I’m going to finally admit to the world how much we screwed up in our past auto purchases, in hopes that you don’t do the same.
In college, I purchased a brand new 2001 Saturn L300 for about $20,000. Actually, I did the GM SmartBuy method, which was partial lease, partial purchase. What made this purchase bad were the following incidentals:
1. It was my next to last semester and I was barely making more than my car payments each month
2. I didn’t have a job lined up after graduation yet…however, I was awaiting an offer from the LAST company I had interviewed with that semester. I had no idea if I would get the job or not, but I hedged my bets
3. I bought more car than I should have had
Here’s the good news. When I got home from the dealer, a FedEx package was waiting for me in my front door. I took the package upstairs, and with my best friend in the room, opened it slowly. I read the cover page and lo and behold! I had a professional, high-paying job waiting for me in 6 months (after graduation). WHEW!!! That was a relief.
Anyway, I graduated in May, moved to the big city and started my job. Immediately I noticed all the fancy, expensive cars around me and wanted one. In July of that year (8 months after buying my first car), I drove onto an Acura lot, not even knowing what an Acura was, outside of the Integra. I was oddly enough looking for a used Volvo (I liked the new S60).
That was the last time I drove that Saturn.
I had traded in the Saturn for a 2002 Acura TL Type S. Blue. 260 HP. Loaded. Fast.
How much did I lose on the Saturn?
I didn’t even blink an eye. I was proud of my Acura for the next 4 years. Only once did I almost trade it in for another vehicle, but luckily my future wife stopped me.
Next up, a 2004 VW Passat GLX. We weren’t sure our old Grand Am would last since it was having some problems, so my wife and I decided on a new Passat. Fully loaded. Cost about $32,000 or so.
In 6 months, we put it up for sale. Don’t ask us to explain. We tried for 6 months to sell it, then gave up and traded it DOWN for a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu (base sedan).
How much did we lose? Oh goodness, it hurts to say. I made such a stupid mistake.
Stop laughing at me. It’s hard enough to admit it without your ridicule! That was almost 2 years ago now. I’ve learned from my mistakes, almost.
Last year, I traded in the Acura TL-S with 95,000 miles for KBB private-party value for a 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTS. That was before I understood the value of paying cash for a used car and so forth.
Thank you fellow PF writers for helping me see the light. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to get out of our mistakes outside of paying off our vehicles quickly.