This week, the M-Network will be posting about new cars vs used cars vs no car at all – each from our own unique perspective on what is right for us and our situation. And you’re invited to join in! If you post a post about what choices you make in daily transportation and why, and either link to this post or let me know via a comment, email, or my contact form, I’ll add a link to your post at the end of this one. And as the other M-Network members post this week about their transportation choices, I’ll be adding links to their posts at the end of this one as well.
I used to be a “new car only” person. My dad was first a car salesman and then a manager at a car dealership as I was growing up, and he was (and is) a huge proponent of buying new cars. Being the good daughter I guess, I never really questioned that “truth”. When I bought my first car, I bought a new car because I wanted it to last a very long time. Understanding depreciation never entered my head. I was only 16, in my defense, but still. I bought a brand new car in 1990, a GEO Tracker, and it served me well. I kept it until 2004 in fact, when I was pregnant with my first child, and the car needed some extensive repairs that I didn’t want to pay for, since I was planning on replacing it before my son was born anyway. The Tracker is similar to a Jeep and it wasn’t, for me, the ideal family car.
I would have bought another new car (and financed the bulk of it) but my spouse was a big proponent of buying late model used cars and letting someone else take the first depreciation hit on it for you. And he helped me see the light (for me). We did loads of calculations n what we could buy for what we could afford to pay, and I was convinced. Buy a two year old car, and get a lot more for your money.
We actually ended up buying a three year old car. One of the perks to it is that it has a whole lot of features I would never have paid for in a new car, like heated leather seats. But it was what was available at the time in our price range and desired model. And I love that car. It runs well, it has served us well, and I have no qualms about keeping it for the next 5-10 years or as long as it keeps running. My spouse’s car is also a previously owned car and it is now 11 years old and still going strong.
For me, buying a used car fits my overall philosophy of buying used things in good condition for my family to use. I buy used clothing, used furniture, and used toys (although… no more toys. We have too many.) For us it works.
I can’t imagine not having a car. I live in a city, but not one that is very walkable, and I don’t live within walking distance of even a bus stop. If we lived more downtown I might be able to take the bus everywhere. We visited San Francisco a few years ago for one of my spouse’s conferences, and if we lived somewhere like that, I might be able to imagine life without a car. We took the bus everywhere and it was great.
But still… I am attached to my car. Very attached. Maybe unhealthily attached. But attached I am, and I can’t imagine life without it. My happy used car. Hopefully we’ll be able to save up enough money to buy the next one outright.
More on the new vs used vs no car debate from around the web:
- Moolanomy: My Cars and My Life
- Plonkee Money: About My Car
- My Two Dollars: All About Cars and Money
- Gather Little By Little: 5 Reasons You Should Buy A New Car
- Being Frugal: My Experience With Buying A New Car With Cash
- The Dough Roller: Service Beacon: A Free Online Tool to Track Your Car’s Maintenance Schedule and History
- Christian PF: Save Money on Car Depreciation
- DebtFREE-Revolution: New Car, Used Car, Leased Car, Bought Car
- Earning Our Freedom: New or Used: That Is The Question
- Cash Money Life: Save Time and Money By Trading in Your Car
- Budget of Destiny: New or Used What Kind of Car Do You Buy?
- Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest Of The Time I Know You: How Do They Sleep At Night?
- Debt Reduction Formula: Are Cars Worth It?
- Collecting My Cash: New vs Used vs No Car