Should I Buy a Car and Skip Our Extra Mortgage Payment?

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Alright, so I’ve run into another dilemma and I need your help! I know what I probably should do, but it’s always helpful to hear the advice of my readers (after all, you are all so wise for some reason).

My Wife Needs a Different Car

Back in November, my wife landed her dream job, but the travel is somewhat extensive. Not only is her office about 35 miles away, but she often has meetings outside of the office and tacks on even more miles. After gauging her gas expenses for February and March, I figure she’s spending about $600 at the pump each month. Combine that with my $150 worth of fill-ups and we’re totaling $750 on fuel every month!

It certainly doesn’t help that my wife is travelling hundreds of miles a week, but you know what else doesn’t help? Our Jeep Liberty, which averages 16.5 miles per gallon. With the recent rise in gas prices, I’m ready to ditch the Jeep and go with something a little more fuel efficient.

So What Car Are We Considering?

Given that my current height is 6’8″, I never thought that I would utter this next phrase, but my wife and I are looking at Mini Coopers. 😉 Ever since we met, my wife has been talking about how much she loves Mini Coopers, and I’ve always dismissed them because I just assumed that I would never fit in one, but the other day I gave it a try. As long as there’s no moon roof, I fit in the Mini perfectly. Plus, driving it was a blast too!

The Ultimate Debate (where I need your help)

There’s a 2004 Mini Cooper for sale near us that has a sticker price of $9,700 (down from $10,900). There’s only 62,000 miles and it drives quite nicely. There are a few missing caps and covers here and there, and the rear bumper looks like it might have gotten bumped at one time, but all in all, it’s in pretty solid shape. In order to buy this Mini, I figured that we would first find a buyer for the Jeep, and then put that money toward the car. However, we have now saved enough to make a cash offer of $8,600 or so, and then have a little bit to spare in our account.

Here’s the problem. If we make an offer on the car now, we won’t be able to put our extra $1,200 payment on the house this month (we have a plan to pay off the house in 4 years). The extra payment would be postponed until we sell the Jeep. I’m having a hard time with this (especially since we don’t really know how long it will take to sell the Jeep), but we do like the Mini….

What do you think? Is it okay to postpone the extra payment on our house to purchase the Mini?

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Money

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

44 Comments

    • One point for not skipping the extra payment. Gotcha.

      • Hmmm. That is a tough one. We do a pretty good job keeping our junk to a minimum. There’s really not that much to sell! What I really need to do is get my eBook out there for sale – that could earn me some extra income.

  1. I think you would want to look at the gas prices with the new car. How much per month could you save on gas driving this new car? If you truly are saving, then you could take that amount and add that to the $1200 you pay for the next few months until you’ve made up your $1200. But you may also want to compare insurance rates to see how much your insurance company would charge for this new car compared to the Jeep.

    • We would save about $250 a month, which equates to $3,000 a year! Great advice Portia. I love it!

  2. Even though I already feel like your decision has been made to buy the car (after all, you took a picture and everything), I say go for it as long as you are 100% certain that you won’t be desperate for cash and need to sell the jeep for a low price.
    20’s Finances recently posted..How to Save Money in Your 20s

      • Both valid points for sure. Thanks for weighing in Miss T!

    • Lol. You know me all too well! That is the main concern, just making sure that we have enough of a buffer in case something happens. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Why is this an either/or discussion? Get the car first. Apply your gas savings to the mortgage as additional payment until the Jeep sells. When the Jeep sells, complete the additional payment. happy happy joy joy!

    • Sounds like a rock-solid plan to me! It’s actually the same plan that I already had, but somehow, your way of saying it sounds much better!

  4. I guess you also have to weigh out how much money you will save in gas eash day you aren’t driving Libby….
    – Your big sis 🙂

    • Save about $3,000 a year on gas. I still have to look into the insurance aspect of this deal though….

  5. To me it sounds like the longer you put this off, the more money you will waste on gas. As long as you don’t get any kind of penalty for skipping the mortgage payment, I’d say buy the car now. Also, if you wait, someone else might snatch up that car and you might have to settle for a more expensive option. Besides there is always word that gas prices will continue to increase.
    Modest Money recently posted..Purchasing Life Insurance on a Budget

    • Very true. The longer we wait, the more we’ll be wasting at the pump…

  6. Interesting debate – the first of many. These aren’t easy decisions, but what I have noticed is that you will be able to find other cars even if you think this is “the one.” I say stick to your guns on the mortgage and get it gone. The simple fact that you don’t have kids yet and no extra expense for them, keep hammering away at that mortgage. You will free yourself up for so many more opportunities later in life.
    Be patient – the price at the pump is painful, but is minimal to the thousands you’ll save on interest payments on your house.

    • Thanks for the advice Kevin. You’re right, there’s always a good deal out there. I may as well focus on the mortgage and not worry so much about the car situation.

  7. I would say offer them $8,500 cash up front and see how it goes (they should take it). Then sell the Jeep. Make that extra mortgage payment when the Jeep sells and then add your savings in gas onto what you can pay towards the mortgage.

    I NEED to buy another car myself but I don’t have the kind of funds set aside like you do. I really wish I could, my car goes through gas like crazy!
    Jessica, The Debt Princess recently posted..If I had 600 Million Dollars…

    • Thanks for the advice Jessica! I think I am at the point where I’m going to make an offer (somewhere around $8,500) and if they don’t take it, then I just walk away. Either I get a good deal on this car, or I’m just moving on to the next one.

  8. Dr. Dean just had a great post on this. It will not be worth it. I will probably take 5+ years for the payback period to make since on buying a new car.
    YFS recently posted..His Device Makes Him Famous

    • I’ll be paying cash for this car though. Are you talking about buying a brand new car with payments?

  9. i would say not to skip. why ruin the good streak.

    • Yeah….I hear ya there. It would be nice to continue making those extra payments and stay on track. Thanks for the comment!

  10. A contrarian view. Do you have an emergency fund? If so, you could tap that, but if you are looking at going cash-poor on the “hopes” that the jeep will sell for what you want, I wouldn’t do it. You also have to fully understand the long-term maitenance of a mini vs. the jeep. The mini is made by BMW, and those are not cheap maintenance cars. Makes no sense to save gas if the service for the mini is 5 times your jeep.
    BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog recently posted..Company Stock Options – Pipe Dream or Golden Ticket?

    • Well said BE. Yes, in order to get the cash, I would have to dip into our emergency.funds, which makes me a little bit nervous. I have also thought about the expense of the Mini. The maintenance would definitely be more, but I wouldn’t go as far as 5x more. There would still be a savings there. I appreciate the comment though – could be the best one so far! Thanks!

  11. Errr, did you say you are 6 8″?! If so, holy moly! How can u fit in a mini? U need a Mercedes G550 instead!

    • Lol. Yep, 6’8″! I was actually shocked that I fit in that Mini, but without a moonroof, there’s actually more headroom. And, the legroom is surprising as well. Personally, I drive a Chevy Truck and fit in it nicely, but this is my wife’s car and I won’t travel in it all that often.

    • CFM, you are a wise man. This is another concern of mine because I hear that they are terrible! But, since my work is on the way to mine, she can always take my truck and drop me off. …..I guess…..

      • then you would be back to wasting a lot of gas money again!

        • Just a little. Since most of her travel is highway, getting to work wouldn’t be so bad. It’s just on those terrible blizzard days where she would need my truck. Yeah…we need to find a better solution though.

  12. I’d say that this would be a time where you don’t want plans that you’ve made to get in the way of a good financial decision. If the car is a good price that you don’t want to walk away from, I’d delay the mortgage payment.

    Life is always going to throw a curveball here and there. We don’t want to break plans, but if we are too rigid, you’ll miss some great financial opportunities.
    Wayne @ Young Family Finance recently posted..Managing Your Finances Takes Time

    • I think at this point, I’m just going to throw out a number and if he doesn’t take it, then I walk. Simple as that.

  13. I think You should clarify you are not skipping the mortgage payment altogether. It is merely th extra one.

    • Thanks for the clarification hunny. 🙂

  14. I would not buy the mini Cooper! The car is way too expensive and you could get a newer car that is more up to the mpg standards or even with some sort of warranty! Has this car been fixed up? Have you checked out the bin # to see what or were this car has been through? Ok so the car is cute but are you ever going to go out with anyone? Will mrs have to ever drive more than one person around? Too small, too expensive and not going to be the best in winter! I have passed these little buggers on the highway and they are pretty small! Not the safest care for driving on the high way! I would look around at more options and see what that kind of money can buy! I don’t like that car at all!

    • Haha! Wow, that’s a lot of questions! Before the purchase, I would definitely get it checked out to make sure it wasn’t a lemon. As for the price, it’s actually not too bad, and Mini’s really hold their value. As for mpgs, it gets 33 highway. Not too many cars match that without being a hybrid.

  15. Hmm. Putting myself in your shoes – if it was absolutely a purchase I was 100 % behind then I would make it happen. It’s obvious you can make it work.

    If there’s any doubt about it though (not the finances but the car itself) then perhaps it’s not the right time/vehicle right now.
    eemusings recently posted..Link love (Powered by blogging peeves and other woes)

    • Good advice. Thanks for the two cents!


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