I drive a 14-year-old car and I’m proud of it.
My current ride is a 2004 Lexus ES 330 that has almost 250,000 miles on it.
Lexi, as I call her, has served me well over the years.
I bought Lexi back in 2007 when she was 3 years old.
The car was a great deal, costing just under $25,000 and roughly having about 30,000 miles at the time of purchase.
Although it was a great deal, the problem was that I couldn’t actually afford the car.
As evidenced by the fact that I had no money for a downpayment.
Just three months before I purchased the car I started a new job, making approximately $72,000 per year. And would receive a $10,000 sign-on bonus within the year as long as I stayed employed for the full year.
I felt like I had hit the jackpot!
So naturally, I had to celebrate by getting a new ride.
I could afford the payments based on my new salary, so I thought I could afford the car.
I searched online for a few days, applied for financing through the credit union at work, and shortly after became the proud owner of a gold Lexus with heated seats, wood grain kit, and multi-CD changer.
I was sitting on top of the world…for about 5 minutes.
Ok, maybe it was about 3 months.
Just enough time for the ‘like-new’ smell to wear off and the reality of 5 years worth of $492 payments (and interest) to set in.
The only thing I did right was to purchase the car used and to buy a good quality vehicle.
I thank God for the quality. It’s the only reason I am still rolling around in Lexi 11 years later.
The ride isn’t as smooth and she’s a little banged up, but it gets the job done.
And you know what…
The best thing about my car is that it is paid for.
I haven’t had a car payment in about 4 years and I don’t ever plan to have another one.
A quick look back at my ‘checkered past’ with cars
- 2002: My first car- A sea-green Geo Metro (Free! gifted to me by my grandfather)
- 2004: My new husband and I shared his Ford Focus (Free! gifted by hubby’s parents)
- 2005: Newly married and living on one income, we decided to buy a used Chevy Blazer to contend with the winter weather in Michigan while Eric attended graduate school. We had no money for a downpayment so we got a cash advance on our one credit card to use as a down payment. We financed over 5 years and the payments were less than $300 per month. We paid off the cash advance two months later and eventually paid the truck off early in 2008.
- 2007: Purchased Lexi with no money down, financed over 5 years with a $492 payment. Hubby continued to drive the Chevy Blazer and we gifted the Ford Focus to my mother.
- 2010: Hubby purchased a 2008 Cadillac CTS. We put down $6,000 and financed over 5 years. I don’t recall the exact payment but it was less than $300 and we made the final payment in 2014.
- Present (2018): Hubby still drives the Cadillac CTS but it has needed a LOT of repairs over the past 2 years. And I’m still driving the Lexus which has required basic maintenance and some minor repairs over the years. We have been car-payment free for over 4 years.
Now here is the thing that some people may find surprising.
For the first time in my life, I actually have enough cash saved to pay for a car outright!
And I don’t have to drain the emergency fund to purchase it.
I’ve come a long way.
Over the past 2.5 years, I have saved up just under $20,000 towards the purchase of my next car.
But I continue to drive my dusty 14-year-old car anyway.
And I plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Cars are just not that important to me anymore.
I would much rather be investing my money or using it to purchase some other appreciable asset, like a rental property that generates passive income.
For the me of today, cars are strictly about getting me from Point A to Point B reliably.
As long as my car can continue to hold up that part of the bargain, I will hold onto the cash that I have designated for my next ride.