mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Is it dumb to buy new cars?

I was reading the off-topic section of a favorite deal-discussion board when I came across this post:

OMG people are stupid

Someone I know just told me "ohh i lease a new car every 2 years. i just cant drive anything older than 2 years." wow just wow

Most of the next couple posts agreed with the original poster (OP), until someone replied:

If that person can afford it, and the value of having a new car is that important to them ... I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. You only go around once in this world -- enjoy it now! I don't think that's "stupid" at all.

I replied:

tend to agree. I always get a little annoyed when I read the FW Finance Forum and everyone is like "if you do anything but buy an 8 year old car and drive it until the wheels fall off you are a sucker". I look at cars like any other hobby/interest - some people like to spend their money on trips or home improvents or plasma TV's, some people like to spend it on cars.

Obviously, if you are living outside your means to support your new-car habit, you are being foolish, but if can afford to pay for the rest of your expenses and put a little away, and you really enjoy cars, I see nothing wrong with spending the money.

And occasionally good deals can be found on leases (if you get a car with good resale value - the leasing company knows they can afford lower payments since they will sell the car at a decent price - or if it's a company-backed promo to move inventory).

The "FW finance" I talk about is Fatwallet's finance forum. It's filled with people who will shoot down anyone who talks about buying a new car, especially a nice new car as a financially stupid move.

If your sole goal in life is to spend as little money as possible, that's true. If you are one of those people who doesn't care what car you drive, then that's true. But some people - myself included - like cars. I get a happy feeling when I see or drive my car. That is worth spending money on to me. Everyone has a hobby - some people like to spend their money on collecting stamps or fancy electronics or trips to Europe because that makes them happy, even if it costs them money. I like cars.

My current car is a little over 4 years old. I still have almost a year of payments left on it, but I'm dropping the payoff in the mail tomorrow, mostly because I want the balance off my credit report before I start shopping for mortgages. But I'm hoping to buy a new car in 10 or 11 months - probably a Subaru WRX wagon or a Saab 92-X. I figure if I buy it near the end of the model year I can get a decent deal.

Could I get another couple years out of my current car? Yes, but I've also had some wierd buggy problems with it - a burned out check engine light sensor, a guage cluster that won't work (that I still haven't gotten around to getting fixed). That makes me wonder if I'm going to have futher issues - if it's a lemon, a ticking time bomb. I also like the idea of having a 4wd car - when I bought my current car I test drove a Jeep Cherokee, and while I hated it's ergronomics and handling, I still kick myself for not buying it every time it snows.

My living situation also necessitates reliable transportation - I need to get to work and class, and I don't have family or an S.O. I can ride with. None of my coworkers live near me to give me a ride, and most of them work different shifts. Not having a car makes my life very difficult, which is why I've been driving around without a gas guage or speedometer for the last 6 weeks - because I can't be without my car while it's in the shop.

And that's why I see nothing wrong with buying a new car...


At 8:51 PM, Blogger Muneer said...

Direct link for those who want to read the whole thread.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Muneer said...

Oh, And I am a slickdeals person myself. :)

At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

what kind of car do you have that's only 4 years old yet falling apart, want to make sure to avoid whatever model that is. I personally prefer cars in the 6 year old range, you can get one heck of a deal on cars with under 60,000 miles, and the cars still look very new. Cars that were 30K when new sell for under $8K, the financial savings are too hard to pass up for me, also then I can not feel bad about getting a "new" car every 3 years, because I will have only lost $5000 in depreciation, instead of $20,000 with new car tax taken into consideration, even if I need a new trans, engine, AC compressor, and need enterprise to pick me up 20 times,(highly unlikely on all counts) I am still way ahead.

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