Car Conundrums

Posted: 2011-01-19 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I may be purchasing a new car today.

This is a strange experience for me, and not an easy decision to make.

Not because I have a hard time deciding on a car, but because my brain keeps rejecting the idea of spending this kind of money on myself.

I’ve owned the same 1997 Honda CRV since I was a college senior in 2001. That means my little box-mobile is ~14 years old and I’ve had it for nearly 10 years. Three years ago Dee and I bought a minivan to be able to house us, the kids, and all of our crap on trips, and simplify the day-to-day loading/unloading of the car. We’ve been making monthly car payments on that, and as part of the new car buying situation, I will be paying off the rest of what we owe on that before signing on the dotted line for this new car.

The new car’s monthly payment will be less than what we’re paying monthly now for the minivan. The money needed to pay off the minivan has been extra savings in an emergency fund and based on my recent budget calculations, is better to be spent to reduce us to 1 car payment rather than sitting in an interest-bearing account at ING. In essence – I can afford this car without any real inconvenience to us, besides extending the completion date of an auto loan payoff for another 3 years.

Yet still I feel guilty about purchasing the car. I have no problem buying little things for myself, but when it comes to large purchases like this, I feel like it’s selfish and immature to be spending so much money on something I will be the primary driver of and the rest of my family will only use occasionally. I know that’s silly, yet I can’t shake those thoughts.

My faithful little Honda is not going to waste, either. A couple of minor repairs to get it into more reliable shape, (including some new tires), and it will become an early graduation present for my niece, who will hopefully be able to glean use from it during the next 3-4 years while she’s in college.

I guess in the end, I’ll just try not to let my conscience get me twisted up over this car. I know I’m going to enjoy it once I’m driving it, and I probably deserve it. It’s just going to take a little bit of time to get over these feelings that I’m taking something away from my family. I know in my head that’s not the case; now just to convince the rest of me…

  1. Budd says:

    WWDRD- What would Dave Ramsey do? I think paying off the van is a smart move as long as you leave yourself at least $1k in the bank. It isn’t smart to dig yourself right back into the, smaller albeit, same hole of debt. Maybe suffer for another 6mos to a year in the CRV and take what you would be making in payments and save it for something else, then you can roll the sale of the CRV into the purchase of something else. you should have around $3,500 at that point. While not a lot to buy a car with, you can get something reliable and have no car payment. continue making said payment to a seperate savings account for 3 years and you have closer to $10,000.

    The downside to this plan is that there is no car for the niece, but Freshman year she should have to live in the dorms and a car would only get her into trouble.

    That might be what Dave Ramsey would tell you, except he would make sure there was no other debt other than a 15year home loan before you started saving for a new car. Free cars for life video


    • Ross says:

      Good points, Budd. I understand the financial aspects of what you/Dave Ramsey are suggesting and agree that is a very good way to save money and increase your net worth. Definitely something to consider, but I have to balance it against convenience & peace of mind aspects of my life right now, so there’s no “easy” answer, but a couple paths I’m leaning towards.


  2. I also had a hard time accepting a new car. The hubby decided we should get a new car because I was tired of having to deal with all the pre-owned vehicles I had gone through, and he wouldn’t be able to help me if the car broke down (he works at night). Our schedules are too different to only have one vehicle.

    Just learn to accept it! Sometimes people just need to get a new car.

    Unrelated to your post, your mentioning being a senior in 2001 made me realize we’re the same age. or around the same age. Every time I see someone who has kids I usually expect them to be older than me, especially if the kids are more than a couple of years old. Man… I’m just much farther behind everyone in starting a family/life.


  3. snoringKatZ says:

    I’ve already bought The Damn Car™ – that piece of @)#$(*@ – so you’ll be fine no matter what you choose. Actually, I have a different perspective. Although I am ridiculously frugal… ok, cheap… I am a ferocious researcher and shopper and buy the best that I can afford. The best isn’t always the most expensive, of course, but I don’t mind budgeting for and spending the money to get what is most suitable. Having said that, I disclaim any responsibility for The Damn Car™. It was not my fault but it is my burden.

    Having you in a safe and reliable vehicle is totally worth it to your family. I think if you asked, they’d back me 100% on that! So shake those willies. You’ve got an excellent home for your little CRV and what you choose will be your chariot to the future.



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