So whatever you have to offer, I'd really appreciate it!
You may know I was in a car accident last week (read more here) and now I find myself in need of a new car (either new or new-to-me). I find that I cannot decide which is the best option: emotionally, safety, financially, etc... I was 5 payments from being without a car payment! I was going to be done in February - after 4 1/2 grueling years of payments that were sometimes a stretch to make, I was going to hold the title in my hand of my little trustworthy car! Now I find myself car-less, well, besides the rental; which is nice, but not mine of course. So I need to purchase a new one - normal people wouldn't have any issue with this - they'd be excited about purchasing a new car. But as you probably know, I am the queen of the 'what if' game, and I'm just confused, irritated, and distressed about the whole affair. I want my car back! I kind of want a new car - but that's just a little selfish of me. It's also a little bit about being OCD regarding safety. My new car MUST, without a shadow of a doubt, protect me in the same way that my old car did. I drive that route every single day, make that same left turn every time I travel, and cannot do anything safer than what I did when she hit me. If and/or when it happens again in that same spot, the new car has to be ready to save my life again So, what's a gal to do?
I can see the benefits of both options.
If I buy New - a 2013, never driven off the lot, car:
1. I won't have any repairs that need to be done for probably 5 years - until 60K when I had to replace the Timing Belt on my last Hyundai. I would have regular maintenance - like oil changes, the 15K, 30K, 45K, 60K check-ups, but nothing else for almost 4 or 5 years.
2. I'd be able to buy a new car with some great features besides safety (which is a no brainer) - for instance blue tooth for my phone, which is nice to have that safety feature and be able to speak on the phone.
3. Who knows how many times in my life I will have this opportunity.
Negatives - I'll have a car payment I can't get out of for at least 3 years, my insurance cost will probably go up, my tax bill will increase, and my dream of being 'debt-free' is on hold. I can't use that extra money each month for paying down student loan debt.
If I buy Used - a 2010 or 2011 with 50k:
1. I will have a shorter payment time - a loan I can probably pay off in less than 3 years.
2. I'd have the same safety features that I would have as new - the model is the same as I had before, looks the same, has the same safety rating, etc...
3. I could be done paying off my car potentially 2 years from today.
Negatives - I could have more repairs - for instance a Timing Belt - which I had to replace on my Hyundai at 60k last time - and the other things that go along with a car that isn't brand new in addition to the regular oil changes. Because I'd have to take at least $5k out in a loan, I'd have to still pay for about 2 or 3 years - depending on how big of a chunk I used the money from the insurance. I could also use savings to pay the remaining and finance nothing - and then take that $220 a month I already spend on my car and put it into savings and/or my student loans and pay them down faster - that was going to be my plan in February anyway.
Another piece of information I'd like to put on the table is 'what are my goals?' - Financial, Career Wise, Vocation, etc...
I was considering - and still am - going to visit Fr. Emmanuel for many 2 or 3 weeks this year - what does taking on a car payment do for that? What if I wanted to go there for longer? When my car was going to be paid off in February, that wasn't an obstacle - now it could be. Do I even want to go there for longer? I really don't know - I do feel like I need to do something that makes a difference in the world though - I can do that in Charlotte, or at least the US.
If in three years I get married, we have kids, and I have to work so we can pay off my debt - I'm going to be unhappy. I don't want debt to be a hindrance - but I also can't plan for something that doesn't seem to be happening right now. Then in three years, I'll be upset with the car I have and all of the repairs I have to spend money on and even more frustrated that I am still single.
I just don't want to regret purchasing a cheaper car when repairs come and I could have purchased new OR purchase new when I could have been payment free much earlier. Which is the bigger regret? That's the question of the day or the week it seems...