Liz and I recently paid cash for a house, fixed it up, and sold it for a $27,000 profit! This allowed us to stash $122,000 in the bank, which is more money than we’ve EVER had at our disposal. It’s a great thing, but honestly, it’s giving me the “I want to buy some cool stuff” shakes. I know I know, it always seems like I’m so calm and collected when it comes to money, but everyone has their breaking point, right? Lately, because of this money in the bank, I’ve been subconsciously looking at cars again… This post is basically about my car fever and ultimately snapping myself out of it. Thankfully, I successfully talked myself out of buying a better car.
How I Talked Myself Out of Buying a Better Car
I currently drive a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. It has 167,000 miles on it, has quite a few small dents (that probably nobody else sees but me), and it’s just really starting to look old and tired – inside and out. Liz and I are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and we’ve done really well financially over the past few years, so I’ve just been feeling like it’s time for an upgrade. That, and I’d hate for my car to hit that 200,000 mile mark, start to break down, and then have it be worth practically nothing (FYI…this is me trying to justify buying a much better used car…).
On the side of the road a few days ago sat a beautiful 4 wheel drive GMC Sierra. I figured that it’d be $30,000 like every other used GMC these days, but when I stopped and looked at it (which, by the way, was my first mistake), the tag in the window said that it was only $17,000! Sure, it was a little older and had 170,000 miles, but man that thing looked nice!!
Then, I’ve got my friend at work that drives a 2011 Honda Crosstour – he’s considering selling it. I’ve wanted one of these since they came out! They’re sleek, practical, and have tons of upgrades inside that make you feel like you’re driving a luxury car. He takes care of his car like no one I’ve ever known – I mean seriously, he wipes down the dash with a wet wipe every weekend to keep it from getting dusty! If I’d ever want to buy a car, I’d want to buy it from him. I don’t have a snapshot of his car (like I did that beautiful truck as the sun was setting in the distance ;)), but it looks exactly like the one below, except his is black (which is even better IMO!).
Sheesh, I thought I had myself under control, but I’m still drooling over these cars! Hold me back, people! Lol.
What kind of car do you drive? Are you getting a little fed up with it too? Most likely though, it’s perfectly fine and you just need to talk yourself down off the ledge one more time (or a couple of times if you’re like me). Here’s how I talked myself out of buying a better car and how you can likely talk yourself back into contentment as well.
1) My Car Has Been Incredibly Reliable
I bought my Vibe three years ago. Since then the starter developed a flat spot and….I eventually needed to get new tires (I hit one too many snowbanks last winter!). That’s it. Overall, even with oil changes , it has cost me about $1,200. That’s not bad at all! Not to mention the insurance is cheap and it gets pretty decent gas mileage. All in all, this car has been completely reliable and will probably last another 60,000 miles.
2) I Only Drive Four Miles a Day
Want to know how long it takes me to drive to work?
Two miles there, two miles back. This is pretty much the extent of my car’s travels for 4 out of the 5 business days. One random day a week, I might drive 20 miles to get to and from our other headquarters. That’s it. If we take a trip somewhere as a family, we’ll take our minivan. It has more room, rides great, and gets pretty decent gas mileage as well.
Each year, I’m lucky if I put 5,000 miles on my car. This was actually one of the major reasons I talked myself out of getting a better car. If anything, I should just be riding my bike to work!
3) My Car is Super Practical
I truly believe that there’s no car out there that has a better set-up than mine.
- I’m 6’8″ and I sit in it quite comfortably
- It has all wheel drive, which is awesome during our Michigan winters
- It’s a hatchback and the back seats fold down in seconds, which gives me TONS of room for hauling stuff (like 16 foot pieces of trim that one time…FYI, it worked but almost ended badly…I wouldn’t recommend it).
- It has every compartment I need, it has an outlet for a plug (yes, an actual plug!), and a roof rack for hauling other random boards (and even drywall occasionally! :)) I mean c’mon, who needs a truck?!
This car can pretty much do everything except haul a refrigerator. Sure, it’s a little old, but most of the time I simply love it for its practicality!
4) It’s Not So Nice That I Waste My Time Caring For It
Do you know what’s really important to me in my life right now?
Here’s my top 5:
- My relationship with God
- My relationship with my wife
- The relationship I have with my daughter (and future son!)
- My parents, siblings, in-laws, and my extended family
- Our future move to the country so that my wife and have the family farm that she’s always wanted
Did you notice what’s NOT on my list? My car. I don’t want to be one of those guys that cleans his car every day when he gets home. Heck, I don’t even want to be that guy that cleans his car every Saturday. If I can get away with it, I’d prefer to only clean my car once every two months!
If my ride was newer and spotless…I’d be inclined to try to keep it that way, which would mean I’d soon become one of those guys that I roll my eyes at. By keeping my Vibe, I’m ensuring that I don’t get caught up in a pretty hunk of metal that shouldn’t be important to me. (Oh, and by the way, my car’s color is pewter, which is basically the color of dirt anyway. Perfect! Nobody can even tell that’s it’s dirty when I ignore it for months – and instead I can be doing something that’s way more important!)
5) It’s Not Part of Our One Page Financial Plan
Remember that one page financial plan that I put together just the other day (our real-life plan is shown below)? There’s nothing on there about a new car either….
At some point I realize that I’ll need to get a better car (mine probably won’t last forever…), but if I’m honest with myself today it really has nothing to do with my life goals OR my financial goals. I’m glad that I talked myself out of buying a better car.
As of this date of publication, my car works perfectly fine and I’m absolutely blessed to have it. Maybe once we move into our future farmhouse and have everything all fixed up I’ll consider a better one, but right now my wheels of choice are my 2003 Pontiac Vibe.
Are You Talking Yourself Out of Buying a Better Car?
So what about you? Do you have the same struggles I do when it comes to lusting after better used cars (note, I never said new car since that’d just be ridiculous…)? Once your car gets to be about 10 years old, it’s only natural to start drooling at every shiny ride that goes by. BUT, you’ve just got to remind yourself of what’s important to you. Chances are, that flashy ride is more of a spontaneous purchase than it is about long-term happiness. In the end, you’ll likely say to yourself, “Man, I’m glad I talked myself out of buying a better car.”
Are you currently in the battle of your own mind as well? What car are you lusting for? And what are you driving now?
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.