The biggest boost in my financial journey was when I stopped having car payments. In 2014 I financed a 2006 Infiniti G35x w/ 100k miles. I bought this car out of desperation.. and because it looked good! Not my smartest move. I loved it but a financed car didn’t mean it came without mechanical issues. I was constantly bringing this car to the shop while also trying to pay off the loan as quickly as possible. It definitely drained my pockets. This car costed me $400/monthly, plus its constant fixes. A couple months after I paid it off (a year early), it got totaled. Go figure! I was actually relieved that it got totaled because of all the issues it gave me throughout the years.
With the check I received, I bought my current 2005 Toyata Prius w/ 130k miles in full and only spent half of what I got in return for my Infiniti. (This allowed me to go on my first international vacation!) It was $3,400 and about $300 to register it. This was the best financial decision I ever made thanks to an old co-worker of mine. He recommended it since it’s a very reliable hybrid car that would save me money on gas with little mechanical problems. Two years later, my 14 year old baby is still running strong and it hasn’t given me any problems since date of purchase. Sure I ain’t rolling in some eye catching whip. But my financial freedom is far more important than a nice looking vehicle! I’d rather do what I can to build my wealth now to eventually be able to get a better car in the future without all the financial guilt. (I will probably keep this Prius until it stops running, though!)
Car notes range from $200-$400/month or more. This is typically the largest bill after rent/mortgage. It’s kind of insane to think about. We can do so much with this amount of money. We can invest it, go on multiple vacations, or save it instead. The best part of this decision is knowing that even though I suddenly lost my full-time job, I don’t have to worry about a car payment without an income. I don’t need to worry about getting a car repo’d d/t unemployment and I have ease of mind knowing my car is in great condition.
We all need a reliable car to drive to work and everywhere else. But we can control what kind of car we get and how much we purchase it for. Are you willing to downgrade your vehicle in order to build wealth?