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Trouble spending & cars
Old 11-04-2013, 04:00 PM   #1
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Trouble spending & cars

So here's my dilemma, and it's one I know others have struggled and posted with (at least the general problem). I have trouble spending money on myself. In a past life, I spent way too much on cars but have been really good for nearly a decade now. Our current FIRE savings rate is 50-60% of pre-tax income. I've been setting aside a significant amount of money each money for a "car fund" that is outside of our FIRE savings and it's now a good size.

So now I'm struggling to spend the car fund. On one hand, we're saving quite a bit for FIRE, but on the other hand another $20-40K gets us there that much faster. I know there are at least a couple car guys in the forum and a whole lot of not-car guys and gals. How do I decide what to do? How did you?
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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Funny. I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger on a new car too. I have the money set aside as well. I guess the problem in my case is it still drives well and s/b reliable for short trips. But I do plan on talking some longer trips next year and want something newer when I do that.

I guess on the one hand I know it is crazy not to enjoy some of my money now while I'm still healthy enough to do so, but I don't want to be wasteful either. I'm sure I will plunk the money down before too long, it's just a matter of when.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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Funny. I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger on a new car too. I have the money set aside as well. I guess the problem in my case is it still drives well and s/b reliable for short trips. But I do plan on talking some longer trips next year and want something newer when I do that.

I guess on the one hand I know it is crazy not to enjoy some of my money now while I'm still healthy enough to do so, but I don't want to be wasteful either. I'm sure I will plunk the money down before too long, it's just a matter of when.
Misery loves company

How old is your current ride and how many miles? How much do you drive? Part of my problem is this is clearly a want for me, not a need. My ride is perfectly reliable and I don't drive a ton of miles a year.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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I fit this group very well. Even though FIREd and lots in the bank, even though I once avidly followed the car industry, they are now a utility.......a tool to get me places reliably. But two of my vehicles are 9 years old with 86K and 97K miles respectively.

Just a few weeks ago I did finally get something newer, but always shopping for bargains. Just purchased a 2011 Kia Sedona with 8K miles for under $17K. Even though I could easily afford a $34K Chevy Traverse or something similar that can haul lots of kids, cargo, and trailer.

My compromise is to look for two year old vehicles with low mileage and about 65% of new sticker.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:19 PM   #5
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...I know it is crazy not to enjoy some of my money now while I'm still healthy enough to do so...
The question to ask is whether you would enjoy a new car, or even a luxury car. If so, go for it. Life's short.

As for me, I am at the point where a car is just a utility vehicle to me. As long as it is reliable enough to not leave me stranded, and the A/C keeps me cool, I am OK.

I look at people's luxury cars with indifference. If I have a $50-70K car and somebody puts a dimple or a scratch on it, it would drive me raving mad. So, why subject myself to it?

I guess if I were so rich that I could just call the dealer to tell him to bring me a new car in exchange for the dimpled car, I would not mind having a luxury one.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #6
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The question to ask is whether you would enjoy a new car, or even a luxury car. If so, go for it. Life's short.

As for me, I am at the point where a car is just a utility vehicle to me. As long as it is reliable enough to not leave me stranded, and the A/C keeps me cool, I am OK.

I look at people's luxury cars with indifference. If I have a $50-70K car and somebody puts a dimple or a scratch on it, it would drive me raving mad. So, why subject myself to it?

I guess if I were so rich that I could just call the dealer to tell him to bring me a new car in exchange for the dimpled car, I would not mind having a luxury one.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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The question to ask is whether you would enjoy a new car, or even a luxury car. If so, go for it. Life's short.

As for me, I am at the point where a car is just a utility vehicle to me. As long as it is reliable enough to not leave me stranded, and the A/C keeps me cool, I am OK.

I look at people's luxury cars with indifference. If I have a $50-70K car and somebody puts a dimple or a scratch on it, it would drive me raving mad. So, why subject myself to it?

I guess if I were so rich that I could just call the dealer to tell him to bring me a new car in exchange for the dimpled car, I would not mind having a luxury one.
I thought the plan was to go 100% biotech stocks and get a Audi S8...
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
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Heh heh, count me in! I dithered for 4 years after the body shop told me I should sell my car. Finally I took the plunge when bits were falling off and I didn't feel safe in it any more.

There is nothing wrong with waiting until you are ready. When that day comes, you can buy the new (or newish) car with a clear conscience.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #9
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Buying my new car was always part of my retirement planning. I knew I would worry if I had to retire with an old car, and my pre-retirement car would be 10 years old when I retired, so everything fit together nicely. I would buy a brand new car upon retiring.

Everything worked out quite logically. I put money aside into my "car fund" each year as dictated by my plan. That money was not to be available to me for any other purpose. I spent a lot of time on Edmunds.com researching cars, and as retirement drew closer I finally decided on the brand and model that fit my needs.

Then after I retired (and no longer had to worry about dings in the parking lot at work), I bought the brand and model I had decided upon.

For me buying something major like a car (or house) is a logical project, and not one subject to impulsive changes in plans.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:59 PM   #10
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We talked about this last week, and it is DW that is quite keen. We hired a VW Golf 2000 GTi diesel for 6 weeks this year while driving in England and Ireland, and loved it. Last week DW said she'd like to have one as our next car and when should we buy it. Next year we plan on going to Oz and NZ for several months, but 2015 is planned to be doing lots of driving in the USA so we agreed that early 2015 will be the target date to get a new car. Our current car will be 8.5 years old by then and will have 75 - 80k miles on the clock.

We had said that we would keep this one for 10 years when we bought it, but .....
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:37 PM   #11
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I am a car guy. Full stop. Cars are important to me so I buy new and what I want. What I do do, is keep them, well-maintained, for long periods, which "helps" on the cost front. Just replaced a 2002 BMW X5 with a 2012 BMW X5. Still have a 2001 BMW convertible owned since new. Still have a 1997 Porsche 993 also owned since new.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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Does it need to be a new car? How about a less expensive car that's fun? Are you mechanically inclined? Our base car is a Nissan Versa. I drove a 95 Chev Caprice station wagon I paid $650 for until I was close to retirement. Sold it for $400 when the tranny started to slip. Before that, a 92 compact someone crashed and gave me. Hammered out the damage and spent $400 on a paint job. It got wrecked and the insurance company totaled it for $1000. Picked up a 78 VW bug that had been in a barn for 10 years and refurbished it. Have a 79 El Camino. None of these were expensive cars. They provide(d) reliable transportation, and we're fun and educational to mess with. They're also conversation pieces. Everyone would like to have the bug or the Elky. Transportation doesn't have to be expensive.

Did finally get a diesel one ton dually, so we could haul
The RV around the country. So now we have a truck payment, but it was a 0% loan
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:06 PM   #13
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Misery loves company

How old is your current ride and how many miles? How much do you drive? Part of my problem is this is clearly a want for me, not a need. My ride is perfectly reliable and I don't drive a ton of miles a year.
I have a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer with close to 90k miles on it. Purchased in early 2007(the year I retired). I think it had around 18k miles when I bought it. It's been a good one. Only had one issue (water pump) but luckily replaced it before warranty expired.

Looking at buying a Traverse or a Ford Explorer. If I wasn't in the dog business I might buy something like a Buick Lacrosse. But I like doing stuff with the mutt so the cargo space in an SUV is nice. A purchase right now is not a must, would fall into a fun or luxury item. I'm looking, but want a decent deal too.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:13 PM   #14
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I thought the plan was to go 100% biotech stocks and get a Audi S8...
Well, even biotechs do not rise that fast, and I am patient.

PS. Just woke up from a nap, and checked Quicken screen just now. Today, I am beating the market and yet the MFs in DW's 401k were not in yet as they always reported late as usual. If every day is like today, I may have to think of the next thing beyond an A8. Oops, you already suggested the S8!

Problem is I will also have to upgrade to a better neighborhood. An S8 looks out-of-place where I am now.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:10 PM   #15
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Only in very rare circumstances would I buy a brand-new car. I'd typically rather have a 4-5 year old car at half the sticker.

LARS: The 993s are wonderful. I had a turbo P-car that was probably my all-time favorite. New tires every 4K miles despite AWD.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:20 PM   #16
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I'm in favor of treating the current you equally as well as the future you. You've saved up the money, spend it. If not now, when? The investing option will be there to balance every spending decision you make. Follow your budget and you'll be fine. Full disclosure: I have always bought Porsches worth about 3/4 of my gross yearly salary, but not very many of them.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:57 PM   #17
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We have never had a luxury car. All the ones we have owned are run-of-the-mill vehicles that one buys for $20K-30K. One time, I told my wife that perhaps we should spring for a more luxury vehicle, and as frugal as she was, she said that we would then need to upgrade everything else, like our homes. And then, we would want to fly 1st class. Gosh, where's that going to end?

I guess we just do not care about cars. Some people can be happy with a nice car, but as the car is not any special than anything else that we have and enjoy, we just do not see putting too much into it. We would have to upgrade everything else commensurately.

I had a 280Z in my 20s, and although it was fairly inexpensive, it was my baby, and I spent a bit of time pampering it. That was up until I had my 1st born, and my priority shifted.

My son just got a German sedan, and it was a far cry from that 280Z of mine. He spent a lot of time cleaning it, and told me that at the end of a drive he did not want to leave and just felt so happy staying in the seat. I smiled and thought he should be enjoying that now, when he still cared. Yes, even if the car costs more than his annual income after tax.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:07 AM   #18
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We bought two new vehicles when we moved in 2002, both long-planned purchases and paid cash. DW's Buick Century now has 171k miles, most of it back-and-forth to FIL's, and is still running fine. The only non-scheduled repair was a new radiator. I'm hoping to get 200k miles or more but when something expensive breaks on it we have the funds set aside to replace it.

My older sister & hubby have a Toyota Camry with 260k miles on it that is their daily driver. They sure got their nickel's worth out of that one.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:33 AM   #19
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Only in very rare circumstances would I buy a brand-new car. I'd typically rather have a 4-5 year old car at half the sticker.
That being the case you should have no trouble finding something on the low end or under your budgeted number. And there is nothing wrong with that. For me, I rarely buy new but like to get something with some warranty left. Of course I'm paying for that too as I could save more on one out of warranty. I guess we all have to decide where to draw the line.

BTW, I washed my Trailblazer yesterday and it doesn't look too bad. Or maybe the cheap old bastard side in me is raising it's ugly head again.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:02 AM   #20
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The question to ask is whether you would enjoy a new car, or even a luxury car. If so, go for it. Life's short.

As for me, I am at the point where a car is just a utility vehicle to me. As long as it is reliable enough to not leave me stranded, and the A/C keeps me cool, I am OK.

I look at people's luxury cars with indifference. If I have a $50-70K car and somebody puts a dimple or a scratch on it, it would drive me raving mad. So, why subject myself to it?

I guess if I were so rich that I could just call the dealer to tell him to bring me a new car in exchange for the dimpled car, I would not mind having a luxury one.
+2 used to be real car nut, and had many > $70K rides over the years, but as I approached retirement, my lust for Porches, BMWs, etc wained, and now I ride around in a Civic. Had I not been such a car nut, my nest egg would be considerably larger.
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