Author Topic: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?  (Read 6942 times)

alsoknownasDean

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Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« on: August 08, 2014, 04:45:05 AM »
Hello all,

I've had no car since my last one died in December. Since then I've cleared out my debts (except HECS) and saved up almost $10K in cash, which is all decent progress. Thing is, as it's been a bit chilly here lately, I've had thoughts about buying one again.

Currently, by my calculations, I'm saving around 54% of my after-tax (and after HECS) income. Not bad, but with a bit of work I reckon I can get that to near 60% over the next few months.

Now, I've done calculations on the TCO of a car, and found that for a fairly sensible car (~2000 era Japanese hatchback doing 14,000km a year), I'd be up for about $350 a month. Part of that is depreciation/opportunity cost of the car itself, of which I'd be spending around $3000 on buying the car.

I live in the suburbs of Melbourne (not the inner suburbs either), and friends are scattered all around the city, mostly at least 20km from me. Most live near train stations, but on a different line to me. My parents (and most of my family) live out in the country (about two hours drive from my place), and I visit them every few weeks. I can get to within a half hour drive of their place via the train, but usually get picked up at the station for the last bit. When I'm there I'm pretty much stranded (distances to places I'd want to go to down there are too high to bike, and the bus barely runs on weekends).

I commute to work via public transport, and this will continue regardless of whether I buy a car or not. I'm reasonably well catered for with public transport where I live, but many of the places I go to require changing trains/buses, which impacts upon the travel time. I've got a bike, and do ride it for short trips around home, especially trips to the shops. Unfortunately work's too far away for me to ride my bike regularly (although I've decided to give it a go on the ride to work day in October, it'll take an hour and 40 minutes each way). I could move, but I'm getting such a good deal with rent where I am it's well worth staying.

I guess the main uses of a car for me would be the trips to my parents' place (and driving around whilst there), visiting friends, and going to more distant places I don't bother going to now due to how long it'd take. I do kind of want one again as well. Maybe it's because of all the years I owned one.

I've considered the local ZipCar equivalents, but they're not ideal for all trips (especially the trips to my parents' place), and the nearest one of those cars is a 20 minute train ride away. They tend to only be in the inner suburbs here, I'm not in the inner suburbs. I'm just glad I have decent public transport nearby. I rented a car one long weekend for a trip to my parents' place and it was around $300 all up.

Another thing, I've recently started a new job, and am under probation until October. Whilst everything's going well, I'm not really prepared to make any major ongoing financial commitments until I'm in a more secure situation there.

An additional thing is I'm considering getting back into playing cricket regularly, and would need a car to get to training/games (especially if the grounds aren't near stations and are out of biking distance).

Am I crazy for considering spending so much on buying/operating a car just to do the above? Am I just wearing pants made of 100% pure complainium?

Thanks for your input :)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 04:50:46 AM by alsoknownasDean »

ADK_Junkie

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 06:06:02 AM »
Don't do it!  I would hold off longer.  Your savings rate it great right now, hold that line.  Summer is just around the corner too!

Also, with the uncertainty of the new job, you have no idea what might happen next. 

Psych yourself up with little mental tricks, like saying you are trying to go a full year without a car.  At the end of the year, re-assess, and see if you can go longer, and longer means closer to FIRE.

(Given your circumstances, like your parents living far from public transportation, you probably will buy a car eventually.  But like I said, try to hold off as long as you can!!)

Good Luck!


alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 05:16:58 PM »
Don't do it!  I would hold off longer.  Your savings rate it great right now, hold that line.  Summer is just around the corner too!

Also, with the uncertainty of the new job, you have no idea what might happen next. 

Psych yourself up with little mental tricks, like saying you are trying to go a full year without a car.  At the end of the year, re-assess, and see if you can go longer, and longer means closer to FIRE.

(Given your circumstances, like your parents living far from public transportation, you probably will buy a car eventually.  But like I said, try to hold off as long as you can!!)

Good Luck!

I've definitely decided that no car will be purchased until the probationary period at my job is up. I guess you're right, maybe reassess then and I might decide to wait until Christmas (especially once the weather warms up and I feel like riding my bike more).

One more thing is that my brother is currently overseas until November, has left his van at my parents' place, and has said he is happy for me to drive it. Hence, I'm not completely stranded down there for a little while. Things are also made easier by the fact that my mum works in the city, and hence I'll head down to their place on late Saturday or Friday, and go back with her on the Monday morning.

But yeah, there's no urgent need to buy a car. I guess it's just a matter of low long until I cave and buy one. The longer I wait, the more I have stashed :)

marty998

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2014, 08:28:55 PM »
If I didn't have to carry around cricket kits in summer, I could maybe go without a car.

There are some times where you will have no option but to use a car. Whether those times are often enough to justify getting one is only something you can answer.

If I take into account:

Rego
Insurance
Green Slip
Petrol
Depreciation
Servicing/repairs
NRMA membership
and how much I actually drive it

the numbers wouldn't justify a car for me. But I have one anyway, for the times when you really need it in a hurry.

Dicey

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 10:43:24 AM »
akaDean - I love "100% pure complainium", but I don't think it applies in your case. IMHO buying a car is an okay decision for you, contrary to what some around here might have you believe. Pre-FIRE, my trick was to calculate all the fees associated with buying said vehicle. Even used and cheap costs you sales tax, license, registration, etc. I'd calculate that number and it would stop me cold every time. I think giving yourself permission to buy a car at some future point is a very good strategy. Put the word out that you're looking for a screaming deal and something surprising may turn up. In the meantime, keep saving your ass off.

Sidebar silliness: DH is nagging me to buy a different car, as mine's an old oilburner and doesn't really suit our family's current needs. Every time he mentions it, I tell him I want a Tesla. He wants me to buy a car (for which we will pay cash), but not that much of a car. Tesla, Tesla, Tesla. Whee, look how much money we're saving. Ha!

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 05:25:44 AM »
If I take into account:

Rego
Insurance
Green Slip
Petrol
Depreciation
Servicing/repairs
NRMA membership
and how much I actually drive it

the numbers wouldn't justify a car for me. But I have one anyway, for the times when you really need it in a hurry.

Yeah, that's true. On a pure numbers basis, it's cheaper for me to rent a car once a month. When the last one died, I figured I'd hold off until I had saved the cash (and it was summer, so I enjoyed riding my bike around instead). Then after getting rid of debts and saving enough cash for a replacement, I wanted to save more so I still had an emergency fund afterwards. Then I started a new job, and I want to ensure that it's secure before spending the cash.

akaDean - I love "100% pure complainium", but I don't think it applies in your case. IMHO buying a car is an okay decision for you, contrary to what some around here might have you believe. Pre-FIRE, my trick was to calculate all the fees associated with buying said vehicle. Even used and cheap costs you sales tax, license, registration, etc. I'd calculate that number and it would stop me cold every time. I think giving yourself permission to buy a car at some future point is a very good strategy. Put the word out that you're looking for a screaming deal and something surprising may turn up. In the meantime, keep saving your ass off.

Thanks for that. Definitely looking at waiting and not being in a rush to buy.

I know there's some fat in my budget, so I figure I might try and see if I can make a few more savings to partly offset the running costs. Buying my train ticket through work and changing mobile phone providers after my contract ends will save me over $100 a month alone. If I can make further savings elsewhere, then the net impact of buying a car is lessened :)

Then there's the decision of how much to spend. I could either go something cheap, or go a little bit more and get something with a bit more life left in it.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 12:59:46 PM »
motorbike. average lows never even reach freezing there. I would motorcycle year round if we didn't have sub-freezing temp and feet of snow.

get a cheap 250 or 500, bolt some ammo cases and spare gas container to it and you're good to go. could probably do it for less than $1200 USD. you keep taking public transit to work, but you have a way to get out and visit people.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2014, 08:27:24 PM »
motorbike. average lows never even reach freezing there. I would motorcycle year round if we didn't have sub-freezing temp and feet of snow.

get a cheap 250 or 500, bolt some ammo cases and spare gas container to it and you're good to go. could probably do it for less than $1200 USD. you keep taking public transit to work, but you have a way to get out and visit people.

Could be OK, but I'd need to drop a fair whack more than $1200 to get on the road. A few hundred for the licence, a few hundred for the protective gear, and at least two grand for the bike. May be keen on a scooter later down the track though.

I'm semi-looking at the moment. I'll probably still wait another month or two just so I can save a bit more money, but work's looking pretty safe so I should be right.

By the way, there seems to be an awful lot of decent cars here for around $3000 or so. I guess it's a choice of buying something for $3000 with maybe 150-200,000km, or getting something for $2000 with 300,000km.

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2014, 10:06:33 AM »
if youre not liscensed, and bikes are that expensive there, don't bother.
You rarely save money on bikes. I would advise against a scooter though. I'm not a fan of the tiny tires and the attitude that no protective gear is needed "it's just a scooter!". They're more dangerous.

Get a cheap car if you need one. Drive it as little as possible.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 08:57:01 PM »
It seems as though there's a good possibility that I'll be able to get one for free (although I'd have to pay to get it roadworthy/registered).

All I know is it's a Holden Barina, unknown age, condition, or transmission. I'll have a look and see soon I guess. Even if it costs $1000 to get it roadworthy it still might be decent. It'll be economical, they're hardly big cars. Can't complain if it's free.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2014, 05:50:03 AM »
It seems as though there's a good possibility that I'll be able to get one for free (although I'd have to pay to get it roadworthy/registered).

All I know is it's a Holden Barina, unknown age, condition, or transmission. I'll have a look and see soon I guess. Even if it costs $1000 to get it roadworthy it still might be decent. It'll be economical, they're hardly big cars. Can't complain if it's free.

OK, so the above has fallen through.

I'm a bit torn as to what to get. I could spend maybe $2000-2500 and get something late 1990s vintage with ~250,000km, or spend closer to $3500-4000 and get something early-mid 2000s with maybe 150,000-200,000km.

I'm thinking it's probably worth the extra. Especially as I would be able to get away with something a bit smaller if I went newer.

What does everyone else think? Go for the cheap beater or spend a little more for something that'll last a bit longer/be safer?

As you can probably tell, I've been analysing the shit out of the purchase.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 05:55:47 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Exflyboy

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2014, 07:18:28 AM »
Your Brother is overseas?.. How about parking his van at your place, you insure it of course, then use it only as you need to.

When he comes home figure out how much the extra mileage has cost him in depreciation, then either cut him a cheque or buy the van from him.

Seems to me the best of all worlds.. no financial hit for you, your still motivated not to drive for fear of running up too many miles (km's). You Brother gets his car maintained.

The worst thing you can do for a car is to leave it sitting without being run, it will be worthless much quicker doing that.

Frank

Exflyboy

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2014, 07:21:46 AM »
Oh and stop thinking of "fat" in your budget.. Its not fat, its savings that are accelerating you to FI.. Keep yer eye on the ball..:)

Frank

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2014, 07:52:13 AM »
Your Brother is overseas?.. How about parking his van at your place, you insure it of course, then use it only as you need to.

When he comes home figure out how much the extra mileage has cost him in depreciation, then either cut him a cheque or buy the van from him.

Seems to me the best of all worlds.. no financial hit for you, your still motivated not to drive for fear of running up too many miles (km's). You Brother gets his car maintained.

The worst thing you can do for a car is to leave it sitting without being run, it will be worthless much quicker doing that.

Frank

I've had the van here for the last couple of weeks, and it's been driven a fair bit on weekends (I've been off visiting friends in other parts of the city this weekend). No real need to drive anywhere mid-week though.

Given the van's age and mileage, I think my brother would be quite happy for it to have a full tank when he gets home. It's a 1995 with 519000km/325000miles, and fairly well-worn. I've had to top it up with oil and coolant this weekend :)

Oh and stop thinking of "fat" in your budget.. Its not fat, its savings that are accelerating you to FI.. Keep yer eye on the ball..:)

Frank

Ahh, when I'm referring to 'fat' in the budget, what I mean that there's additional areas I could cut to save more. :)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 07:53:46 AM by alsoknownasDean »

surfhb

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2014, 08:45:06 AM »
If not having a car prevents you from visiting the people and places you love then do it.   its not about saving as much as you can while neglecting the items in your life that make you happyĵ

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2014, 06:52:13 AM »

If not having a car prevents you from visiting the people and places you love then do it.   its not about saving as much as you can while neglecting the items in your life that make you happyĵ

True. I guess I'm just used to analysing the shit out of any purchase I make, and forever trying to justify it :)

The car plans are currently on hold, as I recently decided to move closer to the city instead.

alsoknownasDean

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Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2014, 05:41:02 AM »
Settled in to the new place, so looking at this again to get to places where I can't ride my bike :)

I'm struggling to choose though. Do I get a cheap beater, or spend a little extra? A slightly bigger, cheaper car or a smaller, more economical, but more expensive model?

Another concern is dealer vs private. In my state, a certificate of roadworthiness is needed to transfer registration. Lots of the private sales at the cheap end of the market are either unregistered, or the buyer is expected to pay for the certificate (including any required repairs/testing). I think given the choice between getting my own certificate (potentially paying four figures to get it to standard like was quoted for the previously-mentioned Barina), or just getting one from a dealer, I'd lean towards the dealer.

alsoknownasDean

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Considering buying a car again - facepunch?
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2014, 04:30:22 PM »
So I ended up caving and putting a deposit down on a car.

It seems decent for the money, 2002 Holden Barina (Opel Corsa), 1.4L manual, 111000km (70000 miles), $3000.

A few scuffs and scratches, but it seems pretty tidy for the money. Went surprisingly well for a 1.4 too.

I was considering the equivalent Japanese cars (Mazda2, Honda Jazz, Toyota Echo), but they were usually a grand or two more for the same age/k's/condition (especially the Honda, they were rare below $5000).
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 07:37:47 PM by alsoknownasDean »