Since I'm going through this at the moment, I can tell you from personal experience.
So, your car has broken down or you've been in an accident and need your car fixed, but you just left your terrible job and don't have a lot of funds to work with. Righto. Here are some options for you.
1. Go digging at your local junkyard
No, really. You may think that there's just old cars there, but some junkyards actually sell car after market or refurbished parts for a lot less. Some will let you go digging yourself and pay for what you've scavenged from cars. So bring a mechanic friend or someone who knows how to take apart cars with you to help take them out!
2. Buy and sell websites or Parts Dealer
People are always selling their cars online, right? Well if you know where to look and know what to search, you'll find someone selling your exact car, or a model that's compatible as a parts car. But before you agree to anything, make sure those parts are in good shape and working order. The last thing you want is to give someone money for shoddy parts! So again, have a mechanic inspect them. There will also be websites selling brand new, manufactured parts, or well conditioned parts online for shop prices that can be delivered right to your door! That will save you money on buying from your mechanic and will save on labor expenses!
3. Refurbished or second hand
I mentioned a little bit of this in my last point. If your car is an older model like mine and it's on its way out, then there's no point in putting all new equipment in it. If the bumper and hood is dented in, just ask your auto body tech to do his best to smooth them out, unless it is an absolute must. Most mechanics don't ask you this, so be sure to bring it up when they inspect your car for damage. If you ask them if they can use second hand parts and they say yes, go with that option. If your repairs far outweigh the cost of the car for new parts, always try this option.
4. Family/Friend recommendations
Their places are usually smaller, independent shops that do an excellent job for much less. If you ask a family or friend where they usually take their car to, try it out. Why? Because they have a good repor with their mechanic, and who knows, you may get a deal of your own.
5. Payment plan options
Depending on where you live, and what shop you go to, some actually offer payment plans. Just last week I asked a mechanic if he offered payment plans and he directed me to two different companies that he works with that offer that sort of thing. Which is fantastic in my opinion. Let's say your repairs are going to cost over a thousand dollars and you don't have the full amount. You can set up a deal, where you can either make weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payments towards your repairs. And the best thing about it, is that you'll have your car back on the road while you do so.
6. Bank loan
If you can't come up with the costs on your own, or don't have any of the available options above, you can try getting a small loan from your bank. If you have a good credit score, they'll take that into consideration when determining your interest rate. The better your score, the less interest you'll have to pay back on it. And whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances, go with a third party loan. The ones with the giant GET 10,000 INSTANTLY. They will take money from your pay based on your deposit date, charge you a crazy interest rate, and for every $100 you get from them, it's an extra $20 on top of that. Stay away from them. Banks are more lenient and understanding. This should be your last option.
7. Help from your family
Yes, it really sucks when you have to ask your family for help. You may be too independent, worried, or nervous to ask them. I get it. You're trying your best to take care of everything on your own, but sometimes you have to put your pride aside and ask for help. That's what family is for, right? To help you! You can always pay them back, and you don't have to worry about missed payments or deadlines. You can discuss different plans with them to insure that they'll be paid back. Getting money from family is hard, because it can sometimes cause issues. But, if they are supportive and understanding, you won't have a problem.
8. Borrowed vehicle
While you're deciding on what to do with your car repair wise, and you don't have a way to get around, try asking a close friend, neighbour or family member to borrow their car for small errands, or if you have to drive to work. Renting a vehicle is expensive. Offer to pay them, and always fill up their tank after using it. That's just common courtesy. This will give you a vehicle in the meantime.
9. School project
Sone high schools and universities have auto body and mechanic programs that require students to work on vehicles for final projects. They are all required to perform certain tasks throughout the term, and once they are an apprentice. If you can find a school that will take in your car for it to become a student project, you're all set! It'll only cost you pennies. The only downside to this is the wait time. You could be waiting anywhere to a couple months to a year depending. But, you'll save on costs, and you'll know that your vehicle is in good hands, and will have quality repairs because the students will never be left unsupervised.
I hope that these come in handy for you, and good luck with all your repairs!!