Author Topic: Struggling with a car decision  (Read 6779 times)

afraz

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Struggling with a car decision
« on: December 30, 2014, 05:45:53 AM »
I currently drive a toyota yaris T sport 2003. It is a faster version of the yaris, similar reliability and economy.

I am contemplating selling it and buying a BMW Z3 1997. The reason to do it is because it is a gorgeous car and a convertible. I will need to add about $2500-3000 over what  I can get for the Yaris, and it is expected to have somewhat higher maintenance costs.

I commute 1.5 hours each way to work. This is not something I can easily change because we live in a house we own, we have 5 kids in various schools, etc. And - there are not comparable job opportunities near our house.

Taking the commute as a given, do you think that it's smart to indulge in a nice car that I can enjoy more, recognizing it will add a little cost?

I'm very conflicted.

Bikesy

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 06:26:51 AM »
The struggle is real...

johnny847

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 06:31:07 AM »
Do you have a projected FIRE date? Have you sat down and calculated how much you'd have to push back your FIRE date from the initial outlay and increased driving costs?

In the end, saving is just deferred spending. We all have to balance living today vs saving for tomorrow. And I think one way of trying to capture that balance is the effect on your FIRE date (though I'm sure there are better metrics).

DeltaBond

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2014, 06:34:33 AM »
If you already have savings, and you're paying cash for the BMW, and you will have savings left after that and are budgeting in maintenance costs (just look at what BMS tires cost, wow) and if you have all that set up, I don't think I'd point too many fingers at you for this change. 

I noticed one one car website the cost per mile of owning a car, and it was interesting.  BMWs were kinda high, but do your research and see if you can make this change comfortably and are aware of what the maintenance costs are (serious about the cost of tires there).

JLee

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 06:53:00 AM »
I currently drive a toyota yaris T sport 2003. It is a faster version of the yaris, similar reliability and economy.

I am contemplating selling it and buying a BMW Z3 1997. The reason to do it is because it is a gorgeous car and a convertible. I will need to add about $2500-3000 over what  I can get for the Yaris, and it is expected to have somewhat higher maintenance costs.

I commute 1.5 hours each way to work. This is not something I can easily change because we live in a house we own, we have 5 kids in various schools, etc. And - there are not comparable job opportunities near our house.

Taking the commute as a given, do you think that it's smart to indulge in a nice car that I can enjoy more, recognizing it will add a little cost?

I'm very conflicted.

Are you able to do maintenance yourself? That will likely impact you more over time than the initial cost will.

I am a car guy, through and through...I've owned at least two vehicles since I was 21 (at three now), so my opinion generally is if you want it, if you will enjoy it, if you know what you're doing, and if you can afford it, drive what you love. If you get a good enough deal that you can sell it for what you paid after a couple of years, even better. :)

iluvzbeach

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 07:26:01 AM »
A 17 yo BMW as an everyday driver, not to mention your lengthy commute, is a very scary proposition to me from a high cost of maintenance and reliability perspective. My hubby and I were looking for a fun, weekend convertible a few years back and this is one type we had considered. Further research showed big reliability issues and very expensive maintenance costs (mostly computerized, so most repairs can't be done yourself), so we passed. Toyotas are known for strong reliability ratings and I'd hate to see you follow-up with a post about your biggest car purchase mistake ever. Pass on the BMW. Just my two cents.

JLee

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 07:48:55 AM »
A 17 yo BMW as an everyday driver, not to mention your lengthy commute, is a very scary proposition to me from a high cost of maintenance and reliability perspective. My hubby and I were looking for a fun, weekend convertible a few years back and this is one type we had considered. Further research showed big reliability issues and very expensive maintenance costs (mostly computerized, so most repairs can't be done yourself), so we passed. Toyotas are known for strong reliability ratings and I'd hate to see you follow-up with a post about your biggest car purchase mistake ever. Pass on the BMW. Just my two cents.

I have heard this for years - the only case I've personally researched this to be true is with Mercedes and their proprietary computer system (which you can buy tools for used, but they're several hundred $$ at least).  I've owned a 2005 Tundra and 2004 Cadillac, neither of which required anything special. I am not overly familiar with BMW, but 1997 is barely into OBDII range (96+) so I would be surprised if it was very heavily computerized.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 07:50:34 AM »
Is a prettier, shinier car really going to make your life that much better?  If so, then go for it, it's going to provide long term value.

I know for me, I place little value on objects that others view as a status symbol.  Seems trite and petty to me.

From a numbers standpoint, with your 1.5 hour commute, consider the fuel economy as well.

Also, convertible...leak nightmare.

afraz

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 01:57:26 PM »
Just to add more information that was alluded to in responses:
1) I would be paying cash for purchase, maintenance, and any repairs. I have savings and no debt.
2) Fuel economy is same for both cars. I live in Israel and the version of the BMW sold here has a more efficient engine than those sold in the USA, it gets about 15 KM/L.
3) The Z3 is not heavily computerized and you can do most repairs yourself. I am not an expert but I consider the prospect of learning to tinker on the car to be an interesting new hobby, within reason. For anything that impacts the safety, such as brakes and fundamental mechanical problems I'd probably go to a professional mechanic, but not to the dealer.
4) Also - my wife has a mazda 5 for the kids. I can use it for a day here and there if the BMW is being repaired or the weather is really bad.
5) I have not calculated a FIRE date - I'm new on the site and not familiar with that, can you explain? Does it mean the date I hope to be financially independent?

JLee

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 02:01:03 PM »
FYI, brakes are one of the easiest things to do yourself that also saves you the most money.

afraz

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 02:12:26 PM »
To broaden the question I'd also like to share more of my reasons for and against

AGAINST:
1) No matter how you slice it this will cost more than what I'm currently doing, and bottom line it is a luxury not a necessity, so why not skip it.
2) Hedonic adaptation will take the thrill out of it in a few months of daily driving. So even if I want to "treat myself", maybe I should just rent a fun car a couple weeks a year when I'm on vacation.
3) It'll be the fanciest car in my neighborhood. Do I really want to be "that guy"? Do I think it's good for society to have people flaunt possessions that others can't afford?
4) Driving a "party" car all the time is a little weird. What if I'm going to a funeral, do I park around the block and walk over?
6) Maybe the cost will get out of control and it will become a money pit beyond the costs I'm already calculating in.

FOR:
1) It looks amazing. Look at it. http://www.crutchfield.com/S-b6NJdPdJpCj/learn/waldo-ms-1997-bmw-z3-roadster.html
2) Driving a convertible is like a little vacation every day. I won't get tired of it.
3) I live in Israel and it is sunny 7/8 of the time, what better a way to enjoy it?
4) Better to enjoy a little pleasure every day and not need to spend money on a therapeutic vacation so often.

Eric

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 02:39:02 PM »
The struggle is real...

LOL

Yeah, how will you ever decide?  I mean, it's only $3000 more to get a less reliable car that's 6 years older.  It'd be foolish to pass on such an incredible deal as that.

Exflyboy

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 05:48:32 PM »
Yup.. lets insurance COST, fuel COST, parts will be a freaking fortune (COST), Tires (COST).,, Oh and its a convertible.

Come on dude, get your head on straight.. last thing you want when driving a lot is a whole bunch of extra COST.

This will feel good for about a week then you'll start shelling out big bucks then you'll hate it.

Frank

johnny847

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 10:02:07 PM »
5) I have not calculated a FIRE date - I'm new on the site and not familiar with that, can you explain? Does it mean the date I hope to be financially independent?
FIRE = financially independent, retired early

So yup, you got it. Basically my question to you is - is it worth the projected increase in working years worth it for you to drive around a Z3?

ketchup

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 10:09:36 PM »
A long commute means driving the oldest, most beat-up (cheap), reliable, fuel-sipping car you can find so that your per-mile depreciation is as low as possible so that driving that much is slightly less painful than it would be for most.

I would not commute in a fancy car.

Zoot Allures

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2014, 12:20:58 AM »
do you think that it's smart to indulge in a nice car that I can enjoy more, recognizing it will add a little cost?

It strikes me as a rather odd question to be asking in this forum. Most people are here to get support in avoiding this kind of lifestyle inflation, and to support other people in doing the same.

truxtian

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2014, 01:56:23 AM »
I had a 2007 BMW 328i for a few years, and I commuted in it 126 mi (round-trip) for a little over a year, every day.

If I could go back in time, I would punch myself in the face.

Problems:

- Road grit will chip the front paint of the car. It will not look good
- You really should use Premuim gas. You can get away with regular, but my engine ran like crap when I tried it.  So more gas cost.
- Repairs are insanely spendy. I had the maintenance plan for a while, but after that, it was expensive. The parts alone are ridiculously marked up.
- BMW's tend to run great until they hit 100,000 - 120,000 miles. Then it's off to increased visits to RepairTown

If you commute, please don't give in to the shiny like I did. You will regret it. Get a car built for commuting - my best was a simple Honda Civic I owned. No problems for 330,000 miles, where it finally gave up the ghost on me.

Anyway, that's my two cents from owning one for a few years.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2014, 04:36:35 AM »
Struggle?  Are you kidding me? 

Sorry to sound harsh:  You want to buy a 17 year old high maintenance vehicle to commute 3 hours per day?  Read again, and again, and again, them punch yourself in the face!!

Happy New Year!!

Westoftown

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2014, 06:55:07 AM »
A 2 seater does not sound like a good option for a family with 5 kids.  I don't think you are going to get a lot of responses that you will like here!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2014, 07:32:30 AM »
A Z3 doesn't seem to make sense for 3 hours of daily commuting or for someone with a large family.

I wouldn't do it.

afraz

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2015, 02:49:28 PM »
Thanks, everyone for the advice. Much appreciated.

jlajr

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2015, 02:04:34 AM »
I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'd like to say hello as a fellow Israeli. I searched for "israel" in the forum, and this topic was one of the results.

I've spent about a year reading through almost all of the MMM blog posts, but only just now joined the forum.

So, afraz, I wish you the best of luck getting in touch with your inner badass and continuing down the path of an Israeli mustachian.

And, yes, as others noted, your commute and consideration of the 1997 Z3 does fly in the face of balls-to-the-wall mustachianism.

On the other hand, even MMM and his family acknowledge certain non-mustachian behavior in their lives.

If, for now, you're tied to that car clown commute, and realize that it is one of the reasons to achieve financial independence, I understand wanting something like a Z3. But, I would recommend considering something possibly more reliable: a Mazda MX-5 (Miata).

My own similar decision came in 2012 when I replaced a 2007 Fiat Panda with a 2011 Fiat Panda for no other reason than the newer one has a sunroof. Like you wrote, it's sunny something like 330 out of 365 days here, so as far as I'm concerned, it's simply silly not to have a sunroof (or a convertible). :)

Even though my office is now within walking distance of where I live, and I do walk on days it isn't raining or expected to rain (distinctly nonmustachian of me), I have not sold the car. It is my luxury, but at the same time, a luxury that does not cost me a whole lot of money. And I have every intention on keeping it for at least another decade.

Good luck, and Shabbat Shalom!

jlajr
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 02:06:32 AM by jlajr »

jlajr

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Re: Struggling with a car decision
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2015, 02:11:37 AM »
Forgot to mention: I had also considered 10- to 15-year-old BMWs in the not-so-distant past. Specifically, the BMW 3-series Compact models (which were replaced by the 1-series). They are usually the least-expensive BMWs for any particular model year, and a lot of the ones I saw on yad2 and elsewhere had sunroofs.