|The boys and the new micro-van.|
What makes buying a new (to us) used car slightly less exciting?
1) Buying it a year earlier than anticipated because your old car won't pass the draconian PA inspection laws.
2) Draining not only your car savings fund, but also your "dream Italian vacation fund" AND half your emergency fund. OUCH.
What makes unexpectedly buying a new car MORE exciting?
NOT going into debt ALL OVER AGAIN to buy a depreciating hunk of metal.
Actually, I shouldn't call it a hunk of metal. We want to be wise stewards of the resources God gives us, however much or little that may be. And, for the first time in our lives, we are have TWO big kid cars. Reliable, safe, good gas mileage vehicles. Thank you God! And now that we are there (sort of), we want to stay there (unless of course, we could live somewhere where life worked with only one car).
SO, what is the plan? The "secret," if you will, of a life without car payments.
1) WORK your way up into vehicles that work for your family. Start with whatever you can afford in cash. Even if it is a rusty 2001 Nissan pathfinder (wink, wink). Then save like crazy until you can get into something better and newer. Repeat. Until you are in the type of quality used vehicle you can imagine driving for many years.
2) ENJOY the feeling of your owning your zippy little microvan with sliding doors :).
3) START saving a little bit each month right away for your next vehicle. The idea is to keep that car for only a few years, before it loses too much of its value, and then sell the old car and use the savings to buy a car that is just a few years newer. In other words, pay yourself a mini- car payment every month.
I used to think running cars into the ground was the answer (better than a car payment or a lease, right?), but it is truly is a terrible feeling when you get next to nothing because you let your giant hunk of metal depreciate into rusty scrap metal. The reality for us is that we didn't quite work this plan quickly enough, so we will spend the next 6 months or so paying ourselves back by replenishing that emergency fund. But hey, that is what emergency funds are FOR right? The expected unexpected...or is it the unexpected expected?
Either way...I am now officially a mom with a (micro)van...AND a double stroller...all in one week. EEK!
Note: I originally heard about this "plan" on Dave Ramsey's web site. His explanation is here.