New Or Used Car? Why I Don’t Plan To Buy Another Car Again

2013 Range RoverI’m in love with Moose, my 12 year old SUV. There, I said it! When you are in love with something, no matter how old, out of shape, slow, or dumb, you will love it unconditionally until the day it dies. Moose is like my overweight son, who eats too much, but still gets me to point B without any problems.

And lest you think that Moose is a big polluter, not so, as he passed our stringent Smog Test every year without fail. Besides, I bought him used, which means I’m more environmentally friendly than new car buyers who failed to destroy their old cars. I did not add to the car population!

In “Fighting My Car Buying Addiction,” I highlight three things everybody must do to quit splurging on things that lose value and destroy their personal finances. After all, the act of buying too much car has significantly damaged many people’s financial livelihoods. Always remember the 1/10th rule of car buying where you should consider spending no more than 1/10th your annual gross income on a car.

1) Name your car. Anthropomorphism is a powerful, powerful thing. As soon as you name your car, you give it a personality and a soul.  With a personality and a soul, you can no longer just abuse it like a ragged doll.  My truck’s name is Moose.  I love Moose. He’s handsome, reliable, and very loyal. Given he’s part of the family now, I’ve decided to keep him for as long as it makes sense. At some point, I’ll realize I should sell or donate Moose since he is turning 12 years old.  However, at this point, I’m happy to buy him new brakes, rotors, batteries and change his fluids.

2) Go to the dealer and intoxicate yourself. Moose’s private party retail value is about $3,600 from $8,500 five years ago.  When you go to a dealer, you start appreciating what you have.  Just the other day, I stopped by the Mercedes Benz dealer for fun on the way home from golf. I test drove a well-equipped $47,000 out the door 2012 C250 coupe. I loved the new car smell and the drive was exhilarating. This wasn’t even the highest end version as the C350 coupe had 100 more horsepower and cost $5,000 more. When it was time to negotiate, the salesman insulted Moose by giving him a trade in value of only $1,114!  There was no way this C250 coupe was worth 45X more than my beloved Moose! I declined his pitch and left smiling.

If you aren’t convinced how silly it is buying a new car when a used car can do perfectly fine, take a look at this picture carefully. Analyze it and soak all the data in.  Look at the monthly payments after a $4,000 down payment. Observe the Trade Allowance of $1,114 for Moose and the Net Sales Price of $46,497.98 after taxes. Ridiculous and insulting!

3) Visit a garage sale or throw your own. One of the most humbling experiences is de-cluttering and minimizing your things through a garage sale.  That golf club you spent $120 on might only get $10 now. That purse you were dying to have for $350 now is worth only $20 bucks.  The list goes on and on of things you spent way more than you should.  Once you start going to garage sales or to Goodwill, you will find so many bargains that you will seldom ever spend full or sale price ever again!


Don’t Let Your Emotions Get The Best Of You When Buying A Car

Car Buying EmotionsThe 6th grade was when I first laid eyes on her. She was a 1989 BMW 635i Coupe who did donuts in the school’s parking lot after class thanks to an obnoxious, rich kid driver in the 11th grade.  The driver was the son of a royal family who lived in a royal house filled with a fleet of the most luxurious automobiles.

I was immediately smitten and promised myself one day I’d be able to buy such a car as soon as I started working.

The new 6 series BMW came out in 2005 and all the memories came rushing back.  What cost only $35,000 then now cost $75,000 thanks to inflation and the infinite amount of new features.  I don’t know about you, but  $75,000 is a big chunk of change and my absolute upper limit for what I’d ever spend on a car.

Instead of spending $75,000, why not go back in time and actually buy that 1989 635i Coupe instead!  My brilliant idea led me to Craigslist where I found my true dream car listed in “Fantastic condition with only 160,000 miles”!  That’s only 8,000 miles a year I rationed and off I went to see the seller.

The sand dune colored BMW was in great condition and the seller was only asking $3,800.  After a test drive and over 1 hour of negotiating, I got him down to just $2,500.  What a bargain I thought knowing that even if the car blew up the next day, I’d only be down $2,500.  I gleefully drove back home in my dream mobile I had waited for almost 20 years!  Of course, as soon as I got home this is where all the trouble began.


The Irresponsibility Of Borrowing Money To Borrow More Money

Swans With Their Babies In San FranciscoIf you want to know what’s wrong with people’s personal finances, just observe those who are willing to borrow money in order to borrow more money!  One example is using a credit card you can’t pay off in full each month, for a downpayment on a car.  Since the limit for credit card use for buying at the car dealership is usually $3,000, and given most downpayments on vehicles range from $0 to $3,000 to buy or lease, using the credit card is a tantalizing proposition.

Forget the fact that these car buyers don’t make 10X the value of the car in annual salary.  They can’t even pay cash for the car or come up with even 10% of the value of the car as a downpayment!  Look, I know more than anyone how alluring it is to buy a nice car.  I used to be a car addict with 7 different cars in as many years.  It’s just irresponsibile of consumers to use their credit card for a downpayment when they don’t have a healthy savings account balance to match the entire value of the car before purchase.


Unfun Times At The DMV: Things To Bring And Do Before Arriving In Hell!

DMV HellThere might be a new way to wean car addicts off their car buying behavior.  That way is to simply have them experience a day at the DMV.  Recently, I had the pleasure to go to the DMV and re-register my car because I never got the tags in the mail.  Apparently State documents cannot be forwarded to a new address.  Hence, if you ever move residences or offices, make sure that you contact the DMV and other state departments immediately to notify your change of address!

I only drive on weekends now since I take the bus to work (ladies love bus riders).  I drive so little that I had no idea the tags never came for 3 months!  Of course, the one day I do drive to work due to a dental appointment, a cop pulls me over for a “fix-it” ticket.  “You know why I stopped you right?” Mr. Officer asks.

Actually, I have no idea Officer,” I sincerely replied back.  He gave me a ticket for expired tags and told me that if I went to the DMV and got new tags within 30 days, I wouldn’t have to pay the $276 fine, but only $25.


Using A Credit Card To Buy A Car

BMW X1 2013The last five cars I’ve owned have all been purchased by cashier’s checks. I loathe going into debt on an asset that is guaranteed to depreciate. In fact, I dislike buying anything that is guaranteed to depreciate!

I stopped by the BMW dealer on the way home from golf one day and checked out their new 650i coupe series. If someone could figure out a way to bottle that wonderful new car smell, they’d make millions off fanatics like me!

Given this particular 650i coupe was priced at $104,000, I decided to check out the more moderately priced 2012 X3, 2.8 litre engine SUV for $48,000.  Same new car smell for half the price. Score!


Fix The Car Or Buy A New One?

This month is turning out to be an expensive one.  Originally, I was planning on joining the no-spend November movement given I’ll be spending more than normal during the holidays.  I’ve been tempted to buy a new or new used car for the past year since Moose is 11 years old and needs some work done.  It was basically sell Moose now and avoid the extra expenditure, or buy a new new/used car in great condition.

After much deliberation, I decided to keep Moose and do some work.  After 4 years, his brakes finally needed replacing.  My auto-mechanic of 10 years recommended I change both rotors and pads in the front since Moose is heavy up top, and just change the pads in the rear.  I followed his directions for a total cost of $705 ($400 parts, $300 labor).  $705 after tax is pretty darn good, especially after 4 years.  I’ve also heard folks spend $1,200-$1,500 on brakes before.  Expensivo!

When I went to pick Moose up, he wouldn’t start!  It turns out the battery only had a couple months left to live after 5 years.  I’m glad Moose didn’t start at the shop, rather than somewhere in the snowy Sierra Nevadas this winter!  That would have been such a disaster.  I spent another $90 for the new battery for now a total cost of $795.  Tick, tick, tick, things are getting up there.