As we don’t have a garage the car is exposed to the elements. I have to de-ice windscreen with warm water before driving in the morning. It’s a total pain in the arse but if it was just me I wouldn’t care. I’d wear a blanket over my legs and suffer the cold. But with 2 little kids I feel slightly neglectful (although they do love their car blankets). All this is to say that I’ve been considering buying a new car because my $1,000 banger is no longer cutting the mustard. The front electric windows stopped working just before we purchased it and now the heater has gone.
Because we don’t borrow for depreciating assets, buying a new car is a big deal. I really don’t want to spend money on something that gets me from A to B and doesn’t provide me any actual joy in my life. And $5k on a car just feels like an unnecessary luxury.
I didn’t always think this way. When I was 18 and working my first full-time job earning around $300 a week after taxes I believed that I deserved a nice car. One Sunday afternoon I went shopping with a friend and came home with an $8,000 car loan (and a new car, of course). Only I didn’t think of it as an $8k car loan. To me it was a $75 weekly payment. Which was much more palatable. Eventually I left the country and had to sell the vehicle at a loss to pay my loan back.
After that experience I no longer compliment people on their new cars. It feels stupid to congratulate them on acquiring more debt for a depreciating asset (unless it’s vintage car – which is rarely is).
Since a car payment is out of the question, spending $5,000 on a car seems like so much money. Still, a decision needs to be made. Here’s a list of pros and cons:
- We replaced the cam (timing) belt on it in 2014, which cost about $600. Having that done removes a fair amount of the risk from owning second-hand cars.
- It’s cheap as hell to run – like $55 per month cheap.
- It’s a manual (or a stick for my US friends) – I’ve always driven manuals but they are getting harder to find in newer cars.
- It’s a lovely smooth car to drive, and I really think it’s got at least 5 years left.
- We can spend the money on investments or travel.
For getting rid of
- It’s not quite big enough. My husband’s head nearly hits the ceiling.
- We could drive in the heat of the day in summer again!
- We’d probably do more weekends away and road trips if we had a slightly bigger and more comfortable car.
- We’d be 5k poorer.
I’m at odds – do I take the old banger to the mechanic and pay whatever it costs them to diagnose and fix the issue? Or do I suck it up and take 5k from our travel funds, buy a slightly more modern used vehicle and call it a life cost? What would you do?