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Automotive Banking Finances & Money Frugality

I started saving for a car, then…

I always have to repeat this for new or one-time readers, but I’m a car nut. If it has 4 wheels, I have an opinion on it, and there’s a good chance I’ve considered buying one.

So, needless to say, I’ve been saving up for a “new” car (to me, new might mean brand new or used), whether as a replacement for my 2006 Honda Ridgeline truck (almost 90,000 miles) or a second “fun” car. We do our banking at ING Direct (post a comment if you want to get $25 for opening a new account and I’ll email you privately), mostly because I got money for opening the account, rates were MUCH MUCH higher than my BoA savings account, which is long closed, and I can open new “sub-accounts” easily for specific savings goals.

I had sub-accounts for Emergency, Travel, Car and Home, and was plunking random amounts into each as I had extra money after each pay. The amounts were getting so high, especially my car account, that I was wondering when I should stop saving versus when I should buy something. I won’t say how much I saved, but it was enough to pay cash for a brand new, fully-loaded compact of some sort.

However, as I began to see the amount go up and up, my attitude changed. I got more addicted to seeing our savings account increase than caring about a new car! What in the world is wrong with me??? I still dream of a new car, but when I see that much money continually growing, I can’t help myself and want to throw more into the account. In fact, I’ve rolled all the sub-accounts into a single savings account just so I could see the number get even bigger. I’ve thrown out our separate savings goals and just have one lump account.

The Car Market

After thinking a bit about why the change in attitude, one reason is that there are too many good options, but I know the options will keep getting better. I’d love a new truck, but I know engines will get more fuel-efficient and interiors will get nicer. I’d love a fun, sporty car, but I know more options are coming out, and there are tons more on the used market. I just can’t decide, and I know that my cheapest option is the truck I already have, even with its poor fuel economy. I love my truck, and outside of a few odd sounds coming from the exhaust system and a lighting issue, it’s been great (oh, and the MPG sucks). It has the space I need, the versatility I want, but only lacks in fuel economy and some newer luxury and technology features.

I’ve taken my truck on road trips to Texas and back, to Florida and back and a few shorter trips with no problems with comfort or space. So, my biggest problem overall is justifying giving up my truck for something else, especially something that isn’t a truck. For those who don’t own a truck (but own a home), you should know that once you own a truck, it’s hard to imagine not owning one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a beater Ford Ranger or top-of-the-line F-250, when you have a truck, you know you can tackle your home projects with less planning.

So overall, I’m conflicted on WHAT I should buy and even IF I should buy something…and WHEN. The Acura I replaced with my truck 6 years ago had about 96000 miles on it, so I haven’t owned a car with over 100k miles (except an inherited Pontiac from my wife), so I get antsy knowing that the value goes down when it crosses that 6 figure mark. I also know right now is the best time to sell a used car because supply is short and dealers are looking to stock up their lots for the Spring and Summer sales. If I’m going to sell, it has to be in the next couple weeks, but I’m just not ready.

How about you? Are you ready for or wanting a new (or “new to you”) car, but can’t justify it or can’t decide? Have you been saving for this goal? Are you ignoring other goals (like paying down debt) in order to save for a car? Tell me in the comments!

About the author

Clever Dude

8 Comments

  • My wife and I tend to get the new car itch, so we decided to keep my truck that is paid off for as long as possible, but then lease her car. We were honest with ourselves and acknowledged that my truck is the only vehicle we have ever paid off before trading in. Since that’s the case, it’s a better option to lease. That satisfies our “itch” for a new car every few years, but we also get the benefit of having a vehicle that is completely paid off with my truck.

  • Stick with the old truck until you MUST have a new car (whether because of reliability w/the truck or overwhelming need/want). But hey, when you do consider buying one that’s 2 or 3 years old, let some other sucker take the $5000 depriciation for driving off the lot.

  • I’m in the same boat as you are. I want to get a new car, a hatchback specifically, and am having issues pulling the trigger. There are many out there that fit most of my needs, but not 100%. I then read articles of upcoming models and how much more MPG they are expected to get, so I just sit back and wait.

    I also hear you on the savings account topic. I track my networth monthly and know it’s going to drop if I buy a new car. I just love seeing the number rise every month and since it’s at a point I’ve never hit before, I don’t want to see it drop!

  • 100,000 miles on a Honda makes it a baby. Drive that truck forever and if you need better mileage, get something like a cool little scion Xa used.

  • I feel like the key is buying the new model when it comes out…that way you maximize the time in which you can feel blissed out with the newest model 🙂 . Either that or waiting for a new series to come out (for example when Ford rolled out their new Focus hatchback ~yr ago, they wont change that look for a few years yet.)

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