Better choices today for a better life tomorrow

We finally did something today that we’ve been wanting to do for quite a long time. We sold the car.

One of Dave Ramsey’s most often quoted phrases is “Sell the car.”Dave Ramsey believes, and I agree, that your car is often one of the biggest financial disasters that seemingly everyone falls for. We have this mistaken notion that we will always have a car payment. Well, sure, if you choose to live that way.

In a lot of ways, your automobile is more representative of your financial standing than you might realize, and contrary to popular belief, the common assumption is probably reversed. The nicer the car you drive, more often than not, the more precarious your financial situation. Let me explain:

Three of our friends are incredible car examples: Jeff and Nosurfgirl, Laurel, and Sarah and Ammon. And they all have one quality in common that I deeply admire; to a person, they all drive paid for cars and also pay for them in cash. And while you certainly will never see their cars in car shows, they are all, for the most part, solid cars with solid reputations that they’ve driven for many years.

On the other hand, there is me and Courtney. I love cars. I like nice cars. Let me emphasize that… I like nice cars. I used to justify the nice cars because I drove so far for work, but then it occured to me that I was driving a $30,000 Lay-Z-Boy which, in the grand scheme of things, I only spent, at most, about 10 hours a week sitting in. Even worse, that $30,000 Lay-Z-Boy was losing money faster than I could count. We bought the car 18 months ago, and honestly got a good deal (about $21,000) for a basically new car. We sold it today for $9,500. So, in the last 18 months, we basically “spent” $638.89 a month to drive that car. That’s roughly $160 a week. And that’s an average that, give or take a bit, everyone who buys a new car pays, especially if you lease or finance.

In the meantime, each of our three friends have continued to drive the same car with the exception of Sarah and Ammon (their car finally gave up the ghost, and believe me when I tell you they got every penny out of it). True, Jeff and Nosurfgirl admitted to me that they spend about $500 every three months on repairs, but still… I paid roughly $638.89 a month, while they paid about $167.00.

Who got the better deal?

So today, we proudly joined the ranks of people who pay cash for their cars and buy used, but nice, reliable vehicles. We took the money we got and bought a Ford Taurus Wagon. And believe me when I say I’m feeling it. I went from a luxury car to a station wagon…. But the fact that I still have $2,500 left over sitting in my pocket makes that all bearable. Completely.

Besides, we’re making better choices today so that we can have a better life tomorrow. And really… Would everyone that was impressed that we drove a luxury car please raise their hands…. No one?…

That’s what I thought.

Thanks for the great examples out there!

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5 Responses to Better choices today for a better life tomorrow

  1. I totally agree. Both cars and all 4 motorcycles I’ve owned in my life I bought with cash cash, and they have all been “previously owned” which saved me money. I’ve actually never financed anything before so I can’t accurately compare the difference, but I do like the feeling of driving a vehicle that is completely mine. And also knowing that I’m owning that vehicle in as cheap a manner as I can manage. In fact, believe it or not, I’ve sold all my motorcycles for more than I bought them for!

  2. nosurfgirl says:

    You guys are awesome. I’m completely amazed at your faith, and have a deep respect for your introspectiveness and desire to become better in every way.

    You’ll have to come show off your station wagon 🙂

  3. daveloveless says:

    I don’t know that I can “show off” a station wagon. I mean… it’s a station wagon.

    For what it’s worth, it’s a good car, and that, more than anything, is all that really matters.

    Thanks for the comment, Anthony. And just for the record, don’t even bother “living the other side.” It’s much better over here.

  4. Sarah Bailey says:

    Aww, Dave. Station wagons are great. Honestly my dream cars are hatchbacks and a wagon. My MIL replaced her Mazda 5 with Mazda 3 last week and boy is Ammon jealous (he loved the 5 and would have gotten a 3 if we could have).

    Just think of the versatility, man. I mean, we were able to get our dressers and bookshelves in the back of the Golf (I’m gonna miss that thing during this year’s garage sale season). Imagine what you can manage with a wagon!

    I do have a question though. Didn’t you pay the car off? I thought you didn’t have to sell the car if you paid it off. Sheeze, just when I thought I was ‘getting’ Mr. Ramsey.

  5. daveloveless says:

    When I was little, my dream car was actually a station wagon, and to be flat out honest, I do like the car. It’s just fun to play the martyr.

    Oh, and yes, we did pay the car off, and yes, that is the end goal for cars with Dave Ramsey. We decided to sell it because we could get enough out of it to pay cash for the next car PLUS get enough to pay off our furnace disaster that we had a few months back. I guess I didn’t blog about that, but we basically lost both the furnace and the water heater in 24 hours, and it caught us by complete surprise. Selling the car allowed us to get a really good station wagon that better fit our needs and pay that off. Good trade.

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