The nice break that I had from paying a car payment is now officially over. My big plans for being car-payment-free and driving my old car for 300,000 miles into the sunset was interrupted by real life and the reality that it would could cost over $4,000 to keep it running. With the combination of old age and the wear and tear of a 152-mile per day commute, my poor little car just couldn't deliver what I was asking of it. It's okay though; it was a great and reliable car and kept me safe even during even the worst days of the brutal New England winter weather.
While I was frustrated at the thought of having to take on another car payment, I knew that I now had the good financial sense to make a smart decision this time around and do it in the most sensible way that I could. I am proud of the results and I can tell you how good it feels to not (for the very first time) lay awake at night, knowing that I made a dumb financial mistake and bought a car that I couldn't afford. This time, I believe I got it right; after learning so many difficult lessons and gaining the knowledge from writing this blog and sharing my mistakes with you.
For one, I bought used for the first time since I was a teenager and I will tell you this: I will never, ever buy new again. This car is only one year-old and it shaved about $8,000 off of the price because of it. It only had 13,000 miles and is in mint condition, with a sparkling interior and exterior and four brand-new tires. Everyone who has seen it thinks it's brand new, and I can't help but smile because of it.
Next, it is a four-cylinder instead of six, like my old car. This has shaved about $25 off of my weekly gas expenses for a savings of $100 every month and I swear to you, I can't tell the difference between the two types of cars.
Finally, because it's used, I save about another $100 off of my annual insurance costs. Because of my perfect driving record, the fact that I'm forty and I'm a woman, my insurance costs are already reasonable, but I'll take that extra $100 thank-you-very much.
Oh, and because the cost was so much less, my car payment is about $200 less than my last one. Not bad at all, right?
It pays to be smart and to refrain from "needing" the latest and the greatest.
Have you saved significant money buying used rather than new? Share your story with me!