In 1997, I made a REALLY STUPID money decision: I bought a new car I couldn’t afford.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee that cost $42,000 with financing. $62,000 in today’s money at 12% interest.
That is insane.
Unlike a house,（aside from the 2008 debaucle） a car, like a mobile home, is a DEPRECIATING ASSET.
In my defense, I was barely a week home recovering from a hysterectomy at age 28. Doped up on painkillers, I was dragged to the Jeep dealer by my （now） ex. （One reason he is my ex is that he was very manipulative and I had no backbone）.
2 points were valid:
*I needed a car that could handle Houston freeways （my 1981 Corolla stick shift could do only 50mph max, so I ended up driving through many gang-infested parts of town to and from surgeon appts.）.
*I needed a car with AC. Being Sweaty Betty in a professional office would not fly. Houston summers are pretty unbearable.
The salesman didn’t help. He convinced me to do a “smart buy”-a 7 year finance plan with a balloon payment at the end. So, of course, I refinanced it to 2006. 9 years.
I had no idea there were guidelines on how much to spend on a car （15% total of take-home pay financed 3 years max. plus gas and insurance or 1/4 of your gross salary as a couple for each person）.
Dave Ramsey was recovering from bankruptcy and his radio show was in flegling status. Dave Who?
Suze Orman who?
For 8 years this damn car haunted me. Sleepless nights. Worry.
I had fantasies of it and me being totalled. Put out of my misery.
It never occured to me to SELL THE DAMN THING and buy a hoopty until I could pay off my debts.
In 2008, I bought another new jeep because that’s what “normal” people did. It was just before I filed for divorce because I could still get the family discount because of my ex-father-in-law’s connections. A bit slimy on my part, yes, but I felt owed a bit from having to deal with the spolied son.
When you owe on a car for as long as I did, you name it.
Jeep 1 was “Millenium Falcon” because she was big and had space miles on her and a “wookie” pilot whenever I had bad hair days.
I gave her to my niece and nephews for a teen’s car. They each had their turn with her and now “Slick Rick” delivers Pizza.
“Slick Rick”, worth $1,000, is now officially a hoopty.
Let’s have a look at what that first jeep REALLY cost me:
Let’s assume I paid $2,000 in cash back then for a hoopty and invested the monthly car payments of around $600/mo from 1997 until now, stopping any additions afer 9 years:
That leaves about $40,000 （ $600+/mo. ）to invest over 9 years for the first part, then another 9 after that just growing.
The math isn’t exact because I could not find car loan calculator that would calculate on such a long term.
Notice my lovely graph drawn by yours truly:
Millenium Falcon cost me almost a HALF MILLION DOLLARS?!
Today, I have driven my 2009 that I bought during the Great Recession in 2010, for 5 years. She was more than a commuter sled to me and I plan on keeping “Babybat” for another 5 until she’s a hoopty.
I don’t have to drive her much now except for errands.
She and I now have strong backbones and are officially off the racetrack and loving it.