Conversation with my gear head friend:
Him: You make HOW much money per year??
Me: this much (hint: $$$).
Him: OMG! I could have the sweetest car ever if I made that much! Why don't you get rid of your old car and get a new one??
The simple answer is, I don't need a new car. But, it really goes much deeper than that. My metal chariot is a 2005 Pontiac Vibe. His name is Levi (yes, I name pretty much everything. His name is Levi because he's the color of blue jeans. Get it. Blue jeans. Levi Strauss. Ok, you get it. I have a lame sense of humor. Yes, I'm aware of this).
1. Levi is paid off. I had to get Levi in college when a deer utterly destroyed my first car, a 2002 Dodge Neon. At the time, I had just gotten a bonus from the military. Combine that with the insurance check, some savings, and some kick ass haggling and I ended up handing the dealership a personal check. No car payments for me and I LOVE IT. It's also useful when money gets a bit tight (like, say, if your company is tardy in providing relocation benefits and you have to pay 2 months rent before your first paycheck. Hypothetically.) I know I'm going to have to tighten my wallet when I move and not having a car payment is one less worry on my plate.
2. Speaking of moving, my new state of residence has a funky way of calculating the payment for plates and renewal stickers. My current state charges a flat fee for your sticker depending on the kind of plate you have (mine is currently $100 due to military plates. Woot woot!). My new state takes the year of your car and how much it weighs into consideration. Since my car is 10 years old, I'll pay the lowest rate at .50% of the list price plus $.40 per lb. Levi is also incredibly light, so that shouldn't be too high. (Good for fees, terrible for driving on windy days next to semi trucks). Compare that with the fees for a newer Honda Accord and it adds up over the years.
3. Great gas mileage. Levi gets roughly 29/30 mpg. It depends on if I'm driving Ms. Daisy down the interstate, or aggressively maneuvering around idiots in town. I say one thing, my driving record says another. But lets not talk about that. In combination with the incredible amount of cargo space, Levi makes Mr. Money Mustache's list of Top 10 Cars For Smart People! I don't know where he's getting his number of 37 mpg though. I wish….
4. He's easy to repair. So easy a caveman can do it! And by caveman, I mean me. For all intents and purposes, I might as well be a caveman. (cavewoman??) 18 months ago, I could barely tell you how to change the oil. Now, I can not only tell you how to change it, I can also repair all kinds of other parts! I've replaced the intake manifold gasket, most of the sensors, the air filter and one of the headlights. This has cost me roughly $200 and a growler of beer to the friend helping me learn. Google is a wonderful resource. Without it, I never would've attempted the fix by myself. Although I will enlist my friend's dad to help me replace the speakers in the front doors. One of them went out last week and it looks more complicated than I want to deal with. (He's seriously the best!)
5. Did I mention I'm moving? I'm relocating to a new location for work. I picked out a place only 1.5 miles from the office. I will be walking or riding my bike to work every day. This means poor Levi will be sitting outside in the parking lot of my apartment complex just about 24/7. I feel bad enough leaving him outside all the time. Imagine the guilt I'd have if I bought a brand new car and then let it sit the whole time. What a waste! Plus, living in the Midwest means I have to contend with small, inconsequential things like tornadoes, heavy winds and hail. If I got a new car, I'd be tempted to rent a garage and I do not have a spare $70 per month for that. This is definitely the case of “if you give a mouse a muffin” logic and I'm making the conscience decision to say NO to it all.
Now, all of these are sound reasons to keep my car. Do I think a new car would be the bee's knees? Absolutely. Who wouldn't want a brand new car? But unless someone would like to gift me a new Honda Accord (I'd like it in red with the Bluetooth option, in case you're willing), I'm not paying for a new car right now. It just doesn't make sense (or cents! haha) for me to get rid of my practical, efficient, zippy little car.
How long are you keeping your car?