Author Topic: Please help me NOT buy a car!  (Read 3989 times)

freeatlast

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Please help me NOT buy a car!
« on: June 19, 2016, 10:07:58 AM »
I just got a new job that requires a commute. I have a perfectly good 2004 bmw  (bought 10 years ago before I found MMM!) with only 64000 miles on it. It does eat a lot of gas, but that's the only downside. I have had this horrible hunkering for a newer car (maybe 2012 or better) to get better gas mileage, the backup cameras, and all the cool new stuff.  I know this is not necessary and not needed. I do have the money to buy, but I'm trying to pay down my mortgage. The bmw won't cover a trade cause of its rough condition. Not sure how to beat this urge as I've had it for about a month now.... Face punches are needed! Thanks!

Dicey

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 10:42:55 AM »
In my pre-FIRE days, my trick to avoid scratching that itch was to calculate the sales tax for the particular vehicle I had my eye on. Then I spent a fraction of that having my car detailed. Worked every time. YMMV, but if it works, you're welcome.

lbmustache

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 12:23:56 PM »
You have to drive a lot to see significant savings from increased MPG. Use fuel economy.gov to compare cars.

I did a quick one for you:
2004 BMW 325i (no clue if this is the BMW you are driving)
vs
2012 Toyota Prius

20 MPG avg vs 50 MPG avg.

You will save $3750 a year BUT it requires you to drive 15000 miles a year. If you drive 8000 miles a year, the savings drop down to $1750. Based on those numbers, you can figure out how long it would take you to recoup the costs of a newer vehicle vs the savings you get from fuel alone.

Choices

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 01:49:56 PM »
Don't forget the extra costs: sales tax, higher registration and insurance costs, increased work/$ spent on keeping your new toy clean and shiny because you'll care more.

Plus nonmonetary costs like the heartache you'll feel with every door ding or rock chip. I love having a well-worn car.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 02:10:41 PM »
In my pre-FIRE days, my trick to avoid scratching that itch was to calculate the sales tax for the particular vehicle I had my eye on. Then I spent a fraction of that having my car detailed. Worked every time. YMMV, but if it works, you're welcome.

Oooh I love this plan! Tucking this in the back pocket for sure. I'm giving it 3 years before SirB gets a serious new car hankering...

libertarian4321

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2016, 04:59:23 PM »
Don't forget the extra costs: sales tax, higher registration and insurance costs, increased work/$ spent on keeping your new toy clean and shiny because you'll care more.

Plus nonmonetary costs like the heartache you'll feel with every door ding or rock chip. I love having a well-worn car.

+1 on the "ding" stuff.

We just picked up my wife's BMW from the hail damage repair shop yesterday.  She had insurance, but it still cost a lot of money.  If we have another hail storm (and we've been having a lot lately), she's back in the shop and out another $1,000.  The hail storm left dozens of dents on her car.

My old truck sat out through the same hail storm.  The hail didn't even penetrate the layer of hardened dust and pollen that coats it.  Not a mark on it.

Not that I would have cared.  It's a 14-year old truck.  Who cares if it gets "dinged."

I never worry about anyone "dooring" me.  You want to smash your door (or a  shopping cart) into my truck?  Go ahead, it doesn't matter.  You will just rearrange the dust.

And needless to say, I don't have to worry about anyone stealing the damned thing...



freeatlast

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2016, 07:35:46 PM »
Thanks all! I'm really trying not to scratch the itch. The comments were really helpful. I ran the gas savings and I'd have to own for 10 years to recoup the costs of what I want. I'm going to focus on the freedom I will buy myself with early RE ..... Meeting my financial goals should be way more satisfying. It is hard though with all the ads and hype in our consumer society though - and I'm usually pretty frugal :) Thanks!

darkadams00

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2016, 10:16:52 PM »
Heck, almost anything you could use that money to do would be more interesting than just "trading up" from one perfectly functioning car to another--retirement/savings are the obvious choices but better purchase ideas include new tools to do work around the house, exercise equipment to stay in good health, a bike to enjoy the sunshine, a trip with the significant other/family, etc. When a person trades up in car, I always wonder how much value/utility s/he actually derives from the exchange. Are the new gadgets really that interesting? I travel quite a bit for business and rent cars often. I've never been enamored with the new gadgets enough to spend extra for them. Given almost any alternative, I would choose to spend my money on the alternative.

PDM

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2016, 11:09:37 PM »
As per other posters - make a spreadsheet and work out the "actual" benefits of better fuel economy. In most cases (outside of driving A LOT) the new car with better mileage is way more expensive.

In fact, making a spreadsheet is the answer here. Include all costs. And depreciation. Then compare that to what you could do with that money paying down debt. Weigh that up against the new car with the bells and whistles.

If you REALLY want those reversing cameras, dash cameras, new stereo with mp3 and apps (I don't know what new cars have these days) - then you can add those pretty cheaply.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 07:48:30 AM »
I feel you OP. I spend a tiny portion of every day looking at new cars online, playing with loan calculators ("If I put X down, my car payment would be Z"), watching Youtube reviews and comparisons of cars,  etc. And because I've been looking at new cars, I can now tell the difference between a 2016 Civic and 2015 Civic, between a 2016 Corolla vs a 2015 Corolla, etc. I've had this itch for months now and it hasn't gone away.

Some things that I've been doing to help, though:

(1) I have no car payment, but I still put a line item budget for a car payment. Like every other category, the columns read: "Budget, Actual, Difference." It feels good to put $0.00, $0.00, $0.00 in that spreadsheet every month.

(2) I wash and clean the interior of my car at least once a month. Keeping it look nice makes a big difference in how I feel about the car.

(3) This one is weird, but my car is so basic that these 2016 models seem insane to me. And from watching endless Youtube reviews, it's pretty clear that whatever is in luxury models now (Lexus, Acura, Mercedes, etc.) will be a standard feature in economy compact cars in 3-4 years. Think about it: Mercedes was advertising push-start buttons and backup cameras like they were the greatest thing ever 4-5 years ago. Now they are standard in a freaking Honda Civic! So now I find myself looking at luxury models (which I would never buy) and think, "Oh, that's going to be sweet in a Civic a couple years from now. I'll wait."

(4) My friend is a car salesman, and he says the best time to get a car is the end of the year when they are getting the newer models. So I've basically only given myself a two month window where I'm even allowed to think about buying a car. And if my car is running fine, I'll probably pass that window up, leaving me with another year of no car payments.

(5) A very helpful thing has been to focus on not the after tax cost, but the before tax cost. Say my car payment ends up being $250 per month. That means I can contribute $350-375 less to my 401k, HSA, or traditional IRA each month. It's actually probably more than that when you add in increased insurance premiums. So focusing on the actual cost makes a big difference for me mentally.

(6) The biggest and most important thing, I think, is to remember that I only spend about three hours per week in my car. That is 1.7% of my week. Even if your work commute is a longer, you have to ask yourself, do I really want to pay $250 per month for the privilege of driving a nicer car for such a limited amount of time?

As I said at the outset, though, I feel your pain. It gets to the point where you feel like you're depriving yourself, but I can't help that this feeling is just the product of anxiety straight from Madison Avenue. Every month I keep my car is a small win. That Focus is nine years old now and I hope it goes another nine years. Because holy hell, if the 2016 Civics are as awesome as they are, imagine how incredible the 2025 Civic will be. And yes, if I own this car for 15-18 years or whatever, damn right I am going to get a brand new car when the time is right.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 07:51:03 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

mrpercentage

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2016, 08:12:48 AM »
I got a new car not that long ago. I put 1/3 down.

My thought is that if there is nothing wrong with your car keep it. I got a new one to side step a repair bill that was big and my car had 179000 miles on it.

So look online and find the car you think you would buy then calculate the cost for it or payments. Then begin making those payments to yourself for three months and see how much you like that. Don't forget to call the insurance company for a quote.

Then calculate what those payments would be if they went into the market instead for three years and what that would be in 30 years so you can see what it will really cost you.

Cars happen but they happen less when you explore the full cost

Slee_stack

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2016, 12:44:43 PM »
Make a personal pact that you will buy a fancy new car after you've accumulated $3- $5M....if you still want one then.

mjones1234

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2016, 03:03:19 PM »
I get itches like this sometimes and it always helps me to buy something less expensive just to satisfy the sweet tooth. For example, I got the camping bug and looked at RV's and campers for weeks. I knew it would put us further away from our FI number, and that was really making the decision tough. Then, I decided to buy the best tent I could find (REI Kingdom) and a canoe. Between the two (with discounts on the tent and buying used on Craigslist) I spent around $575 instead of $6k we would have spent. We went camping last weekend and enjoyed ourselves immensely. For now, I'm not even thinking about a camper. Just our next trip using that awesome tent.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2016, 03:43:38 PM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/07/02/if-you-wouldnt-buy-it-you-should-probably-sell-it/

Id recommend selling your current car to a private buyer (probably from craigslist) as anywhere else you wont get what the car is worth, then buying one of the cars similar to one below from a private seller (probably from craigslist) make sure to have the seller meet you at a mechanic to get an inspection done before you buy the car. Preferably go to a dealer that sells that make of car (so if it is a Nissan Versa, go to a Nissan Dealership mechanic).

2010 Nissan Versa hatchback with 40k miles for $7,500 (MPG: 26 City, 31 Highway)
2011 Kia Forte Hatchback with 40k miles for $9,500 (25C, 34H)
2010 Pontiac Vibe with 40k miles for $9,700 (26C, 32H) (cheaper version of Toyota Matrix)
2011 Nissan Leaf (electric) with 40k miles for $8,000 (Battery Range: around 80 miles)
2010 Honda Fit with 40k miles for $9,600 (27C, 33H)
2006 Toyota Corolla with 80k miles for $6,200 (26C, 35H)
2006 Scion XA with 80k miles for $5,600 (27C, 34H)
2010 Toyota Yaris with 40k miles for $8000 (29C, 36H)

csdreaming

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2016, 10:03:31 PM »
The only thing that would make me lean towards justifying replacing your BMW is part replacement cost. I had a friend who inherited a fancy car and to replace parts would cost 3 times as much as their cheaper car's parts.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2016, 06:05:58 AM »
Put the amount you were planning on spending on a car onto your mortgage. Continue until mortgage is paid off. :)

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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2016, 08:16:10 AM »
The only thing that would make me lean towards justifying replacing your BMW is part replacement cost. I had a friend who inherited a fancy car and to replace parts would cost 3 times as much as their cheaper car's parts.

When I started dating my husband, he drove a BMW. It was incredible the contrast- we replaced wiper blades on the same day. My oooooold as hell chevy Tahoe? $7 per blade with a coupon and the store put them on for me.

His BMW? $45 PER wiper blade. And that was WITHOUT an install.

csdreaming

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Re: Please help me NOT buy a car!
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2016, 10:16:34 PM »
The only thing that would make me lean towards justifying replacing your BMW is part replacement cost. I had a friend who inherited a fancy car and to replace parts would cost 3 times as much as their cheaper car's parts.

When I started dating my husband, he drove a BMW. It was incredible the contrast- we replaced wiper blades on the same day. My oooooold as hell chevy Tahoe? $7 per blade with a coupon and the store put them on for me.

His BMW? $45 PER wiper blade. And that was WITHOUT an install.

Gross! Thankyou Bracken_Joy. I think this is a good argument for a trade-in. The gas doesn't matter, but what could you get for trade in value? Even if insurance is more on a newer car, part cost has to fit in somewhere for insurance.