New vs. Used Car?
Recently, my oldest grandchild turned 16. His parents surprised him by buying a used car that they are calling a “family car” and that he is calling “my car.” Amazingly, the car was owned by an older woman for 12 years and has mileage in the low 80,000 range. Wow! Now, that is the perfect used car for a 16 year old! I shudder to think how that woman would feel if she saw the inside of her formerly pristine vehicle after just a few months of my grandson’s care, though.
There is nothing quite like a new set of wheels to stroke the ego. On the flipside, though, there is nothing quite like a set of wheels in need of repair or replacement to stress the bank account! Car-related expenses remind me of taxes…they always sneak up on you, even though they happen every year!
My bottom line advice on buying a car is this: one of the most dramatic and consistent ways that lifestyle expenses can be decreased is by continuing to drive the car you currently own, or, if you buy a car, to buy a used car with cash rather than taking on a payment for a new car. I have advised all of my children in young adulthood to act as though they have a car payment even when they do not. If you can consistently make a “payment” into a car savings fund, you will have money on hand for repairs when you need it. More importantly, though, you will be able to pay cash for your cars throughout your lifetime. In doing so, you will save the interest on car payments over a lifetime. There is simply no good economic argument for buying a new car, especially if you plan to finance it.
Sometimes it is difficult to be content with reality. Paul knew that and preached about contentment in the New Testament. Should you be in a position of need regarding a car’s repair or replacement, I encourage you to lift up that need to the Lord. Some of the most dramatic answers to prayer come when we ask in faith about tangible needs. I know I have seen God move in my life in the area of automobiles several times. He promises to “supply all your need, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).
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