Don’t Judge My Porsche by Its Cover

(Guest Post by Meg from Cars X Girl)

Hi, my name is Meg and I’m addicted to cars.

No, really, I am. Cars are my passion, and the priority my husband and I share. We talk about them, look at pictures, discuss them and think about them basically 24/7/365. I joke that I basically work just so we can afford more car stuff and it even infiltrates our travel plans when we don’t mean for it to.

So it’s no surprise that I have dreams to own cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. That’s a ways away for me yet, though. However, I recently hit a huge milestone in my car journey — I joined the ranks of Porsche owners.

More specifically, I bought a 1984 Porsche 911. At the age of 24. In cash. (That’s her up top)

The how really isn’t that complicated: my husband and I both made it our priority. We started by selling two older project cars, which kick started the savings. My husband, who is active duty Air Force, deployed for four months to help with the savings. Oh, and I’ve also been eating ramen noodles every day for lunch since September… But that I’ve actually come to like, thanks to Sriracha. ;)

It took us almost a year exactly from the sale of the first car (with the intention of buying a 911) to buying the 911, and I was groomed the entire time by our local Porsche Club of America chapter who helped me narrow everything down and test drive different cars so I knew what to look for. And she landed right in the middle of my budget! We paid $23,750 for her. :) Not including taxes, license & registration, or the inspection we had done on her.  She’s a 1984 with 111,6XX miles, and we’re the third owners since new. We have complete records for her over the past 30 years including the original purchase documents and shipping papers for when she was shipped to the US from Germany.

It was the most cash we have ever spent on any one thing and it was totally worth it!

After covering insurance for her through a specialty company, the only expenses she adds going forward is gas (not much, since she’s only driven on nice days for events) and the very short list of things to replace like her fan belt ($20 shipped for an OEM belt) and engine compartment padding (~$60). This is why we wanted to pay for her in cash — We own her now, free & clear, and it hasn’t added anything more to our monthly expenses. (We do have one car loan and student loans we are paying off, so I didn’t want another monthly bill.)

And while it may have been a smarter financial move to use the money to pay off debt and then save for the car, I’m much happier this way. Now I can tackle that with a new vigor — You see, continuing to cut back doesn’t bother me as much. I don’t even have to drive my car, I can go out to the garage and get a huge smile just seeing her. I consider this to be a part of money psychology for me…. As well as a case of wanting to do it while I can enjoy her because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone.

I can already relate to the author of that email J shared the other day on “being lucky and rich,” and not just because of the 911. Our other cars are a 2001 Honda S2000 (owned, and our track car) and a 2008 BMW 335xi (not quite fully ours). As I mentioned, though, they’re our priority. We don’t go out to eat much, our house is sparsely decorated, and we both work with the same end goals in mind. It just so happens that when people see our cars they don’t see all the sacrificing that goes behind them. We aren’t rich, we’re just dedicated. And for our military life, I’d rather have my cars than a house because I can take them with me.

I don’t share all this with you because its impressive or anything (I still don’t see it that way — likely because of the work that went on to get to this point), but because there seems to be hostility towards cars that others perceive as expensive. Honestly, there’s NO way I could afford a brand new Porsche 911, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t afford any 911. I did my research, put in a lot of work, and with a bit of luck came out with a car I couldn’t be happier with.

What are you working hard for right now?

Meg is a car enthusiast and Porschephile who wants to get into track racing & car collecting. She was the 2009 Rookie of the Year in her old SCCA region, has driven a Ferrari 458 Italia on a track & is building her S2000 into a street driven race car. She shares her car life at in an effort to show that some girls play with cars just as well as the guys do. (While still being able to rock heels & a manicure just as well as any girly girl.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oddly enough I blogged about what owning a Porsche meant back in August of 2008, and then almost exactly one year later was super tempted to buy one :) I didn’t, unfortunately, but perhaps one day I’ll be joining Meg in her pen15 Porschephile club too!

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  1. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle March 14, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    I am twice your age Meg and clearing debt so I can start preparing for retirement is the focus of my entire life.

    I have a car savings account because I want to pay cash for the next gently used boring yet reliable vehicle that I purchase.

  2. William Cowie March 14, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    If something is important for you, the sacrifice to get it counts as nothing. I was there once, and owned a car that (to quote an old musical) was the envy of all I surveyed. My priorities changed, but the principle is still universal: if you really want something, no price is too high to get it.

  3. Greg@ClubThrifty March 14, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    I’m not a car fan myself, but I’m glad that you were able to get what you wanted in cash. Once we get out of debt, we will be able to spend more on our wants as well.

  4. Brian March 14, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    I’m friends with some real gear heads and because of this have gotten to drive some cars I had no business driving. To me it is alot like being friends with the guy with the boat. It’s great because you get to use it sometimes and enjoy it, but you don’t have to deal with the headache (or cost) of maintaining it!

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      haha… I like friends like that too :) less stuff taking up physical AND mental space!

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules March 14, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    That’s awesome you were able to pay cash for your car! It’s funny how when you want something really bad the sacrifice does not really “feel” like it in the end. We love to travel and cut back in other areas to be able to do that.

  6. Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies March 14, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Mr PoP is totally a car guy and was disappointed when I didn’t pick the 2001 S2000 the last time we were shopping for cars. I like cars, but am not obsessed.
    We had a deal for a while that if Mr. PoP made over a certain $-threshold income wise for two years straight he could buy an early 90’s NSX and keep it for a year. But now he seems to be lusting over Ferraris. Those’ll take a boat-load more money, and he hasn’t tried to make that deal yet =)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      I LOVE THE NSX!!!! I want it too!!!! :)

  7. Eva Smith March 14, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I totally respect all of that saving for something you’ve wanted so much! Great job!

    The part that makes me sad, and that I hope was a joke, was eating ramen noodles every day for lunch. That sounded really tragic and I hope it wasn’t true. Risking your health for a goal doesn’t seem like it is ever a good idea. Just like eating ramen every day is never a good idea, no matter how healthy the rest of your choices are. You will be paying with your money AND your health for that decision later on!

  8. Michelle March 14, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    LOVE your car! My fiance used to have the same one but ended up getting too many speeding tickets, so his dad took it away. Oh boy do I remember those days :)

    We are big car enthusiasts as well. We figure since we don’t want or have kids yet, that we might as well have these cars now because they won’t be realistic later.

    And I can honestly say that. We are in the process of buying a Camaro 2SS :)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      haha… I’d probably get a ton of tickets too with that car, but only by accident. Sometimes you can’t tell how fast you’re going when it’s nice and slick! I speed all the time in my Caddy cuz it always feels like I’m going much slower but the reality is not inline ;)

  9. Johnny Moneyseed March 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I think that car is amazing and your story was pretty awesome itself. Until I read the line that said “And while it may have been a smarter financial move to use the money to pay off debt and then save for the car.” If you saved money so well, why wouldn’t you pay off debt first?

  10. Grayson @ Debt Roundup March 14, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I love cars as well. I am a Jeep addict and have a project car in my garage right now. If you worked for it and it is paid for, then I think good for you. Keep enjoying your car. I wrote on Monday about focusing too much on money and not enough on enjoyment. This goes right along with it.

  11. Dianne @ Skinny Seahorse March 14, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Love the enthusiasm and happiness conveyed in her writing. Prioritizing your dreams and then being able to meet them is such an rewarding experience.

  12. Leah March 14, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I love this. I get so mad when people genuinely want a big ticket item, but guilt themselves into following “traditional” wisdom and not having it. Big weddings, fancy cars, fine art, a big city apartment (vs. say, a “safe” suburban house). We should be encouraged to have all the things we really truly want–and work our asses off for them!

    KUDOS to you!

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      “We should be encouraged to have all the things we really truly want–and work our asses off for them! ” – YES! AGREED!!

  13. Kevin @ RewardBoost March 14, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I just wrote a post today about how I just turned in my 2010 Toyota Camry lease and how I never want a nice car again. I would rather have door dings, scratches, or other minor cosmetic damage because I don’t want to feel like I have to fix that stuff when it happens. Maybe I need an old beat up truck or something!

    I’m saving for my wedding, which will cost about $20,000. That means I’m saving $700 out of every 2 week paycheck. It’s gonna be the best night of our lives, but also the most expensive.

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      That’s my problem too with new cars – always paranoid of it getting all beat up :( so usually i go back and forth between a nice car and a beater car getting pros and cons to both sides as the years go by, haha… and currently I’m ready to turn in my Caddy for a more Pimper ride ;)

  14. Samantha March 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I think you did a great job in saving and paying cash for thing in your life that is the highest priority for you.

    HOWEVER… I was super sad when you said you guys are still in debt. Whats the motivation to pay off your debt now? None. How good would it have felt to pay off your debt first and then as a reward get yourself an amazing porsche with no guilty feelings, strings attached, or that caveat you made that it *might* have been smarter to pay off debt first. Of course it would have been smarter. And you know that.

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      I think I agree w/ Meg actually – easier to concentrate on debt now that you have your favorite thing in the world. Which you can enjoy at the same time as paying off debt.

      But no right or wrong way to do it – only the one that works best for you :)

  15. Matt @ My Coin Blog March 14, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I’m working for that perfect coin to add to my collection :)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Ooooh and which is it, good sir?? I want to know!

  16. Financial Black Sheep March 14, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Meg, super cool you picked a Porche 911 that was my dream car for all of my early adulthood. I gave it up when I decided school and a place to live was priority. I then got hooked on my Jeep, but have since given that up too for bigger things.

    I don’t think it is wrong at all that you own a 911 or any car for that matter. What is important is what you want. I worked on getting out of debt so I could relax, finish school and have a big savings. That way I can do what I want later. Same thing as you, just different formula :)

  17. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce March 14, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Beautiful car, and a great story! I’m sure you will enjoy your full ownership of it!

  18. Retire By 40 March 14, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Enjoy your Porsche. Looks great! I assume since you guys are car nuts, you are doing most of your own repair and maintenance. I think that’s the biggest problem with owning expensive cars. It’s just too expensive to take it to a shop.

  19. Nick @ March 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Cool car! I commend you on paying cash for it. I definitely think you should pay off all of your debt though, that will allow you to save for cars more quickly and give you greater piece of mind.

  20. Carol March 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    I LOVE your car! Great that you got the car you always wanted and paid cash. Good lesson in budgeting to get something that’s really important to you.

  21. Meg March 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Okay, let me see if I can knock out some responses here…. Not used to dealing with this many comments!

    @Jane, I hate to say it but boring cars I can’t do haha. I dream of living in an itty bitty box and having a huge garage…. Haha.

    @William that’s very true. I knew going in I had to not get too caught up in the price but at the same time get a really good example of a car. I’m happy we managed to do just that, I think.

    @Greg Dreams are only as good as the work we put towards them, no matter what they are, no?

    @Brian The first Porsche, and Porsche 911, I ever drove was the brand new 991 Carrera, a 2012 last year. Can I afford that? No! But they let me drive her anyways. (I had been hanging around the dealership with the club for about a year, so I wasn’t any stranger. But they still didn’t have to!) I always say I want a friend with a yacht, so I can get that experience without paying for it. :)

    @John It really doesn’t! Which is a good thing for me, otherwise I might not want to save for something so big ever again…. Haha.

    @Mrs PoP I think my S2000 is probably the best car we’ve ever bought…. (Don’t tell the others, please!) In the six years with that car, she’s only been down & out due to body work after an accident and half a day on her routine valve adjustment. And one clutch job right when we got her. Great car, basically. ;) Warn Mr. PoP that the problem with Ferraris is that once you scratch the itch (by getting one), the itch gets worse…. (My friend just bought his first vintage Ferrari last year and is already lusting after another!)

    @Eva For the most part, I actually do. Not to save money, more because I like it and cheap is a bonus. I don’t drink the broth to avoid most of the sodium. I’m not the first kid to do this, though its probably crazy to do it for this long voluntarily to most.

    @Michelle Woohoo! Early congrats on the Camaro! :D People joked with me that for some, 911s end up as “bookends” to life — some get one before kids, sell it after they have kids and buy one again after the kids are grown. (Personally, I’d rather just keep mine the whole time… But that’s me. Haha.)

    @Johnny It’s hard to explain. Part of it is because of what it is (student loans) and that I’m sour that I went to school in the first place. Basically, I didn’t want it to dominate my life for my first decade of adulthood like a nasty black cloud. Now, knowing what I can do, I can tackle the monster and not feel miserable doing so. (Definitely a psychology over money move.)

    @Grayson It’s always nice to know those with the car disease don’t suffer alone… ;) I definitely agree, one shouldn’t focus too much on the numbers and how and forget the why or to actually live.

    @Diane Thank you for the kind words. :) I hope everyone gets to experience the happiness & excitement of achieving a dream at some point.

    @Leah Thank you!! I definitely agree. :)

    @Kevin The best part about my 911 is the nearly foot long scratch in her driver’s side fender. I actually LOVE it, and the rock chips. Why? Because I’m not afraid to take her out & drive her. We had one new car & the first door ding was gut wrenching… I don’t ever want a new car because of that. (I have a feeling we will get another at some point though, sigh.)

    @Samantha Smarter, yes. Preserving my mental well being, definitely no. I’m motivated for my freedom, my job is here only as long as the government lets us stay, and then I’m on the hunt again. I’d rather not have to worry about covering bills when that comes. Now, instead of being miserable that I can’t buy whatever I please so I can pay it off, I have something I can enjoy that doesn’t tie up any more money than the basics. As I mentioned in another reply, definitely psychology over money.

    @Matt A very worthy pursuit, if I do say so myself. ;) (As a non-coin collector, as well.)

    @Financial Black Sheep In the end, what matters is how you feel about it and what works for you. :) People can tell you how to live your life, np but you’re the only one who has to live it in the end.

    @Tony Bring on summer!!!! :)

    @Retire By 40 Yes, actually. :) We bought this specific generation in part due to the “bullet proof” engine, and another part because we can pretty much do all of the work ourselves. The fan belt that needs replacing, we can do. Oil changes we can do, and we’ll learn how to do her valve guide adjustment when that comes up. (Which is really the only major maintenance that’s needed regularly, every 15,000 miles.) We also have a great mechanic here if we need him, which is nice just in case!

  22. Meg March 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    @Nick That’s the plan! :) Only now, I can throw myself into it without worrying that I’m feeling too responsible and neglecting to live. One of my favorite inspiring quotes, “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.”

    @Carol Thank you! :) There’s no telling what someone can accomplish if they really put their mind to it. (And aren’t afraid of some hard work.)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Thanks again, my friend! And for responding to everyone’s comments – mighty kind of you :) And CONGRATS again on that sexy ass car!! So freakin’ cool – I admire you for going out there and just DOING IT.

  23. Tiffany @ Extraordinary Reasons March 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Hey Meg! I’m the original author of the “so lucky and rich” e-mail/post that J so lovingly featured :-)

    So, I was totally excited to read this post because I, too, am a HUGE Porsche enthusiast. When guys I know find out about my love for cars, they’re usually shocked because it’s something so unstereotypically female. I love cars but there is something about the Porsche’s deep-throated rumble that just makes me giddy. Congrats on your buy! I dream about one constantly but haven’t taken steps to make it a reality yet, mostly given that I still live on a college campus surrounded with students and it would kill me to leave it outside, with no shelter, among students’ cars that they don’t really care about. My roommate’s car got a huge dent the other month and of course, nobody left a note or anything so I’m even worried about my current car right now which is about a million steps down from a Porsche, haha. But one day, I will make it a reality!

    That’s another point, though… you can get what you want yet still be “smart” about it. I have an iPhone, but I waited until the 5 came out and they discounted the 4 to $0.99 with a plan. Plus, I get an AT&T discount through my employer so that’s kind of double savings right there. You bought a Porsche, yes, but you got one pre-owned with cash – so you’re not “behind”. And hopefully, the habits you’ve cultivated to put aside money for that Porsche are still so ingrained that you will still continue putting money away – money you can throw at your debt and other things. You can re-direct that money to keep making your life better. In that way, I think that Porsche might be doing you a huge favor :-)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      I didn’t know you were a Porsche lover! Very cool!

  24. Edward Antrobus March 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Are you the Meg that used to comment on Untemplater three years ago?

  25. My Financial Independence Journey March 14, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    It sounds like you’re very into cars. Reading your bio sketch at the bottom further confirms that. Certainly, buying a Porsche or any other depreciating asset is something that I try to avoid doing, but given how happy it seems to make you it seems okay in your case.

  26. Meg March 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    @Tiffany NO WAY! Haha. Let me guess, you live like a million miles away from where I do… :( Ha. The rumble of the flat six is definitely one of my favorite parts, especially on these classic air-cooled cars. It’s heaven, haha, and way better than the Subaru boxer we had. (An STi we traded for our BMW.) This was probably YEARS in the making, lots of learning and figuring out exactly what I wanted, which luckily lined up with the market. I think in another six months I couldn’t afford one any more. I have no doubt you can get one, knowing they’re obtainable is pretty much the first step. :) (And yup, now I get to tackle other big things seeing what I can do when I’m really motivated…. And not feel miserable!)

    @Edward That was likely me, yes. :)

    @My Financial Independence Journey Yes, and I lovingly call it my disease ha. Classic cars are a funny thing, though, in that they are and aren’t depreciating assets. This one is quite a gem, and while not perfect or extremely low miles she should hold her value quite well. In just the year I’ve been carefully watching the market this generation has gone up significantly. In no way was she any kind of investment, though, other than one in happiness & life experiences.

  27. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets March 14, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I’m a car-thusiast as well. But I do have a few priorities in front of cars that have taken up all my income (namely house for my family, and kid). But my wife and I were just chatting about this. I drive a LOT for my two jobs, and I want to be in something I enjoy. I won’t go into debt for it, and I won’t spend over $5,000. I currently have a mid-90’s civic, and my idea was to replace it with another mid-90’s civic, but this time a 5-speed EX with sunroof, and I will turbo it.

    That way I get good fuel economy, the total cost under $5,000 (about $4,500 after everything), plus 225whp in a 2,000 lb. car to tear around town in :)

    Someday I’ll have an ’06 WRX Limited Wagon, but for now, and quick 4-door will do the trick. :)

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Totally agree if you’re in a car for so long like that – you gotta enjoy that! I couldn’t cap it at $5,000 myself, but more power to you for doing so :)

      1. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets March 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        $5k is the most I can stomach spending on a car….probably ever. Mostly because they drop in value like Facebook stock….and I’m happy to let someone else eat that depreciation for me :)

  28. Mike Carlson March 14, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    It is a good thing that you and your husband have the same priorities. You can truly reach your goals since you have the same thing running in mind.

  29. stephanie March 14, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    I’m glad you are so happy with your CASH purchase. I’m not as hooked on cars as you, but I know what I like and I have no problems chatting about cars with anyone. I don’t like my current drive, but it works well for my needs.

    I, as others have already commented, wondered about you not paying your debt but after your responses, I think I get what you are saying. I wish you many happy miles, and memories, with your car. rumble and purr girl!

  30. The Happy Homeowner March 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    I have my eyes on a Porsche some day! I just bought a 2013 BMW though, so I should hold off on the Porsche savings fund for a bit…

    1. J. Money March 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      yes! you stop thinking about cars for the moment – you just got your perfect car! ;)

  31. @pfinMario March 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Cash isn’t free. The time value of money doesn’t disappear just because all the imputed costs come before the purchase rather than after. And having owned a sports car in my youth, I know the cost isn’t in the financing so much as it is in the maintenance, the repairs, and the time… oh the time I spent on that beautiful beast!

    But none of that really matters. Money is meant to be spent, after all. Congrats on your purchase :)

  32. Shafi March 17, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    We are debt free. We pay all our bills every month in full and before the due date.

  33. 30kto30million March 17, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Very cool and inspiring!! Awesome Porsche!! i have one on my bucket list!