Author Topic: Advice on buying a new (to me) car  (Read 1181 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Advice on buying a new (to me) car
« on: April 05, 2019, 09:33:30 PM »
I'm 23yo and very new to this mustachian lifestyle. I've always saved about 50% of my earnings since I graduated, but only recently learned about tuning my lifestyle to save even more. I'm looking at my expenses and see that my biggest fault is commuting in a 2009 Outback. The car gets 20-27mpg (more like 30mpg average with my best driving) but I drive probably 50 miles round-trip. This is because in my state (MI) all of the work is in the really sketchy areas (near Detroit), so i decided to live farther away.

In the future I plan on moving out of state to a good city where I can bike to work, but for the time being I'm considering purchasing a used prius to save some money. After seeing MMM's recommended cars which included the 2010 Prius, I did some research and found that the 2010 - 2014 prii's are riddled with oil consumption issues. So i'm back at stage one.
What would Mustachians such as yourselves recommend in my situation?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Advice on buying a new (to me) car
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2019, 09:05:03 AM »
I'd just keep the Outback. It's ten years old, so why not just drive it into the ground?


  • Stubble
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Re: Advice on buying a new (to me) car
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2019, 11:15:55 AM »
Keep the outback. You're going to waste a lot of money on registration fees and you're going to see an increase in your insurance and renewing tabs if you try to trade up to the Prius. Plus, if when you're biking to work in the future, you won't need to worry about saving money on a car.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Advice on buying a new (to me) car
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2019, 12:39:32 PM »
Save for a used vehicle for when the Outback dies or has an expensive enough repair bill to make it not worth it to fix. Trade it in then for a used vehicle or if you've moved to a city with better transit options, you may not need a vehicle by then.


  • Bristles
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Re: Advice on buying a new (to me) car
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2019, 06:56:10 PM »
The general rule for car trading questions is keep the one you've got unless it's a total clownmobile. The Outback is a moderately sensible (though not optimized) car for your needs, so keep it.

There are switching costs associated with getting a different car. You'd have to save a lot on your commute to overcome them.

Figure you're going to work 260 times a year and driving 50 miles each time. If you are in a Prius getting 50 mpg, you need 260 gallons of gas each year. If you're doing it in your Outback getting 28, you need 478 gallons. With a Prius and gas at $2.50 a gallon, you would save $550 a year on the extra 218 gallons you'd no longer have to purchase. Yeah, that's savings, but it might not be real savings if you have to spend a lot initially to start harvesting that savings.

As everyone's pointing out, trading up in cars is going to cost you some decent sales tax and registration fees. Plus I doubt you can find a Prius for a similar price than your Outback can fetch, so there goes a couple thousand more. The payback period would probably be at least 5 years...but feel free to run your own figures and decide if it's a good choice for you.