I bought a 1997 Saturn (manual trans) in 2003 with 96k miles for $3200.
Flash forward to 2010.
Car now has 178k, and I have put a grand total of maybe $350 into it. Brakes/rotors, water pump, belt, brake caliper. Still has original clutch. Saturns also have a timing chain and not a belt which is greatly appreciated.
I did not include oil changes or tires because every car, new or used needs them and 'uses' them up at a similar rate. The one mistake I made with this car was buying cheap tires, thinking in case the car didn't last. I would have come out ahead buying better rubber.
I think everyone should learn basic maintenance such as spark plugs, brakes, water pump, radiator replacement. This stuff is easy, takes an afternoon of your time, and can save you SUBSTANTIAL money. I don't change my own oil, there isn't enough of a margin to bother with.