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Tag Archive: Paying Cash for a Car

Three cheers for used cars!

In the process of buying our home, one of the questions which came up was about the garage door openers. The owners said they didn’t have any garage door openers because it was just programmed into their car.

My husband and I were scratching our heads over this. Programmed into their car? Their realtor looked at us like we were possibly from the Dark Ages and said, “Yes, my car has three buttons — one for each garage door — you just program it to each garage door and then push the button to open your garage door.”

Um, seriously? They make cars with onboard garage door openers now?

Apparently, yes. And as is also apparent, we know nothing about newer cars.

As we were chuckling over this while driving around town yesterday in Old Blue Van — our beloved van that has been miraculously hanging on by a thread for over two years! — we got to talking about how much money we’ve saved over the years by buying used vehicles and keeping them running until they’ve lost all life.

You know what the best thing about used and paid-for cars is? They might not be beautiful and luxurious, but they don’t come with a big car payment you have to lug around and pay every month.

How Much We’ve Saved By Not Having a Car Payment

Just for fun, I added up an approximate amount of money we’ve saved over the course of our marriage as a result of driving used cars.

We’ve been married 7.5 years and have never had a car payment. If we had, instead, always had one $400-per-month car payment, we would have spent $36,000 in car payments over the course of the last 7.5 years. And if we had two vehicles with car payments, we would have spent something like $72,000 in car payments.

$72,000! And that’s not even factoring in the interest you could earn if you invested that money.

Of course, these numbers are just a hypothetical and obviously, they would be inflated for many people. However, no matter the case, I would argue that you’re always going to save a fair amount by driving used and paid-for cars.

Not only does driving used vehicles mean you don’t have a car payment, it also means you usually have some funny vehicle stories to share as a result of driving clunkers! Like the time we were on our way home and Old Blue Van started smoking pretty significantly out the hood. We pulled over and my Mama Bear instinct kicked into gear and I got my babies out quicker than I knew was possible because all I could imagine was that it was going to blow up.

It didn’t. And somehow we resurrected it, yet again, and it’s driven for another two years — without another smoking incident.

Another great reason to buy used cars? They hardly depreciate at all! For instance, Old Blue Van has probably only gone down in value a few hundred dollars in the last two years. By contrast, a brand-spankin’-new minivan would likely have gone down in value by thousands of dollars in the last two years.

Yes, there are lots of great reasons to drive used and paid-for cars. Which is why I loved Amy’s post today:

When our 2001 mini-van recently rolled over 130,000 miles, I decided to ask my Facebook Fans if I was the only “weirdo” happy to drive an older, high-mileage, paid for vehicle.  Turns out… I’ve got company! ;) A few commenters {ahem} even insinuated that my van was “practically new.”  Ha!

I’m fully convinced that one easy way to save big money is to purchase used vehicles (with cash) and drive them as long as possible.

Read Amy’s full post here.

And yes, I was one of the commentors who had to rib her about a 2001 van being “new.” Because seriously? Only 130,000 miles? That baby’s got a long life left — at least according to our car standards. 🙂

photo by GManViz

Please note: I’m not advocating that everyone drive unsafe, gas-guzzling, money pit cars whose doors are falling off. If you can afford it, I’m all for getting good quality used cars — something we’re hoping to save up for in the not-too-distant future. In the mean time, though, my husband’s still driving Old Blue Van.