt Trader around here - people list items they want to sell or are looking for).
Also just keep your eyes out on the side of the road. Thats where I picked up my s10. A guy had it parked out front with a For Sale sign on it.
You just have to be careful with used cars to make sure you aren't getting scammed. I wouldn't trust a used car salesman if my life depended on it. Buy it from a private individual, and if you have a mechanic friend bring him/her along to look it over.
If you're looking for a new one that's new (because it would last you a lot longer than a used car) I'd try a Chevy Cobalt. I got mine without all the power locks, windows and whatnot and it only cost me about 12 grand. It's a nice, stable car and I see everybody driving them. Of course if you want something cheaper, any used car is nice. Just don't buy anything too old-we got a car that was about 15 years old and died on us after only 4 months and after putting hundreds into it for repairs. In the end, you might be better off getting a cheap new car.
It cheaper to buy from a owner instead of a dealership. Check your local newspaper, craigslist.com, etc for car listings in your area. Thats how i found my car two years ago. Its a 1997 Honda Accord luxory edition that an old man was selling for 1,500. It was a great deal and ive had no problems with the car.
wow really? nice.