Drive around town and you will likely notice that people love to love their cars. On any given day as you drive around town, you will see new cars rolling through almost every stop light, and parked down rows of every store.
Depending on the area in which you live, you might even find quite a few new and costly cars in the high school parking lot…
I’ll be honest & tell you that one of the best ways to save money is by NOT having a car payment.
While we do have a few friends that pay upwards of $900 in car payments each month, we have always tried our best to avoid taking that route. It’s an incredible feeling when you can kick that car payment to the curb and pay cash for your vehicles.
For most people, a car payment seems like a way of life – but let me encourage you… not having an car payment is an even BETTER way of life.
- Do we have a brand new car? — NO
- Do we drive a reliable and paid for car? — YES
In fact, we have 4 cars sitting on the driveway at any given point in time.. they are all pretty used.
Believe it or not, a car payment is not something that is required – we just hit 253,000 miles on our GMC, and it has done amazing – it tows cars, drives us cross country pulling heavy vehicles, and spits out unbelievably cold A/C in the summer.
We certainly do have upkeep – but what car doesn’t? Whether new or used, every car needs regular maintenance – that goes without saying. When you have a used car, however, that maintenance becomes critical in order to help keep that car running fabulous.
Pay off what you Currently Drive
Looking back in our 17 years of marriage, we had one car payment ~ and that payment on a certified used car for just over a year before we quickly paid it off. Over that 13 months, every bit of extra we had we added money to our payment each month and paid off the car quickly so we could accelerate our savings.
If you can find ways to cut your budget in order to apply extra monies towards your payment, do it. Make a habit of applying an extra hundred or two a month to pay off what you drive.
Once Paid, Keep Saving
Once our car was paid, we then continued to make that payment to ourselves by writing a check to our savings account. During that time, we remained content and continued to drive that vehicle. Before we knew it, we had over $7,000 put away in just two years.
Be Satisfied Driving it Once it’s Paid Off
It’s difficult for many to avoid a car loan… because it means letting go of the need to drive the most latest and greatest vehicle. A car is nothing but a tool to get from point A to point B – it’s not worth being a slave in debt over. I like to say it’s being content. That is hard.. because contentment can pertain to more than just a car payment.
Part of not having a car payment requires you to be satisfied driving your car once it’s paid. Sure.. it might be hard to watch the new cars drive by… but there are some really fun and reliable used cars that are affordable… to find something within your means you may need to lower your expectations.
What makes a used car fun is that you can drive around knowing you aren’t up to your ears in payments (not to mention… your registration is lower too!)
Opt for a Used Vehicle
Can you sell your car & pick up a used vehicle? If you can, then give that a shot – what usually happens with many is that combined with depreciation and a long term loan, most people are unable to get what they would like to be able to and pay off their loan. If you can sell it, there are plenty of reliable, certified used cars out there that are dependable that won’t break the bank.
When you have a new car, you still need to do regular upkeep and it can get expensive. Sure .. you may have a warranty, but don’t forget that you are still making an expensive car payment – how long will your brand new car be repair free? Usually around 2 – 3 years, then you will likely get tired and end up trading it for a new one.
Unless you really get stuck with a lemon of a car, keeping an older car is much less in cost than paying a car payment on a new car… if you are willing to make the sacrifice and drive used, the opportunity to save is incredible.
(We bought our GMC 14 years used almost 7 years ago, with 150,000 miles, and it runs like a champ – it now has 253K miles, it has driven us cross country, and even towed vehicles 3,000 miles ~ like any vehicle, it requires regular upkeep, but with 7 of us who rely on on a car daily, it has been amazing.
There are vehicles out there that are dependable and safe – it’s a matter of being willing to step out of your comfort zone – what you can give up in some areas will help better yourself in others!)