I've been in San Jose for about 4 months, and things are going pretty great now that I have a job. Well, mostly great. There is still one major thorn in my side, and that is the issue of transportation. I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but I left my car in Missouri because it was too old and decrepit to make the drive out here, and I've had to rely on public transit since then.
My experience using the bus and light rail has been kind of mixed. For one thing, the routes don't always make sense to me; for example, there is a really great shopping center about 10 minutes from my apartment and there isn't a bus that goes directly there, or even close to it (trust me, I've checked like 100 times). Also, and this just might be the nature of taking public transit, but I really hate how it takes me at least an hour to get pretty much anywhere in the city, even if it's normally only like 15 or 20 minutes by car. Riding the bus takes up a huge chunk of my time on my days off from work, and I'm just not that into it. The only time I really have access to a car is on the weekends when my girlfriend is off, and I feel bad about bugging her about it.
Anyway, now that I have a job, plus the fact I managed not to burn through the entirety of my savings while I was unemployed, I've been thinking about buying a car. And I'm not sure where to start (I think). I already know that I can't afford a new car, and I have a budget in mind for a used car, but what else is there? In the past, my parents have helped me a lot with my car, including paying insurance (I know, I know), but I think I'm finally on my own with this one. Speaking of car insurance, how does that um, work? Also, if any of the California Groupthinkers are reading this, what do I need to know about owning a car here? I think there has to be a smog check or something? Help me be a responsible car owner. TIA.