We wanted to drive our old car to the ground….but something happened.
We’ve got a couple of cars on the older side, both having logged over 100,000 miles each. They still have a lot of life in them and are very well maintained, and this 100K milestone would’ve normally been the time to trade them for new cars. But something about the story of a guy who only owned ONE car in his lifetime rang true to me, and with cash flow tight for us over the last couple of years (and the next few years ahead), we’ve decided to reevaluate our car buying habits recently based on the many voices around the blogosphere that I’ve heard on the subject.
Our car buying plan is now as follows:
- As much as possible, we plan to drive our cars “to death”, after reading about how much money you can save by doing this: $31,000, according to CNN Money!
- We’ll be turning to used cars to replace the vehicles we have when the time comes.
For the most part, our cars are in fairly good shape to last a couple more years. But very recently, something unexpected happened. With a relative of mine having just moved to Singapore at the end of July, we received first dibs at his family’s estate sale.
There was something in that estate sale we just couldn’t refuse: A 2006 Volvo V50 Sports Wagon for an awesome price (because we were family, the price was further discounted from the Blue Book value). We’re your typical Japanese auto fans, so a Volvo wasn’t even in our sights. But we know a good deal when we see it. With my spouse’s car beginning to show some wear, the opportunity to replace it for an almost brand-spanking new sports wagon was highly tempting.
Because we really didn’t want to end up driving the roads this way:
Photo by Sneezl
So even though we weren’t expecting to buy a new car anytime soon, this opportunity made us reconsider. We had to make a fairly quick decision about buying the car or the sweet offer would find its way listed on Craigslist instead. It wasn’t much of a no-brainer, following our thought process:
- Buy the car, it’s barely used!
- It’s a safe model and perfect for a young family.
- It’s in perfect condition, with the original car owners being people we know.
- We’re getting an excellent deal given the value. The previous owners opted for top-of-the-line features (the rest of my family isn’t as frugal as I am).
- The car is fully loaded and contains cosmetic improvements for that sporty look.
- Even as 2nd owners, I see ourselves getting pretty good resale value.
- It’s a roomier and much more attractive car than the one we’re thinking of replacing.
Cons: DON’T BUY
- We’re not ready to spend money right now.
- Say bye-bye to a good chunk of change.
- We didn’t choose the car, it chose us.
The Decision? We took the car for a test run and just fell in love with it. So we ended up buying it. After we sell my husband’s car, we’ll only be out $12,000.
Some sample photos of the car we’ll be “inheriting”:
It goes to show that even if we weren’t proactively looking for a car replacement at this time, sometimes fate intervenes and changes things up. We justified our decision by asking ourselves: what’s a few years? We’ll be spending the same money (or more) for a replacement car in a few years anyway. And deals like this come once in a blue moon. Not to mention that we won’t be dealing with a middleman (dealer) and spending all that extra time and energy shopping around. For the value and minimal hassle, it was just worth spending the money today. My shopping philosophy has always been this:
Cost and price are not everything. Spend the money when it’s good value.
Even if something strikes you as expensive, it may still be a wise move to buy it if the timing is right, it offers good value and it’s a financial move you can afford (without breaking your bank or causing you to go into a spiral of debt doom).
The only one thing I regret from all this is that I will be missing my relative very much. He and his family have been part of our extended family in the Bay Area for over 20 years, and I’d much rather keep our entire family local than anything else. This just means more excuses to travel I suppose!
Image Credit: Thank you to The Family Car Web Magazine for such lovely pictures of the Volvo V50 Sportswagon.
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