What to do with $10,000 now!

If there's an extra $10,000 in your budget, consider investing in low-cost index funds, buying a reliable used car or taking a European river cruise.

Buy or lease a car

10000 wheels
2008 Ford Fusion SE

Buy a reliable used car. During the recession, preowned cars got pricey. With the economy improving, prices have fallen 5.4% from their 2011 peak. "For $10,000 you can get quality vehicles under five years of age," says Edmunds.com senior analyst Joe Spina.

Example: the 2008 Ford Fusion SE (starting at $9,400), which earned high reliability marks from Consumer Reports.

For better mileage, there's the '08 Honda Fit, which gets 34 highway mpg ($9,200). "The Fit is technically a subcompact," says Kelley Blue Book analyst Tim Fleming, "but doesn't feel like it."

Lease a quality new car. Leasing is back, thanks to promotions by carmakers looking to boost market share. Compare offers within the same category.

The average lease on a midsize sedan goes for $1,242 down and payments of $324 for 36 months ($12,900 total). Through Nov. 4, though, you can get a 2013 Honda Accord (named one of the 10 best cars by Car and Driver) for $2,499 down and $219 a month -- or just over 10 grand.

  @Money - Last updated October 01 2013 04:05 PM ET
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What to do with $100,000 now!

Got $100,000? You can buy that vacation condo outright, get an executive MBA or make a big donation.

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