Buying A First Car: The American Dream

Ester: Hello Judah! Would you like to introduce yourself for the Billfold readership?

Judah: Hi Billfold, my name is Judah Bloom and I am a new car shopper and, hopefully, owner.

Ester: And you are related to me!

Judah: That, too. I am your youngest brother.

Ester: That makes it sound like I have 15 younger brothers, each cuter and more princely than the last! But I only have you. Luckily, you’re great!

Judah: Well thank you. I am just trying to avoid the “little” brother routine that typically arises.

Ester: Yes, we middle children are notoriously insensitive to the feelings of our younger siblings. ANYWAY. You are not little; you are in fact almost 30, are you not?

Judah Yes I am. I am turning 30 in August and have been working a steady job for the past, almost three years.

Ester: Let the record show: You are a millennial with a strong work ethic. You’re virtually a unicorn! What other markers of traditional adulthood can you offer? Can you cook yourself dinner?

Judah: If ordering online or turning on the microwave count, then yes, absolutely. However, I have been a success at living by myself and going to work everyday, which is an achievement.

Ester: In this day and age, that basically warrants you a Nobel prize. Or, as it happens, A NEW CAR! So tell me about your decision to purchase an automobile!

Judah Well, the car I am currently driving is an 11-year-old Acura RSX (two door hatchback) that I got from my parents. It has taken me cross country 3-4 times and been with me for as long as I have been able to drive. However, it is reaching old age and becoming untenable/not financially viable to maintain.

Ester: You mean it’s time to put it in a home?

Judah: I was actually going to try to find it a nice farm up north to let it run around with other old cars.

Ester: That would be California, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that where old cars get put out to pasture? They like the dry heat or something.

Judah: That, or Michigan.

Ester: I thought that Michigan is where baby cars came from.

Judah: It’s a whole circle of life thing.

Ester: That’s so good to know. I am very ignorant about cars since I hate driving and live in the city almost entirely to avoid it. You seem to enjoy driving, however. How were those cross-country trips? What was your favorite state, and what was the most expensive one in terms of tickets?

Judah: I do enjoy driving a great deal. The cross country trips were fun. Two of them, I did with Adam, our older brother, and two of them I did solo, going from Seattle to Virginia for an internship. I am not sure which is my favorite state as they all basically blended together, and without the dotted lines, like on a map, to indicate when one started and ended, I was not really sure at times which state I was in. For tickets … Let’s just say I try to avoid driving through Kansas as much as possible. I even have routes planned that allow me to circumvent the state.

Ester: What’s the matter with Kansas? That’s a rhetorical question. Okay, so your trusty car has carried you to and fro and is now on its last wheels. What do you do now?

Judah: Once I realized that I could actually afford a new car, which was something of a shock, I started my search by writing a list of the features I want in the car, to initially narrow down the options.

Ester: Power steering and door locks?

Judah: Power steering is overrated. Without it, I can get a workout and drive to work at the same time.

Ester: I don’t even know what “power steering” means, I just remember hearing it in a thousand car commercials. Also “anti-lock brakes”! And “low APR”! Do you know what APR means?

Judah: Annuatized Price Requirement?

Ester: Sounds good, but I don’t think “annuatized” is a real word.

Judah: It’s from a car commercial; most of their words are made up. You think “triptronic” is going to fly in a Scrabble game?

Ester: Oh hell no. I don’t know cars but I do know Scrabble. Also, what’s that creepy thing where the lady always keeps track of you no matter where you are? OnStar? Did you want that?

Judah: Yes, OnStar but I don’t think it is a singular woman staring at your car on the screen. Though that would be an interesting job.

Ester: OnStar lady job description: Must never blink. Have calming voice and as many arms as an octopus. What does it set you back to have the OnStar lady watching your every movement, like a secular and possibly more helpful Jesus?

Judah: I still think OnStar was the NSA’s first attempt at monitoring citizens, but that’s besides the point. In my case, the cars I am looking at don’t offer OnStar and I am not interested in it.

Ester: Oh my god, you’re right! Edward Snowden discovered the truth about OnStar … What, you don’t want to be surveilled? Do you have something to hide about your driving habits, besides the fact that you stuff your backseat full of empty pizza boxes and bottles of Coke Zero?

Judah: I am already avoiding one state, I would prefer not to get on anyone else’s radar while driving. Also, you make the pizza boxes and Coke Zero bottles sound like a bad thing. It is a decorative style. Just you watch, it will come into fashion soon enough! Then everyone will have a car decked out like that.

Ester: Speaking of decked out, were any of your priorities related to how the car looked?

Judah: Absolutely. One of my criteria was the body type. I was looking for a four door sedan that wasn’t a hundred miles long. Color is less important as I am looking for a pre-owned vehicle.

Ester: Used car, any color, not a Buick, check. What else?

Judah: After a frightening drive through a blizzard in Montana, I realized I wanted my new car to be AWD (All-Wheel Drive), unlike my current one which is Front Wheel Drive and terrifying on a steep, snow covered mountain.

Ester: Isn’t anything terrifying on a steep, snow covered mountain?

Judah: True, but with AWD, it would be slightly less terrifying and I would be able to go more than 7 mph.

Ester: As your sister, I’m not comfortable with you going faster than 7 MPH during a blizzard anyway. Won’t AWD just give you false confidence and encourage you to be reckless? You know, like wearing a seatbelt.

Judah: I don’t think so. I can already be reckless without the AWD. With it, I just feel more comfortable and a little more sure of myself, which is helpful when driving as I feel if you are too nervous, you are too tense and could make a mistake. And in those situations, a mistake can prove quite problematic.

Ester: Fair enough. What else were you looking for in a ride? Are you brand-loyal?

Judah: I finally won an argument with my sister.

Ester: Don’t get too comfortable. I’ll probably edit it out.

Judah: Touche. I am not brand loyal but there were specific brands I was looking at as they fit best within my criteria. That, and I asked my brother for advice.

Ester: Oh you asked HIM and not me? But I love giving advice! I would have told you lots of smart things, like … Well, whatever Adam said, only smarter. What did Adam say?

Judah: You definitely, definitely do enjoy giving advice. This fact cannot be argued. But Adam said that I have a good enough job that I should look at higher end vehicles, and I should focus on used models as you can get more bang for your buck.

Ester: What does “higher end” mean? German?

Judah: Not American, unfortunately. In this case, German or Japanese. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Infiniti, etc.

Ester: It’s still pretty funny to me that the countries we beat in WWII have us so totally beat in the luxury car market. Like, they can’t best our troops, but they sure can build a sedan!

Judah: I always heard that the tank Mercedes built for the Germans were surprisingly roomy and well equipped.

Ester: Power steering and door locks?

Judah: Exactly! And great gas mileage.

Ester: Good for taking over Poland. OK. So, we’ve narrowed your choices down. Adam, our spendy sibling, told you to buy fancy but buy used. (I, the saver sibling, would have told you to just buy a Metrocard.) What did you end up with?

Judah: I am still looking currently but I have successfully decided on the make and model, being an used Audi A4. I test drove a new model yesterday and fell in love. However, a new model is about $40,000. My price point is closer to $29,000-$30,000.

Ester: Are pre-owned Audis available for that amount?

Judah: Audi A4 was a very popular model between 2010-2012 so there are a lot of them out there. The difficult part has been finding them with low miles and with the features I want. However, minutes before we started this, I found near my price range that fits perfectly. I am hoping to test drive it tomorrow and if that goes well, I may drive away with it.

Ester: Amazing! But first you have to hand over some cash, presumably? How much does one have to put down?

Judah: I am in a different boat as I intend to pay for it all at once. I do not wish to get nailed with interest payments or leasing options. Pay it all at once and get it done with.

Ester: Uh. That means you have $25K in cash just sitting around like in Uncle Scrooge’s bank vault? Do you go swimming in it?

Judah: Swimming in it is my current exercise regime. 10 laps every day through the bills and coins REALLY burns those calories. I actually sold a number of shares of stock I own which I had been saving for this reason. The stock netted me about $25K and I have another 10k saved up specifically for a car purchase.

Ester: So mature and fiscally responsible! I think you are the Billfold hero of the day. Well done, sir.

Judah: Well thank you. And I am willing to bet you never thought I could do it, oh sister of mine.

Ester: Well, sure. In my mind you’re still the kid who ran outside without putting on his pants first.

Judah: …Are you ever going to forget about that?

Ester: Definitely not. But congrats on the car! Let us know how it goes after the test drive. We’re all rooting for you.

Judah: Thanks. I will keep you up to date.

 

ETA: Welcome to the world, baby girl! Judah has acquired himself a 2011 Audi A4, dark blue with a light leather interior, and he is THRILLED. Forward congratulations via me: ester at thebillfold.com

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67 Comments / Post A Comment

samburger (#5,489)

WHOA WHOA HOLD UP

“But Adam said that I have a good enough job that I should look at higher end vehicles”

What does your job have to do with your vehicle needs? “Well, since you’re a sales executive, you should probably get a dog that’s either black or grey, 45 – 65 lbs. If you’re looking for a small white dog, you’ll need to become a designer, sorry.”

Take that $30,000, invest $20,000 (future you will kiss current you on your beautiful mouth for it), spend maximum $10,000 on a nice, solid, used car with good safety and reliability ratings. You can easily get 10+ years out of it if you take care of it and don’t hinge your identity on your vehicle’s appearance (you can do that if you want to, though).

highjump (#39)

@samburger Yeesh! Exactly what I was thinking! Is this some dumb status thing? I know Mr Money Mustache has been controversial when discussed here but his Top 10 Car list is pretty great, and none of them are $30,000: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/

aetataureate (#1,310)

@samburger “I want a nicer car” is plenty of reason to want a nicer car. “I can afford a nicer car” is plenty of reason to get a nicer car.

ETA: The Mr. Money Mustache list should really be “Top 10 Cars for Smart People Who Don’t Care About Cars”

lisaf (#3,089)

@samburger Agreed! My used Mazda 3 is every single thing I want in a car and was about $13k. There is literally nothing else I can think of that I would want my car to have/be/do.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@highjump Holla at the Nissan Versa, my personal used car and the cutest little hatchback on the planet!

/slightly unrelated

Allison (#4,509)

@aetataureate well, I don’t know that “I can afford x” is a good reason to get X unless you actually WANT X. (and want X by $Y more than you want Z.) I mean, “I can afford and XL pizza so I’m going to get one” is terrible logic if you’re only going to eat a medium’s worth and wish you’d also gotten dessert/a pitcher of beer instead of more pizza.

I do think that someone who has a history of cross country road trips probably does want a nice car for the next time they spend 48 hours driving in it!

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Allison He totally wants this car! It shows throughout the whole interview.

highjump (#39)

@aetataureate I got from the interview that he totally wants an AWD vehicle that can drive across the country. But I also got from the interview that (1) his brother told him to look at luxury because of his job/income (which I think is a mistake bc unless you are maybe a used car salesman no job requires you to have a luxury car) (2) that he has about $30,000 to do something with and (3) that he is taking other advice. Don’t spend $30,000 on a luxury car is my advice! Cheaper cars will have very little difference in driving enjoyment and these assets only depreciate.

samburger (#5,489)

@aetataureate x2 what highjump said. I didn’t read that he had his heart set on the car, hence my advice/friendly bullying/FRUGAL RAGE. I definitely did not mean to attack people who own swanky cars. Sorry if it felt that way!

Lily Rowan (#70)

@highjump A friend of mine had a job that somehow involved clients seeing her car (she was giving them rides, maybe? I forget, but it seemed weird at the time), and her boss told her to get a fancier car! She asked for (and got!) extra money to do so.

highjump (#39)

@Lily Rowan Interesting! Good for her for getting that money. The most specific car need I ever had was my years as a colorguard instructor. I took a 6 foot long flag pole to look at cars. If it couldn’t haul all my weirdly sized crap plus at least one other person it was eliminated from consideration.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@samburger It might just be that his choosing the word “should” threw off the rest. Because he currently drives a luxury car, even if it is used; he had brands in mind already; and he specifically saved up enough money that this is viable. He planned for this. If it were just luxury in general and not driver-specific, he’d be looking at Cadillacs or something as well. If you’re looking at German cars it’s because you’re in it to drive, not just to be cushioned adequately by leather or whatever.

So I think based on all of that that his brother gave him validation to look at higher-end cars. “Oh, you have $30k and you want a car? You should check out some used Mercs!” I say this as a fellow validator. Well, validatrix.

highjump (#39)

@aetataureate “If you’re looking at German cars it’s because you’re in it to drive, not just to be cushioned adequately by leather or whatever.” This made me laugh. I’m pretty sure American cars are also for driving.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@highjump Okay, I get that you don’t get it at all? But the point is that German cars have different suspensions, handling, engines, and options, because people who drive them are interested in performance driving, not just luxury cars. In the phrase “the car was glued to the road,” the car is also not literally glued to the road, either.

samburger (#5,489)

@aetataureate When I try to explain the appeal of craft beer to my sober father, all he hears is “I am a FANCY drunken slob.” It is very similar with cars and frugal people. You’re talking about your special car glue and engine handles, and all I hear is “I drive around in 16 months worth of living expenses WOOO!”

WE ARE NARROW PEOPLE AETATAUREATE your fancy words are lost on us

Heather F G (#6,074)

@honey cowl I LOVE my Versa too! More power to Judah if he wants an Audi because he has obviously done a really good job of getting his ducks in a row, but I think my dream car is a brand-new Honda Civic that with proper maintenance wouldn’t have to be replaced for probably 15 years.

clo (#4,196)

@honey cowl i just bought one of these and love it!!

Elsajeni (#1,763)

@highjump When I was growing up, my family had to go car shopping with a small mattress in tow, because I played the harp (which rode cushioned on the mattress, so if the mattress fit we knew the harp and harp accoutrements would fit). And my husband’s first car had to be specially chosen to fit his upright bass. For our future children, I’m thinking of a blanket ban on instruments that can’t fit in an average-size trunk.

Renleigh (#2,110)

This was hilarious, if not exactly what I was hoping for. (I want to get a new car but am overwhelmed with the all of the options so I was hoping he would also want a smallish new SUV instead of a used sedan and thus maybe the decision would be made magically for me. That said, I’m not even convinced the SUV part is necessary, maybe I just need a sedan with AWD. DECISIONS.)

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Renleigh Can we discuss? I have a sedan with AWD and it is seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

@Renleigh I recently got a Jeep Patriot, and I love it a lot. For what is, the fuel efficiency is not terrible (I get 25-30 mpg, depending on what I’m doing), it’s got a great turning radius (that is a huge selling point for me) and it was cheaper than a CRV and not as clunky feeling as the Kia Sportage. True, it has some drawbacks, but for what I wanted (visibility, ground clearance- I have family in rural areas where I couldn’t get to in my old car, a Saturn-) I think it has worked out quite well.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@TrotskyHoldsMyiPod I assume the Jeep Patriot only comes in red, white, and blue? With a flag hanging off it??

@Lily Rowan Hahaha, I almost didn’t get the Jeep because… yeah, the name. THE NAME! But no, mine is a ‘Murica hating dark grey.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@TrotskyHoldsMyiPod Hahahaha I didn’t even notice that your handle has Trotsky in it too. YESsssss

Nibbler (#5,331)

@Renleigh Sounds like you want a Subaru Forester. There, done!

Renleigh (#2,110)

@Nibbler All of a sudden everyone I know is super into Subaru, so maybe I do want that!

Renleigh (#2,110)

@aetataureate What kind of sedan do you have? I live in one of the top five snowiest places in the US and I have an Elantra right now and it slides all over the place.

Beaks (#3,488)

@Renleigh My family could basically be nominated as brand ambassadors for Subaru- something about growing up down dirt roads in the foothills of Colorado with a driveway you just don’t want to shovel all the time, I think. Also they last forever, you can cram a pretty incredible amount of stuff in most of them, and the 2013 and later models actually get pretty good gas mileage.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Renleigh I have an old BMW but the AWD is really the important part — this was the worst winter in recorded Chicago history and my car drives in the snow almost as well as in the dry. I only shoveled when I sort of wanted to in order to be a good neighbor? Never needed to.

This isn’t as important, but the car is also a dream in the rain — it feels so safe. I can’t recommend AWD highly enough. It sounds like a Subaru would be a really good fit for you! With a lot of snow you might still want higher clearance just for that.

@Renleigh Snow/winter tires! AWD won’t help you stop or turn.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@forget it i quit Mmmm, my experience is that it does help you both stop and turn

@Renleigh I drive a 2008 subaru outback that I got used in 2009 and I love it. The newer outbacks are more like little suvs (crossovers, I guess they call them) but mine is more like a wagon. They also make sedans and ALL of their cars are AWD. They’re great in the snow, get decent milage even in town, and mine is still going strong at almost 100K miles. When I do get another car, I would like it to be a hybrid, which Subaru has just come out with, so they have a few years to improve on it before I’m ready to buy one.

ECW (#2,765)

I really liked this article, and I really hope it doesn’t turn into a “luxury purchase” judgment festival.

It is just as valid to earn money to spend on a car as it is to earn money to invest, or to chose to not work a job that earns that kind of money so you can have free time or work in a field that is not well compensated that you love. Its not about picking the best one, its about picking the option you like and doing it in a way that doesn’t pose risk or potential future regret.

@ECW I’m also worried that this will turn into a judgment festival. I made a similar purchase in the last year – and like Judah, I spent a lot of time researching (test driving, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports). I also ended up with a higher end vehicle because it fit my needs (long-life expectancy with low cost of ownership, small, sporty car with AWD for driving to the mountains), and I could afford it. It was interesting to get side eye from coworkers and friends over the purchase though, and I felt like I had to qualify it (and why should I have to?).

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Catastrophe Waitress Are you a female-identifying person? That seems to amp those questions up about a billion times.

@ECW I think the main reason for judgment is because the way it came out in the interview, he didn’t decide “I really want a luxury car and it will make my life awesome,” but instead his brother said “You should get a luxury car” and he said, “Oh, okay, I’ll do that, even though that wasn’t on my list of needs at all.”

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

Subaru forever! You could get a new AWD Impreza for 10k less than you’re thinking of spending on a used Mercedes. And the maintenance costs would be much lower. Also, it seems like every progressive town has a shop staffed by lovable gutter punks dedicated entirely to maintaining subes.

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@Derbel McDillet I meant that last bit as a positive, btw.

lalaland (#437)

@Derbel McDillet YES! I moved somewhere where I needed/wanted AWD. Looked at Audis but used to drive a German car and the maintenance costs were insane. “Your xyz needs to be replaced, unfortunately since your car is German, it will be 5x as much as any other xyz.”

Got a Subaru, it is the best.

nell (#4,295)

@Derbel McDillet Oh yes. I had an Outback for years and I loved it so so much. (it was a 2001, when they were really wagons not small SUVs) Now that I live in a city I am car-less, which saves a ton of money and hassle but I still miss that car horribly. (It has since joined my sister at college in Vermont, where I imagine it has many Subaru friends.)

clo (#4,196)

@Derbel McDillet omg totally. my sub has 260K miles on it and still runs. very few other makes can compete with that.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@clo My favorite Car Talk callers are all the Alaskan people with 20-year-old Subarus.

clo (#4,196)

@aetataureate haha yes! Mine is a 1998 so almost there!

@Derbel McDillet Subaru appreciation thread!! Love my 2008 Outback, as I mentioned above.

cawcawphony (#2,990)

“I actually sold a number of shares of stock I own which I had been saving for this reason.”

I would like to hear more about this. Like, should an average person with no stock market knowledge do this? And how would one even do that? And stocks are scary?

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@cawcawphony and what are the taxes like on the stock sale?

Meaghano (#529)

@cawcawphony I think you should do it if you have extra money / savings that you either can afford to risk losing or can leave in a fund for a very long time. Saving money for a car upgrade in a few years seems like a great example. I am an avg person w. no stock knowledge beyond you know, fierce googling late at night, and I put 2/3rds of my savings in an index fund three months ago. My logic was that I don’t need it for anything pressing in the next five years, though maybe a down payment on a house, but I can also leave it in there longer if it takes a dip. Anyway it has gone up and down the past few months but it’s also made real money, too! It is wild. I regret not doing it sooner, but I wanted to be really comfortable with the idea before I did it.

Meaghano (#529)

@LookUponMyWorks Stock sales are either short-term or long-term capital gain. Short-term means they’re taxed at your ordinary income rate, long-term means you held the stock for over a year, and it’s taxed at 15%. Plus state tax though! In my IRA, for example, I can log into my account and see how much of my return is currently short-term or long-term — i.e., if I withdrew that money today, how it would be taxed.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Meaghano Seeing the taxation in real time is such a cool feature!

cawcawphony (#2,990)

@Meaghano I feel like I can’t afford to lose anything! I have an IRA that is all index funds, but that is so long term. I guess what you’re saying is that it’s somewhere between a regular bank savings account and a retirement account, right? And another index fund is way less scary that individual stocks and “playing the market.”

Thanks for the info!

Yes — it feels the same as an IRA, really, just without the special tax treatment and you can take the money out whenever. When I did it with Vanguard I took the same risk assessment quiz I did to open my IRA. I told them when I was looking to take the money out, etc etc, and they target how much is in bonds and how much is in stocks based on that. So instead of in 40 years you just say five or two or ten.

And yeah, my fiance and I have talked about maybe setting aside a small amount of money to actively “play with” in the stock market, though really do we want to spend time researching all that crap and worrying about it? I just doubt that I know more than people whose job it is to know this stuff, and I would hate to have to blame myself instead of shaking my fist at some abstract index fund. Heh.

cawcawphony (#2,990)

@Meaghan O’Connell Aah. That makes a lot of sense. And now I have another financial/savings option! The more options I have the more I freeze up.

I will admit I don’t know a lot about cars, but from experience with my father’s Audi and input from a mechanic friend, I think you may find a lot of maintenance costs that add up over time. Also, if you love the road tripping, maybe look for more fuel efficiency?

@TrotskyHoldsMyiPod Was about to say the same. German car maintenance can be quite a shock to someone who’s used to Japanese cars, doubly so for someone who’s kept a Japanese car for a decade.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@forget it i quit AMEN. I drive a Japanese car, and my BF drives a German. He spends 2x what I do on gas and I drive about 4x as much as he does.

garli (#4,150)

@TrotskyHoldsMyiPod My German (Jetta TDI) gets crazy good gas millage. The biggest problem is that prior to owning it I thought heated seats were a stupid luxury and now I will never be happy with out them.

jquick (#3,730)

@garli Agreed. The only requirement of my next car will be heated seats. I’ll gladly roll down the window by hand, but “need” heated seats.

aetataureate (#1,310)

Judah, we have nigh identical taste in cars, and I hope you’re looking at certified preowned! It’s perfect for your price point and you’ll get a sick warranty.

lisaf (#3,089)

Great sibling dynamics! More of these, please!

Human Centipaul (#3,559)

Great piece–but Judah, don’t pay for it all in cash! If you have a good job and good credit, you can probably get some of it financed at a great rate through a local credit union. Like, 3-4% interest, which over the life of, say, a $10,000/3-year auto loan, would would come out to about $700-800. It is totally worth that small amount of “good debt” to keep cash on hand in case of emergencies or Other Things.

Of course, you’ve already sold the stock, so my next advice of “invest the rest somewhere!” seems a little late to the game. And if you have money saved up besides your 10k and stock sale, then you’re not draining your reserves.

sony_b (#225)

@Human Centipaul Another thing to consider would be to finance the car via the dealer and then pay it off immediately since you have the cash. Why? You might get a cheaper base price if the dealer thinks it will make a crapton of money on the interest over time.

I did this with a Civic Hybrid, let them “talk me into” an 11% (!!!) APR, got it at 3k below the suggested retail price and they threw in a bunch of extras including LoJack and 7 years of of maintenance for free. I got a much better deal on the car than I would have if I had paid cash up front.

Either way, don’t forget to do it on the last day of the month. If you’re dealing with a certified, pre-owned car (or a new one) they will often take a loss on a car just to move it and hit their targets with the manufacturer.

jquick (#3,730)

@sony_b Buy from a dealership that has 0% loans. I had originally planned on paying cash, but got the loan so I got to keep most of my cash (at time of sale), and used it over the next several to make more money.

I just bought an SUV because I want to move a lot of stuff all the time. 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD and I am in BUSINESS. It’s like all the perks of an SUV-being able to get anything I want from Craigslist-with all of the fuel advantages of a car (32mpg city/29 highway). I wanted to keep it under 10k, but I ended up going a little higher so I could get financing. Full intend to have it paid off in a few years though so interest doesn’t kill my savings!

j a y (#3,935)

Heh, I totally feel both sides. I vacillate between:

1) Hey, if I can pay for it easily, why shouldn’t I have a fancy car? And Teslas get great reviews (I am a review sucker)

2) I have a 5 minute commute. Why on earth would I spend $NewCar-8k for that when I really don’t care about cars?

3) But then! I’ll hardly put any mileage on it! So it’ll last a long time and I can amortize the cost over a long ownership!

4) Or I could just save the cost up front and invest the rest.

5) Or I could get a TRUCK since I won’t use much gas regardless!

6) But how often would I need that?

Beaks (#3,488)

@j a y You might actually be a perfect candidate for leasing? If what you really want is to drive something really fun for the heck of it for a short term period, lease something awesome for a year and then decide if it’s actually worth owning. (I have no idea if Tesla does leases).

jquick (#3,730)

@j a y Aren’t Tesla’s $80k+?

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