Why I plan on driving my car into the ground

Over the weekend, a friend and I were enjoying a couple of beers in my neighborhood. As we sat outside people watching, he drooled over every fancy car that drove by.

“That's a whatever-whatever,” he would tell me. “It costs $100,000.”

I live in Los Angeles, where these symbols of affluence are common.

“I can't help it,” I told him. “All I can think of when I see a car that expensive is that the driver made a terrible financial decision.”

“But what if the driver is rich and can afford it?” my friend argued.

We then got into a conversation about fancy cars, happiness and frugality. I argued that, no matter how much money I might make in the near future, I plan on driving my Corolla into the ground.

“You wouldn't trade it in for a nice, sleek Mercedes?” he asked. I said no, and he looked suspicious. But here's why I think I'll drive my car until it wears out.

It's Got Sentimental Value

The non-money answer is that I love my car because it used to be my brother's.

Both of us had Corollas. I paid for the down payment on mine and spent five years paying it off completely. Since college, Old Trusty and I had been through a lot together; he had a good 150,000 miles on him. So I wanted to take him with me when I moved to California, but my parents thought he was unfit to make the trip. My car was a 2004, and my brother's was a 2008 with considerably fewer miles. For some reason, when my brother went off to college, my parents bought him a new truck (how come I never got a new truck, guys?). Mom and Dad insisted I accept his newer, less worn-out Corolla, saying it would give them peace of mind.

Who am I to turn down a better car and worry my parents? I said goodbye to Old Trusty and drove my brother's car to LA.

Maybe it's sappy and weird, but this car reminds me of home. My apartment and pretty much everything in it (even Brian) came from LA. My car is one of the few things from home that I still have with me.

Car Payments Scare Me

“You wouldn't want a car with heated seats and a comfortable interior?” my friend asked.

Of course I would. But as comfortable as heated seats are, they don't feel nearly as good as not having car payments.

If my car was on its last leg, or if it was severely uncomfortable and I had a two-hour commute, it might be a different story. But for me, upgrading simply for the sake of upgrading isn't worth the expense.

I've always found it odd that many people consider car payments to be a constant. For lots of people, paying off their car loan means trading in their car for a newer one with all new payments. I guess if you can work it into your budget, maybe you can afford it. But I've always been a fan of the Dave Ramsey school of thought:

“When it comes to money, normal is broke. You want to be weird, and weird people don't have car payments.”

My Cost of Ownership is Low

Last year, my auto maintenance expenses totaled $523, but that included a new set of tires. Granted, I don't drive much (mostly on weekends and road trips). But I still think this expense is relatively low. In fact, Edmunds shows that the total estimated cost of my car's annual maintenance (not including the tires) is $150. For a Mercedes C-Class, it's $260.

Let's say I did buy a new car this year — even a new Corolla. At least until its eighth birthday, depreciation is the car's biggest cost. At year one, the cost of depreciation is obviously at its highest — 57 percent of the total owner cost, according to Consumer Reports. Considering my current driving habits, my car would incur higher-than-ever depreciation while it sits in a parking spot. Seems like a waste. At five years, depreciation is still my largest expense, but at least it's not depreciating as much (48 percent) while it mostly just sits there during the week.

This is a unique example, and perhaps it depends on perception, but the point is, the costs over time should be considered.

My Car Still has Value

I don't consider buying a new car to be an investment. It doesn't make sense to think of it that way, because it's not an asset that has the possibility of appreciating. Yes, if you buy an expensive car, you can later sell it for more money than you could a cheaper car, but the same can be said for apair of boots.

I simply think of my car as part of my Stuff. Sure, I kind of need it, and it's worth more than most of my other Stuff, but the bottom line is, I bought it to be used, not to watch its value increase. Thus, wouldn't I want to get as much out of my money as possible?

While I don't think of cars as investments, they also aren't like the rest of our Stuff; usually, they're a lot more expensive to replace. In an age when cellphones and computers are always upgraded, I feel like it's easy to believe your vehicle needs an upgrade, too. I'm surprised at how many people say it's “time for a new car” simply because they haven't had a new car in a while. That's a costly treat. Though some would argue upgrading a perfectly usable phone is a costly treat, too.

But What if You're a Gazillionaire?

“But if you're a billionaire, why not just buy a new car? It would be nothing to you,” my friend argued.

I'd like to think that,even if I had all the money in the world, I'd still drive my little Corolla around town. I'd like to think a lot of things. But most likely, if I were a billionaire, the little dings and scratches on my car would probably start to bother me, as would the non-heated seat cushions.

No matter how much wealth I may build, I hope I never lose sight of value. Because to me, this argument is like saying, “Well, you have a lot of money, so why not throw a buck down the toilet?”

But then again, when you throw money at a fancy car, you're still getting a fancy car.

As your wealth grows, I suppose your idea of value often changes. “Comfortable” isn't what it used to be, and you experience lifestyle inflation. This is where my friend and I came to a standstill — where do you draw the line? At 20, spending a couple of hundred bucks on a phone seemed like a huge waste of money, but nowadays, it's just part of my budget. “You could just live bare bones, but why else do you have money?” my friend argued.

But then again, a $100,000+ Porsche Carrera is pretty far from bare bones. That's an extreme example, but I see a lot of them around town, and I often wonder about the mind-set that went into spending that much on a vehicle.

Getting Off My Frugal High Horse

Having control over my finances makes me happier than any luxury vehicle could. But not everyone has as much fun with frugality. I also don't get than new car itch. But plenty of people do, and I itch for other things that some people might see as a waste.

I'm about to take a pretty pricey vacation. I've been saving up for it, and I'm relishing it, the way many luxury car lovers would relish their purchase. I forget there's an important difference between me and people who buy fancy cars: they like fancy cars.

There are plenty of practical reasons for not buying a luxury car. But we all have the urge to splurge on different things.

I'll end with a question a GRS reader once posed. She wondered whether she should buy a new, luxury car. She could afford it, but she didn't need it.

This comment was singled out as a favorite:

“If you can really afford it — you're paying cash, you're already putting enough money into your 401(k) to get the full employer match, you're putting extra money into an IRA, you've got three (or six) months extra cash saved up, you don't have any looming debt — then I think you should go for it. That's what money's for: buying things. […]”

I would agree with the above comment. When you're financially free and fully prepared for your financial future, money is for buying things.

It's a great comment. But I would have closed it with:

“Unless the car costs six figures.”

Even dismounted from my frugal high horse, I still can't fathom a vehicle being that expensive.

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Phoebe@allyouneedisenough
7 years ago

I’m with you Kristin! I’m still driving my 16 year old car and I love it and the money I save!!!

My Financial Independence Journey
My Financial Independence Journey
7 years ago

I plan on driving my car until the amount and cost of yearly maintenance becomes excessive vs the value of the car.

If I was rich, yes I’d buy a new car.

TheGreedMachine
TheGreedMachine
7 years ago

You make an excellent point about the cost of maintenance. Old cars cost more to maintain than new cars, that’s a given. However, a lot of old car owners continue to pump money into their cars in small amounts under the belief that until they are faced with a repair bill greater than the value of their car, they are saving money by repairing their car over replacing it. At a certain point you have to recognize that the repair costs are adding up to a greater annual cost than the average annual cost of buying a newer vehicle.

jennifer meyer
jennifer meyer
6 years ago

I think theres more to it than repair bills vs. is it worth it. yes if the engine or tranny blows then that is a good question but sometimes it is best just to get that done than go spend 5 or 6 years making payments. i have a 2004 kia sedona with almost 300,000 miles on it. everyone knows this van has all these miles and i get comments all the time. theres nothing wrong with it and i drive it all the time everywhere..continuing putting the miles on it. it hasnt cost me a dime in repairs. I… Read more »

Joe
Joe
7 years ago

To me, “excessive” maintenance costs are when the monthly cost of maintenance approaches the cost of a monthly car payment for a “new” car.

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

But here’s the thing: Say one year, you have to do a HUGE repair. It’s $2500. That’s more than the payments on the newer car you’re considering ($2200), so you get the newer car.

For then next several years, with that newer car, you’re still paying $2200. If you had repaired the old car, then the next several years you would have spend only $600, on average.

You’re ahead after one year–behind by two. If you WANT a newer can and can afford it, that’s fine. But the cheapest option is almost always to keep the old car.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago

If the rest of the car is in good shape, you can even put in a whole new engine and still come out ahead.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

I have three vintage cars. All paid for. I rotate between the three, saving the overall miles driven between them. I only carry collision insurance which runs about $250 quarterly. When one needs repair, I have the luxury of waiting until it’s either convenient time wise or economic moneywise. All three are meticulously maintained. I don’t ever plan to purchase another car the rest of my life. I’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars in just a few short years by not buying new.

Tony
Tony
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike

I would like to do the same as you, but how do you insure all 3 of your cars?

krantcents
krantcents
7 years ago

I am not rich, but I am financially independent for the last 28 years. I drove my Honda Accord into the ground after 17 years. I still own a 97 Honda Prelude (wife’s car). I tend to buy $20K cars and keep them forever. It is the cheapest solution to transportation.

The Happy Potamus
The Happy Potamus
7 years ago

I agree. I’m 28 and am currently driving a ’99 toyota camry. I’ve had it for 5 years, and its been a great car. Sometimes my friends ask me when I’m going to get a new car. I tell them, “Not as long as this one is working. And even then I’ll probably go with one at least 7 years old.” I guess I’m just one of those people who doesn’t cherish the idea of a fancy car. I’d much rather save for financial independence.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
7 years ago

My sister always reminds me of the environment in decisions like this too. America is all about consumption and material goods. “If you can buy a new car, you should.” But even if you were a bagarazillionaire, should you really? If you’re car works fine, then no, you shouldn’t. It’s better for the environment and peoples’ happiness in their own heads if they don’t automatically think that money should be spent, happiness is bought, we deserve more and need better.

Be happy with what you have and you’ll always be happy.

MainlineMom
MainlineMom
7 years ago

Amen. Fight the consumerism machine.

Michael
Michael
7 years ago

This is true up to a point, but there’s also an argument that if you can afford a new car you should buy it, because that puts a second-hand car on the market for someone else who can’t afford a new one, preventing them getting into debt.

Samir
Samir
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael

That sounds like rationalizing your reason for buying a new car. You’re right, but do you really care about saving another guy from debt? Or is that just another reason to tip the scales in favor of your desire?

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
7 years ago

I’m writing a book about frugal car decisions, and you are DEAD right on the least expensive option. Keeping your car almost always saves money. Even if there is a year of heavy repairs, if the problem item gets truly fixed, you should almost always fix it if you’re trying to save money. If you’re the kind of person who gets a special enjoyment out of driving a nice car AND YOU HAVE THE MONEY, then sure–go ahead and blow some cash on that amazing car. My husband would definitely want a nicer car if we suddenly got a million… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago

“The fact is that most of the people driving the fancy cars have no wealth. They may make a lot of money, but most of them blow through it. There aren’t a lot of people out there who really have the incomes to be able to afford luxury cars.” Really? That’s quite a statement to make. There are certainly plenty of people with expensive cars and no real wealth, but to say there aren’t a lot of people out there who really have the incomes to afford luxury cars is just silly. I just looked up some quick statistics (perhaps… Read more »

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m speaking from facts, not from opinion: http://buswk.co/YQdIpM The #1 reason to lease is so that people can drive more car than they can afford to buy. #1. Really. You may not live in an area where there are a LOT of luxury cars. I used to live in Texas, and the laws about paying sales taxes on leases made it so that people were discouraged from leasing cars they couldn’t really afford by a high drive-away cost. Our here on the East Coast, though, luxury cars are EVERYWHERE. Drive down a modest neighborhood mostly populated by dead middle-income workers,… Read more »

Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Not to be a jerk, but my parents are among those with a net worth above $1, as ANYONE approaching retirement age and wants a decent income should have.

They DO NOT HAVE THE WEALTH to drive new luxury cars. And if they HAD driven recent-model luxury cars, they wouldn’t be worth over $1 mil and CERTAINLY couldn’t retire comfortably.

We’re younger, and we need a dead minimum of $3 million to have any kind of comfort in retirement. $1 million isn’t rich. It’s a nest egg.

so
so
7 years ago

I guess I’d point out that depreciation and interest on a new car for the first year is 25% of its value, but for an entry-level luxury car, that’s only like $10K, which not huge and wouldn’t derail wealth building too much if it was a one-time thing. I don’t agree with leasing or buying new luxury every 3-5 years, but I could see myself buying new again in 7-10 years.

Alea
Alea
7 years ago

“But what if you’re a gazillionaire? “But if you’re a billionaire, why not just buy a new car? It would be nothing to you,” my friend argued.” The founder of IKEA drives a 15 year old Volvo, and seems proud of it. Of course that would be a different story for someone who works for minimum wage where a car repair can mean ruin or additional debt. I am in the BUY NEW camp. I had two old cars that constantly cost money. Then 17 years ago I bought a Toyota Camry and it was the best decision I ever… Read more »

Zach
Zach
7 years ago
Reply to  Alea

You’re so right about Ingvar Kamprand driving an old Volvo (another Swedish brand!) but you must realize that in Sweden (and Scandinavia) the Law of Jante applies, and it would be socially unacceptable for him to drive anything extravagant, despite his enormous wealth. In an interview, Ingvar once said that he would only drive a vehicle which his customers could afford, and that is the Law of Jante at it’s finest. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante) I’m Swedish Canadian, and having lived in both countries throughout my life, I am certain that North America could benefit from a similar rule/frame of mind. That said,… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
7 years ago

“…and I often wonder about the mind-set that went into spending that much on a vehicle.”

Usually the “mindset” here is something along the lines of, “hell, I’m a doctor and I just paid off my house. Why not?” Yes, that is the sort of person who buys a brand new 911 most of the time. The people spending $100k+ on cars are generally not middle-income families making $45k/year with two school-age children.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to meet a guy to look at a used Mazda Miata for sale…

Jane
Jane
7 years ago

Agreed. The only people I know who drive the type of cars Kristin describes in this article are CEOs, doctors, or other high level professionals. I think her overall point could have been made stronger if she’d not focused on extremes – i.e. a $100,000 Mercedes versus an old Corolla. I often wonder about the new SUVs and trucks that I see on the road that are easily $40,000-$60,000. Now those types of cars are driven by middle class people who probably can’t afford them and thus are financed with 5-6 year car loans. In theory, the maximum I would… Read more »

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
7 years ago

Mr. PoP reads all sorts of sites on fancy cars (like vintage Porsches – though his recent favorite is the NSX) and a lot of the forums tend to use a gently used Miata as a basis of measurement when it comes to calculating the cost of a car. That $100K Porsche? That’s 8 Miatas? Is it really going to be 8x as fun as a Miata?

By the way, Miatas are tons of fun. We bought mine a few years ago and I really like it!

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
7 years ago

I bought the Miata.

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents
Michelle at Making Sense of Cents
7 years ago

I’m at the opposite end of this as we have two new cars (just bought the second one around 3 weeks ago). Luckily, W works as a car salesman so we got a decent deal.

Ivy
Ivy
7 years ago

While overall I agree with the article, I beg to disagree with the last comment about the 6-figures. Why not, if all other criteria are met? Why pose an arbitrary limit just because it seems high to you? Would you say buy a house but not over $1 million, because I can’t fathom a house being that expensive? Or buy a purse but not over $500 because that’s excessive? I don’t care for, don’t notice and don’t appreciate fancy cars, it’s just not something I value. I splurge on books, my kids, and the house. But I have a friend,… Read more »

Stacie
Stacie
7 years ago

Right now saving up to buy a new car is my first financial goal. My car is a 2000, runs really well, but has some cosmetic damage that would cost more than the car’s worth to fix(and, as I’m reminded as temps hit 90 yesterday, no A/C). I didn’t spend much this past year in maintenance, but the year before I spent quite a bit. I’m at the point where I’m not willing to spend more on repairs beyond regular maintenance so some days I do wish my car would break down so I can get a new one! One… Read more »

SwampWoman
SwampWoman
7 years ago

I love my 18-year-old F150 truck. I don’t foresee getting rid of it. Ever.

BrentABQ
BrentABQ
7 years ago

I’ve had this pie in the sky question come up before, what if you won the lotto, what kind of car would you get? I’d probably stick with my car until it broke and then get or commission a self-driving car depending on the state of things. My time and safety would be the most valuable things, not my 0-60 or sun roof.

Jake Erickson
Jake Erickson
7 years ago

I have the same opinion you do with cars. They can be the biggest waste of money if you buy an expensive new car. Is new better than used, yes, but it isn’t worth the extra cost. That being said, if I made over $200k a year and had retirement fully funded and everything else taken care of, I wouldn’t hesitate buying a $40k car. Just depends on the situation.

Kyla H.
Kyla H.
7 years ago

I definitely agree with your perspective on cars. I live in L.A. too and I feel the same whenever I see all the expensive, luxury cars around town. I bought my ’01 Ford Escape with cash in 2007 and although it’s starting to wear down and require more and more maintenance (it’s at 170,000 miles), I love it for many reasons and plan on driving it until it can’t drive anymore! I would even consider going car-less, but since L.A. is probably one of the more difficult cities to NOT have access to a car it doesn’t really make sense… Read more »

Laura
Laura
7 years ago

Kristin’s post dovetails nicely with the review of Elizabeth Warren’s “All Your Worth” – if you want a $100K car and can pay for it fully out of your wants, why not. If you don’t want a $100K car, that’s fine too. I’m also a fan of the “buy and hold” strategy for cars; our 2001 Toyota Echo has almost 150K miles, no car payment since 2005. The down side is that it’s in the “repair early and often” zone and we’ve put around $3K into it in the last 8 months. But as a result, about half the car’s… Read more »

Kay
Kay
7 years ago

One piece of advice I have for anyone with an older car they plan to hold on to for a few more years… to help discourage that “new car itch”, you might want to look into investing in a new stereo or remote starter that would cost only a few hundred bucks, but make your car seem like it’s new, with some upgraded features. I’ve eyed new cars for years. I could afford them too, but there’s really nothing wrong with the 13-year old car I have, and it still has a lot of life left in it. By installing… Read more »

righteothen
righteothen
7 years ago
Reply to  Kay

I did the same thing with my 2001 Honda Civic. I put in a new stereo with AUX in, mp3 cd capabilities, and USB in (all I care about since I can do Pandora through my phone and just use AUX over to the stereo). While I was at it I replaced the speakers, and bam! New car feel without the new car price.

nikhil
nikhil
7 years ago
Reply to  Kay

I did the same on my 2000 focus with 126K miles. Got a stereo from amzn – bluetooth, handsfree talking when paired with phone, bluetooth streaming (control any app – music, podcast, radio), usb, mp3 etc etc etc. The car runs well, engine is strong, transmission is smooth (manual). Although I have enough money to buy 2 new cars in a special car fund, I still dont plan on replacing the car anytime soon. Why should I? I paid 6K for it over 6 years ago; I probably average $500 a year on maintenance and repairs (excluding new tires). I… Read more »

Andrea
Andrea
7 years ago

This article is so right on with everything. And it is totally rational. For many people, including myself, cars are not a rational thing alone. I am saving for the last 2 years to eventually buy my dream car. It is not $100.000, but close enough to it at $75.000. I will not purchase it on a whim, and I will try to do it as financially responsible as I can. One can argue I can spend my money on something better, but for me this is worth it. I feel happiness driving a beautiful car, feel the engine, marvel… Read more »

Peach
Peach
7 years ago

For now I plan on sticking to ~$20-25K cars. I get so nervous about other people dinging my doors, etc that if I spent anymore more than that (say $60K) it just wouldnt even be worth it to drive it around….just because of the damage that happens accidentally. I have a friend that feels the same way. She bought a used Infiniti M36 which is expensive new and used. She still parks in the far reaches of the lot and never wants to drive into a city where she will have to parallel park.

Windy
Windy
7 years ago

YES.

Both my husband and I bought our cars with cash – mine a 2005 CR-V, his a 1995 Volvo wagon. His is nearing the ground part of “driven into the ground,” but mine still runs well and gets me from point A to point B with a minimum of fuss. I had to teach my husband the folly of car payments when we met – even the zero-percent-interest loans. (The payments on the loan, especially early on, can’t keep up with the depreciation.)

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago
Reply to  Windy

“I had to teach my husband the folly of car payments when we met — even the zero-percent-interest loans. (The payments on the loan, especially early on, can’t keep up with the depreciation.)” Where’s the folly in getting an interest-free loan on a car? In what way does depreciation of the car factor into the decision to get a loan or not? I would absolutely take the free money from the car dealership (or even cheap money – anything at 5% or less) so I could put my $20k or whatever the car were to cost to better use. The… Read more »

Jennifer B
Jennifer B
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

>The value of the car only makes a difference >when you sell it — which is unlikely to happen >in the first year or two I’d suspect. The big risk here is accidents. If your car is totaled during that time, the insurance company usually pays out the current value of the car. And if you still owe more than the car is worth, you’ll still be paying on a car that you can’t drive any more. The thing is, you can’t just decide to drive really carefully during that time – you have to count on all of the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer B

What is your point? (I’ll ignore gap coverage for now, which insures for this very issue) The insurance company gives you the same amount of money regardless of what you owe. If you paid out $20k in cash for the car and now it’s worth $16k and you total it, you get $16k. If you have made 8 payments of $300 and still owe $17,600, you get your $16k and now owe the lender $1,600 more. Either way, you’ve spent $4,000, but under the loan scenario you didn’t have to front $20,000 and give up any opportunity to do anything… Read more »

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

After numerous recalls on our 2007 Toyota RAV4 and needing a new $900 water pump just months after the warranty expired on a car that had only 21k miles on it I traded it in for a Volvo XC60. I had owned Toyotas before and loved them but the latest incantation of Toyota is just awful quality. I’m not sure all brands of cars are built to last but one does sure see a lot of old Volvos on the road. I’m with others on the buy new strategy. The last used car I got kept flooding during a rain.… Read more »

xing
xing
7 years ago

I took an alternative path when replacing my 20 yo Toyota (some texting teen rear-ended it… while it was parked!) I bought a used Porsche 911 in excellent condition for less than what most people spend on new vehicles. On the highway it gets close to 30MPH, but when you do feel the need to put your foot in it… Just lovely. So… one may see me and smugly think “what an idiot for spending so much!”, but I know that the idiot was the original owner. And I thank him for his sacrifice. Porsches are very dependable. Even so,… Read more »

Aryn
Aryn
7 years ago

I successfully drove my car into the ground! I drove my 1997 Toyota Corolla until late 2010. We were planning to replace it in December, 2010 because we were starting a family. In July, 2010, the mechanic told me that three of the four engine mounts had worn out.

So I bought a new car in August and will keep it until at least 2020.

zs
zs
6 years ago
Reply to  Aryn

You bought a new car because the MOTOR MOUNTS wore out??????????????? I drive a car 4 years newer than yours and ALL THREE of my motor mounts were bad on my car. Car shook like a rollercoaster driving down the road and even sitting completely still. I ordered all three mounts online and took them up to my mechanic. You know how much it cost to put them on? $200. I can’t imagine your car that is 4 years older than mine would have costed significantly more than mine. The fact that you bought a new car because of this… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
7 years ago

I like an older run around car. I can pile the buckets of mulch in the back and not worry about it making a mess. I also do not worry if it gets scratched or knocked into as I run around town. I think expensive cars are a bit like expensive sunglasses…..you are going to be worried about them all the time….. I just want a car that goes all the time.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago

Whoa whoa– who wants heated seats in LA? I’m serious!

Alea
Alea
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Even in LA they are DIVINE!!! My 85 year old mum loves them, when we go shopping and her back is stiff, by the time we get to the store she is at least 10 years younger due to the heated seats. Also great, when taking dad to therapy, loves them after all the hard work.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Haha El Nerdo, I also laughed at the idea of heated seats. Then again, you and I live in the southwest 😉

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

Ha ha ha, yes– I’d pay a premium for wicker seats cooled by a gentle sea breeze, but they don’t make those…

Judy
Judy
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

There are cars available with air conditioned seats (no joke) to deal with the hot seat issue.

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Well, I’m old now so I’m always cold. 😛

Tina in NJ
Tina in NJ
7 years ago

When I was in high school (mid 70s) my church youth group went to Newport, Rhode Island. The tour guide pointed out one of the gilded residents. His car was driven by a chauffeur, but it was a Toyota. It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. Enjoy your trip.

Evangeline
Evangeline
7 years ago

I follow my father’s advice and it holds me in good stead because it applies to a lot more than cars : ‘Keep it as long as you can but don’t let it nickel and dime you to death.’

so
so
7 years ago

We hit five figures in monthly rental income and a pretty major net worth goal (3/4m), and we are fairly young (35) and have stable incomes (corporate lawyer / college professor), so I went out and bought an $80,000 car.

We’re frugal with everything else, so I figured I’m in my earning prime, and if I don’t like it I can always sell it. It is a beautiful car and makes me happy on my commute, and we’re still able to put away six figures a year, so why not??

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

We plan to keep our cars a good long time. My husband’s is a 2001 Grand Prix, and we plan to keep it for quite some time. The AC is shot, the gas indicator is broken, but other than that, it’s fine for local driving. It fits our purposes just fine, so there’s no pressing need to replace it just yet. But when it is time to go, I wouldn’t mind buying a brand-new car (in cash) and keeping it for a loooong time.

holland marx
holland marx
7 years ago

I’ll probably be buried in my ’87 F150. Yeah, it’s a gas guzzler, but I don’t put more than 10 miles a week on it on average. I live in Portland and we have a great public transit system here.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
7 years ago

This article is so pertinent for me right now for so many reasons. My car is 13 years old, it has 110,000 miles on it. I just paid $500 today for a bunch of repairs (and will probably pay another $500 before the end of summer). That seems like a lot, but I haven’t had any major maintenance in awhile, and $500 is what, the average car payment? My goal is to get to at least 200K miles, which at the rate I drive could be 10 years from now 😉 One of my friends just had her compressor go… Read more »

Pamela | Hands on Home Buyer
Pamela | Hands on Home Buyer
7 years ago

What always makes me crazy about spending money on expensive cars is how fragile they are. Every day you’re putting this depreciating asset in harm’s way. Has anyone ever owned a car that didn’t get dinged or scratched somewhere? I know the misery of having my new, expensive car damaged would vastly overcome any fun I had driving it.

Of course, what do I know? My only car is a bicycle. 🙂

And yes, I bought it used.

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

I live in Palm Beach, I used to get excited when a Ferrari or a Bentley or Rolls Royce drove by, but its not exciting when you see them all the time. To me, being frugal on cars, which we are, frees up so much more money to save or to do other fun things. Yes I could have a nicer car in the sense that I could afford the payment but then I wouldn’t be able to save or I wouldn’t be able to have as much fun. I have a dear friend, she and I are the same… Read more »

ed
ed
7 years ago

I had a friend that never bought a new car. . . . He said that a new car lost too much value, . . . when you turned the key and drove it off the dealers lot. . . . He preferred to buy 3 year old cars and . . . was handy enough to fix his own cars. I always bought new cars for CASH, . . . always took them to the dealers for preventive maintenance, . . . drove them for around 15 years and . . . never “SAVED FOR A CAR.” I always… Read more »

kate
kate
7 years ago

It seems like a lot of people who favor buying older, used cars just don’t drive as much as I do. In the above comments, from people who specified both a vehicle age and mileage, there is a 12 year old car with 150k miles, a 12 year old car with 170k miles, and a 13 year old car with 110k miles. My car is 8.5 years with 175k miles on it. By the time it hits the 12 year mark, it will have about 225k miles on it. And yes, I intend to hit that mark and surpass it… Read more »

Beth
Beth
7 years ago
Reply to  kate

I plan to buy a new car, too! At least then I don’t need to worry if it’s been in an accident, etc.

Panda
Panda
7 years ago
Reply to  kate

Absolutely with you on this. My car’s not even 6 years old and I have over 130k on it. I’ll also replace it with a new car.

MissB
MissB
7 years ago

I drove my 14 yo Volvo into the ground, putting over 150k miles on it in the years I owned it. I bought it when it was 3 years old with not quite 40k miles on it. Worked great, but in the last year it was falling apart. Towed twice in the last few months. It was beginning to cost more than it was worth and more than I wanted to spend. So I bought a pretty Mercedes. Three years old, not quite 40k miles on it. Less than half the cost of a new one (we use the used… Read more »

Jen Y
Jen Y
7 years ago

I can’t see spending that much on a car when there’s so much pain in the world that could be helped with the money. My husband & I have been married 26 yrs & have bought two cars in that time that we still drive. they can last a lot longer than most people think.

Dar
Dar
7 years ago
Reply to  Jen Y

Those people who built the car have families to support too. I don’t advocate going out and buying an expensive sports car, but I don’t begrudge those who do because the money they spent on it doesn’t go into a hole–it goes to support the workers at the dealership, the factory, the suppliers, etc.

Crystal
Crystal
7 years ago

I like my money and no car payments more than getting a new car even though I don’t like mine. BUT, if I had like 5 million in the bank and was set for life, I’ll be honest – I would splurge a bit. My dream car is actually pretty affordable – I would buy a certified pre-owned red VW Beetle, have it professionally painted with black spots, have the doors changed to open like the Delorean, and have simply hydraulics installed so that I’d be driving a Lady Bug. The doors would open like wings and I could use… Read more »

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago
Reply to  Crystal

Woah! I want to ride in your ladybug!

Crystal
Crystal
7 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

I’ll let you know if I ever follow through. 🙂

Mom of five
Mom of five
7 years ago

When we were younger, without kids, and generally more tolerant, we drove every car into the ground. We drove cars where the windows didn’t roll down and we had to open the car door to pay a toll. We had one car that had rusted so much in places if you lifted one of the floor mats in the back seat you could actually see the roadway. We have paid cash for our last 3 cars (purchased new) and have driven them for seven or 8 years. Our days of really driving our cars into the ground are over. I’d… Read more »

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell
7 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I absolutely agree – the need for reliability changes everything, and often you don’t “need” reliability until you have kids. We bought our first new car when I was 9 months pregnant with our first child. After sitting on the side of the road, a bjillion miles from nowhere, until I could track down my husband and a tow-truck, I decided that I was going to require a reliable car if we lived in a remote area and I had a newborn. It turned out to be a decent decision, though I didn’t anticipate that the station wagon would be… Read more »

SAHMama
SAHMama
7 years ago

Yeah we planned to do the same thing until someone totaled ours.

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

Well I have to answer this. I have a very “new” 5 year old car bought in 2008 with a loan. Paid for it like crazy in 1 year. Now I have to keep it in shape , do the maintenance and everything but there is no way in hell I would take another loan until 2020. I want to keep it for 12 years at least. Because I am doing just 6.000 miles /year I can imagine keeping it even more. Now if I were rich(like 10.000.000$) the first thing I would do would be to buy a house… Read more »

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

I agree. I try to run everything to the ground to get the most value out of it, not just a car. I have had the same phone for the past four years, which without the upgrade allows me to cancel my phone plan at anytime because my two years are up. This has saved me tons of money over the long run because I do not have to buy a new phone and not to mention if I do not like the bill the company sends me and tries to throw something sneaky on it, then you bet I… Read more »

juni
juni
7 years ago

thanks for sharing helpfull information

getagrip
getagrip
7 years ago

I see no problem in enjoying the fruits of your labor as long as you can afford it. I’ve a former boss who bought a Porche a while back. I asked about finances, and all bases were covered, no debt other than the mortgage, and he and his wife each make enough that if either lost their job the bills could be covered on one income. His bad weather car at the time was his 12 year old Toyota 4Runner he’d been driving while saving for the Porche. I see him driving the Porche often, he enjoyes it. Isn’t that… Read more »

Vicki
Vicki
7 years ago

I just paid off my suv and I love not having a car payment. I plan to keep it for years, as long as the car holds up. A new car would happen when this one breaks down and it cost more to repair. I have always brought new cars before my previous car was paid off, but this time paying my car off is a new experience of financial joy:)

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago
Reply to  Vicki

Congrats! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

betttylion
betttylion
7 years ago

Your Corolla will last many years more. I had a Geo Prizm (mechanically identical to the Corolla, made in the same factory) and I had it until it had 263,000 miles on it. It still ran wonderfully, but things were starting to fall off (like the door) so I jumped at the chance to buy my brother in law’s off-lease Pontiac Grand Prix for $4000. $4k isn’t that much for a kinda fancy car but I still came to regret that decision. The Pontiac was NOT reliable – everything was always breaking. I could have fixed the minor issues on… Read more »

HKR
HKR
7 years ago

In 2009, I found a great deal on an ’07 Dodge Caliber with 20k miles and swore I’d drive it into the ground when I bought it (financed, but paid off in a year). Now I’m torn; I don’t have enough saved up to buy a different car, and I don’t want car payments, but my car drives me a little crazy. Don’t get me wrong- it’s practical, gets good gas mileage, and has been pretty low maintenance- but the noise is killing me. Apparently the early Calibers weren’t sound-proofed very well, and in mine the road noise is at… Read more »

Davina
Davina
7 years ago

In 2004 I bought a 2000 Lexus ES 300 with 27,000 miles and a 4-year warranty from a dealer for $23,000. I take good care of it and it’s a joy to drive at 174,000 miles. Several mechanics have told me that many cars are going to 300,000 miles these days; I plan to drive this car as long as possible.

Ely
Ely
7 years ago

It’s not the cost of repairs that’s the problem, it’s the reliability of the older vehicle. My 12-yr-old Saturn was a disaster waiting to happen. On the other hand we now have a 20+ yr old Honda Civic that we’ve had about 5 years. It has a number of small issues that I would get repaired, but my husband likes driving the Millennium Falcon. It has about 225k miles on it and doesn’t seem to be in danger of keeling over anytime soon. Still, if we were gazillionaires we would probably buy a new car for reliability and knowing its… Read more »

mike
mike
7 years ago

My biggest obstacle is the amount we have to drive distance wise, which is the only reason we will be getting rid of our 2003 Civic which has been great. I need something that can handle inclement weather and doesn’t weight the same amount as my toaster. Also I have found if older cars start having electrical problems unless you can fix it yourself your better off getting a new or newer used car. Although these days for not much more you can buy a brand new car over a 2 year old car with 25k on it. The sweet… Read more »

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