Most people are surprised when they learn my wife drives a 2000 Toyota Solara. She loves Pearl (nickname due to its color) because that was the first car she purchased (i.e., financed) on her own. Pearl was purchased in 1999 and she was fully loaded.
As you can imagine, after 18 years and 245,000 miles, Pearl has a few small rust spots on her hood. She also has a small dent on the driver’s side rear fender since Lesia hit a pole in a parking lot (you know those poles that are near the machine where you pay to exit). When it first happened, there was a long yellow streak on the door, but I was able to buff it out (hoping this would delay a new car purchase). Recently, after attending a Brian Culbertson concert Lesia was playing his latest music very loud on the way home and burst her passenger’s side front speaker. I wonder if she did this on purpose because her next comment was, “I really need a new car.”
A few months ago, Lesia began talking about getting a new car. You know that feeling you get when you you’re about to rip a bandage off your skin…that’s how I felt. LOL! I immediately started mentally preparing myself to part ways with a sizeable amount of cash. After all, Lesia has been my ride or die throughout this debt-free living journey so a new car was reasonable considering all the sacrifices we’ve made over the years. To me, a car is nothing more than a piece of metal that transports Lesia and I from Point A to Point B. I tend to think of them as machines that break down and depreciate.
To my surprise, I learned Lesia had grown quite fond of the Lexus RC300 F Sport Coupe (white of course). She had also visited the Lexus website to build her car. In my mind, all I could hear was the sound cash registers used to make back in the day, before purchases were made by swipe.
Although Lesia seemed settled on a Lexus, she looked at the price of other brands. During this process, I didn’t say much because I already had a number in mind regarding the amount of money that was about to leave the Riddick household. To my surprise, Lesia turned to me a few days ago and said, “I can’t believe how expensive cars are these days.” She then stated, “I don’t want a new car. I’m going to go with something used.” All the while, I’m getting more and more excited. Then Lesia said those words that almost brought tears to my eyes, “I think $20,000 is enough for my next car.” I wish I could find the words to express how happy that made me. I had mentally prepared myself for a $40,000 to 50,000 expense but to find out my wife is happy at $20,000 makes me ecstatic.
If you're thinking about a new car purchase, I suggest you check out Edmonds True Cost to Own (TCO) Calculator. If we had gone with the Lexus RC300, the TCO is a little more than $64,000. Ouch! What's the money lesson in all this? Plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best.