It’s Just a Monthly Payment!

The other day I saw a headline that said something like “The downsides of owning a beater car” and I didn’t have to read it ‘cuz of course we all know what those are. Any time you rock something old – a vehicle or otherwise – you’re bound to need to give it some tlc over the years else you’re living in frugal denial.

As fate would have it for me, however, little did I know that “over the years” would mean “over the next 24 hours” as my car would literally go up in smoke the following day, d’oh! (Guess I shouldn’t have chuckled at that article :)) Apparently a rotor was stuck/melting onto my breaks, which then caused the smoke and blow out of a tire, and a few hours later I was out $400 just like that.

Now the 20’s me would have been furious and constantly driving myself crazy thinking about all the things I could have bought for that $400 instead, but the older, more appreciative me merely needed to remind myself of a phrase I now say to get me feeling better again. Which is simply:

“It’s just a monthly payment!”

Because if there’s something worse than paying $400 for your car once in a month, it’s paying $400 TWICE in a month! And when you have car payments this is exactly what you do (give or take a $100). So anytime I need to pony up something for my car or anything else I own, I just remind myself that it’s like paying a single month’s payment again as I did for 15 years prior in my life, but a ton better since I only have to do it ONCE now vs every month, bleh.

And I remember this feeling all too well growing up playing the “upgrade” game. Starting with my first car – a Geo Tracker – at $2,000(?), then moving up to a more sportier one – Ford Mustang – at $10,000, and eventually trying out an SUV for size at $25,000 (Toyota Highlander). Every year something would come up regardless of the type or age, and every year I’d sweat bullets wondering if I’d have enough to cover it (while most other times I’d be concerned with dings and dents and all other annoyances cars also bring to the table).

Then somewhere along my journey I had my financial epiphany and realized I was a LOT happier – and less stressed – riding around a hooptie than I was a fancier, newer, car. Not only for the lack of car payments (helluva lot easier to save money when you’re not giving it away every month!), but also very much for the lack of caring about “blemishes” anymore too. Once your car reaches a certain age/look, it really doesn’t matter anymore.

I mean, look at all the character my current ride has! :)


Granted, Frankencaddy is an unusual magnet for people smashing into it and handing me over insurance checks ($2,500 to date, uh thank you), but even so having one less worry every month does wonders for your mood… And since this car cost me a whopping $3,100 when I purchased it 8 years ago, I haven’t had a payment in quite some time… Even with slapping it on my credit card ;)

Point is, when you have no car/mortgage/boat/tv/motorcycle/or any other types of loans, your range of wanting to punch a wall drastically goes down the longer you’ve been without payments. Then when something DOES finally happen, as it inevitably will, it becomes much more of an annoyance than it does a catastrophe. One of the handful of perks being good with your money gets you.

So if you’re in debt, let this help motivate you to get out of it even quicker, and if you’re not in debt, let this help make you feel BETTER about any future repairs to come.

Because while it sucks to fork over money at any time, it sucks a lot less not having to do it every single month. And since you’ve hopefully been funneling some of those savings into an emergency fund over the years, you probably have enough to cover these pesky situations too!

Who knows what our next car will be, but for now it’s ride-it-’till-it-dies while we enjoy the peace of mind… Would love to hear what y’all are driving, and why, if you feel like sharing? :)

PS: As I was typing this, a lamborghini like so pulled into the parking lot right next to me:

neon green lamborghini

I considered approaching the owner and asking what his car payments were for a “story” I was doing, but I was afraid the site’s name would give away the angle :) So instead, I just drooled away while my wallet did a happy dance in my pants! Haha… Guess he’s not too worried about losing $200,000.

[Lambo photo by Damian Morys]

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  1. Slackerjo April 18, 2016 at 6:05 AM

    I sold my 10 year old Echo in October because it needed about $1600 worth of work and there was no guarantee that once the $1600 was completed, another thing would go the next month and it would be another [insert amount x here]. Even though I paid cash for it in 2008, it was costing me about $160 a month to use it a few times a month. So I sold it to a dealer and joined the car share.

    I book the car online for an hour here or two hours there (mostly to do groceries, I live in a food desert). Some times it’s the Prius, the Matrix, or the Yaris. The most fun ride was the cube van.

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:31 AM

      I think a lot of people are starting to go down this path, and I don’t blame ’em. Ownership isn’t always as great as it sounds!

  2. Brian @DebtDiscipline April 18, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    Cars breakdowns used to stress me out too before we had a plan for our money, now like you if something breaks we just handle it. Isn’t it nice? Long live Frankencaddy!

  3. The Green Swan April 18, 2016 at 7:10 AM

    Haha, that’s funny about the Lambo. I think about cars the exact same way. When my car was getting old, a 2000 Toyota Camry, and I was having to put a bunch into it each year for repairs, I kept reminding myself that it was still cheaper than buying a new car. I’ve since upgraded the Camry, but I road it until it died. It didn’t have quite the “character” yours did, but it was starting to get some nice rust spots on it…

    The Green Swan

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:32 AM

      Tell me you named it the Green Swan too? :)

  4. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich April 18, 2016 at 7:14 AM

    I thought this post was going to be “it’s only a monthly payment” but then all the downsides to monthly payments and why you should get rid of them – although I like your positive spin. Probably way healthier. :o)

    And it totally does make me feel better about any money I funnel into keeping things I’m generally not paying for running well.

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:36 AM

      Haha yeah, that version of “it’s only a monthly payment” is like required blogging for most $$ bloggers when they start out ;)

  5. Maria April 18, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    Then again his rich daddy could have bought the green beauty as 1% of the population can! My dad always owned beat up cars so we did a lot of walking, train and bus riding in 10 degree weather in NYC. I swore then I would always own a reliable car because remember you can’t take it with you. M

  6. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers April 18, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    Great points J. I’ve never had a car payment and hope that trend continues. I currently drive a 2002 Buick Century that my father-in-law insisted on giving us because he wanted to get something else and felt bad about the ’96 Plymouth Neon that I had been driving for 6 years. It took me a while to get use to driving an old man car but now that I’m use feeling like I’m sitting on a couch every time I drive I enjoy it a lot more. My wife drives a 2010 Mazda5 that we bought for about $10,500 (after taxes and everything) with cash last year.

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:38 AM

      Yeah, boy! Couch on wheels! People would stop laughing so much at us if they were to take a spin with us :)

  7. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor April 18, 2016 at 7:36 AM

    This is our philosophy of car ownership exactly! We currently drive a 2002 Ford Focus & 2003 Taurus Wagon and honestly, I still think of the station wagon as a newer car because our last car was a 1990 Dodge Shadow. It’s so much less stressful when they get dinged up, and I believe my husband secretly enjoys some garage time when something breaks.

  8. SC April 18, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    I was just talking to my spouse about something related. I can’t understand why people drive BMWs, Audis, Lexus… etc. We have two Corollas. I understand the Lamborghini, that is just pure excess. The luxury cars are just ridiculous. You spend so much money on them, and they just sit in your garage most of the day.

    We did buy our Corollas new years ago, but we are going to drive them into the ground. (Unlike my Volkswagen that drove itself into the ground after only took three years… piece of ***t) The deal we got meant new was only very slightly more compared to a 2 year used, and then has the newer safety features. With kids that made a difference.

  9. Eric M April 18, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    Dude, I get the weirdest looks when I say exactly this same thing to people. These looks are usually accompanied by downcast eyes as they briefly realize how much money they are tossing into something that they spend less than 4% of their lives in.

    “My transmission blew up, and it cost me $2000!” Ok, 4 car payments…big deal, the car has been paid for since day 1.

    One flaw with this line of thinking is that you are measuring your position against something stupid (borrowing money for a luxury item). In other words, it keeps you from asking yourself if you really NEED this gas guzzling thing in the first place.

  10. NGNEER April 18, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    I used to own cars because my frugal parents instilled the no debt thing at an early age. Over time and lots of 35 mile one way commutes later, I figured out that the cost off gas on an older car plus maintenance resulting from all those miles didn’t make sense. I am currently leasing vehicle on which all maintenance is free and is covered by warranty for the length of the lease.I also have a high mileage lease so I will not be paying for anything extra. I have to mention that the only reason I pay a dirt cheap amount for all of this is because I work for an automotive company :).

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:44 AM

      I’ve got no problem with leasing cars! Totally get the benefits of not owning and having to maintain/etc – way to go w/ what makes most sense for you, man. Also helps with A.D.D. too if you happen to want change every few years!

  11. Jover April 18, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    Driving a paid-off 2007 BMW 525i. Lately it has been a money sink, but my goal is to drive it for about 6 more years. It’s the first car I ever bought, and in 2012 I was the third owner. I wanted to keep it for 10 years.

  12. Stefan @Mllnnlbudget April 18, 2016 at 8:26 AM

    I don’t got a car as I live in the city but I do have a bike that I use and my monthly payments and repair cost are a lot lower ;)

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      Haha, I bet! Your body loves you a lot more for that too ;)

  13. Paul April 18, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Paying off my used 2011 honda odyssey THIS MONTH. I am actually using a loan to pay it off but as a business owner I can actually loan the money to myself at the current federal rate of .55% compounded annually. So I am going to in essence pay the loan off from the money in my companies account with a promissory note to pay it all back within 2 years. Basically I can loan myself 10K dollars and only have to pay myself $55 for the convenience. Checked with my accountant and he said it was cool. I would rather act as my own bank given the option.

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:48 AM

      How interesting – hadn’t heard of that one before.

        1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:00 PM


  14. Apathy Ends April 18, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    The last car I owned before buying new was a 99 2 door explorer, passenger door didn’t work (making it a 1 door).

    Right before we got married we bought a new car (before I fully embraced personal finance) and we used my explorer as a trade in. We did buy with .9% interest so that part isn’t killing me.

    They had to come pick it up with a flatbed because it stopped running about 6 months earlier and we took the bus to work. They paid me $750 for it…… Desperation at the auto dealer I guess

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:50 AM

      Haha, nice… Reminds me of another car I owned that I had forgotten about – a ’93 Honda Prelude. Towards the end of its life it was only running off 3 cylinders instead of 4 :) And still sold it off eBay!

  15. Dr. Beard April 18, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    I actually miss my old beater trucks that I owned for years until the realities of a 4-person family made them less useful. People would constantly smash into me, damn near destroy their own cars, leaving only little dents and scratches on mine that would result in little insurance checks.

    My best car purchase was a fleet-owned Ford SportTrac that I bought at auction with 160,000 miles for $4,500, drove for 5 years until about 190,000 miles, dropped about $500 in repairs over that time, picked up about $500 in insurance checks for little dents, and sold for $4,800 cash. Getting paid $300 to drive for 5 years was pretty sweat.

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:51 AM

      Yessir! It can work out nicely sometimes!

  16. Rose April 18, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    My little ole red is a 1998 Ford Escort 2dr. Holding up well around 110,000 miles now. Other than maintenance it hasn’t needed anything at all the last two years, but I don’t drive much anyway.
    We do have a 2015 Subaru Forester at zero % interest since he has a long commute. We are please with our choice and plan to hang onto it a long time – it was hard for him to give up his truck, but I think now he is glad he did.

    My plan is to drive my little ole red until the day it dies, meanwhile I saved up enough cash for a replacement new/used car.

    All this financial wisdom aside, there is a red Mercedes on my bucket list – so who knows, wonders never cease:) or is it that one day never comes, unless you plan and execute and stop wishing?:)

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:53 AM

      Dreaming does feel better than owning sometimes for sure :) Though of course owning can also feel fantastic haha… You’ll have to let me know if you ever pull the trigger on that Benzo.

  17. Elizabeth Vega April 18, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    We drive newer used cars (a 2009 Mazda MX-5 and a 2012 Honda Fit), but they were also purchased with cash up front. Having recently started working full-time just a few miles away, vehicle reliability has become a much smaller concern for me though, and so we’ll be much more likely to to keep at least one of our cars through its old-and-crotchety phase… Which shouldn’t be for at least a decade, as both models are well-known for their longevity and we maintain them well.

    My husband is studying for a mid-life career shift into the trades, so in a couple of years we’ll need to decide which car to let go of in order to get him a decent work truck, which will again be the most economical model that will meet his needs. Fortunately, he’s a talented driveway mechanic, so I feel quite comfortable with any used vehicle he deems road-worthy… It helps to have someone in the family who can recognize the difference between a good deal and a lemon!

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:54 AM

      Cash up front is killer!! Hardly anyone does that.

  18. Mrs. 1500 April 18, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    So the only 2 cars that we have ever purchased brand new are the ones we are still driving today. We have a 2003 Honda Element and a 2010 Mazda 5. We’ll drive them until they die. The Element just had to have $800 in work – the first non-accident, non-maintenance work ever. The Mazda is work-free so far.

  19. Hat man April 18, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    We had an old car but after spending more than is reasonable on repairs we sold it and paid C$SH for a 2013 Prius. We live in the midwest where public transit is non existent or horrible so driving is about the only option. Love my Prius and the gas savings I get. Love the lack of surprises in the maintenance category (for now). Love the lack of monthly payments the best.

    Great article.

  20. Ty @ Get Rich Quickish April 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    Within a month after my epiphany I had sold our two new cars (GMC pickup & Dodge SUV) and paid cash for a then 9 year old minivan and a 21 year old K car.

    Eliminating the car expenses was the jump start my budget needed to start getting ahead financially

    1. J. Money April 18, 2016 at 10:55 AM

      Damn – you work fast! That’s awesome!

  21. Amanda April 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    What a great way to think about the cost of a car repair! My car is making a noise, and I was just thinking yesterday how badly I do not want to pay a repair bill! But having the emergency fund in place definitely lessons the stress!

  22. EL April 18, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    Yeah when your car payment free its a different ball game. You such have more margin to do things like save, invest, and blow money. I would never buy that lambo, its too fancy for a frugal bloggers lifestyle.

  23. Pam April 18, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Love my paid for 2004 Honda Element. 215,000 miles and going strong.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      It’s a beautiful thing!

  24. MP April 18, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    Toyota Prius from 2006.
    Gosh how this car is reliable and frugal!!!

    1. Eddie April 19, 2016 at 12:47 AM

      Amen! June, 2006…. still going strong after 160k+. Love to replace it with a toyota EV eventually but they seem to have a thing against pure EV’s.

  25. Jeremy April 18, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    I had my epiphany for financial independence/early retirement last summer, right after I bought a Lexus CT200 hybrid (horrible timing). I thought I could afford this, help the environment, and save on gas. As I was driving home from the dealership, I was already questioning my decision to purchase the vehicle. Six months later, I sold it. I figured out that this little life lesson cost me roughly $800 a month for 6 months but I was glad to have paid it. I decided after reading many of MMM posts, that I needed to make a change for my family/for our future. I remembered a car that I had a lot of fun owning and that I could pay cash for. I pulled the trigger and bought a 2005 Honda Civic Si hatchback. The little 2 door may not seem practical for a family of 4 but it actually offered more space for passengers and I could throw more things in the trunk. My $5000 mistake (Lexus car loan, depreciation) was my turning point to start the journey I am on now. I now don’t worry about door dings, car payments, and ruining the interior when I am hauling house remodeling materials. It is liberating to not care about any of it!

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:12 PM

      I bet!!! Congrats on the move, and doing it so quickly for that matter. It’s one thing to realize you made a mistake, and a whole other to pull the bandaid off to fix it. Well done :)

  26. Kate @ itsakatelife April 18, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    I buy cars new (only 2 so far) because that’s what my parents do. They get the base model with no add-ons, pay cash, and drive it forever. They have a 2008 Toyota but they still have the 1992 Geo Prism that I used for my drivers test that same year! Manual windows and no cd or tape player :)

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:13 PM

      You had me at “pay cash” :)

  27. Teaike April 18, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    What is your standpoint on leasing? My current car has upside down equity and I still have 3 years to pay it off. I was thinning of trading it in and leading since the car I’m looking to lease will be less per month and saving the extra money for two years so I could buy something in cash. I figure if I did that i would get rid of that car debt in less time

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:17 PM

      I’m actually okay with leasing though it’s one of those “taboo” things to talk about as a financial blogger :) Technically owning is usually best, but you gotta do what you gotta do and sometimes leasing is the better option. Sam from actually leases now and wrote up a piece on it – maybe it’ll help?

  28. Yetisaurus April 18, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    I’m not opposed to buying used or driving a car into the ground, but I bought my 2009 Toyota Venza new, as well as my former 2001 Subaru Impreza, for a couple of reasons.

    As an attorney, I need a reliable car that I won’t be embarrassed to put a client in on occasion. Also, I spent a good chunk of my adulthood as a single person, which makes broken-down cars a million times more troublesome (dropping off/picking up the car from the mechanic is a PAIN if you’re by yourself). I keep costs down on the new cars by keeping them for 8 1/2 years (or more, hopefully, with this Venza) and by doing brake jobs and things like that myself.

    My favorite old used car was my 1981 Corvette, although it broke down all the dang time. I really learned a lot about cars with that one. But it had a heck of a lot of expensive problems ($8,000 in repairs over about a year and a half), including some weird, undiagnosable ones. It was really prone to overheating, even though I had replaced all of the cooling system components. It also sometimes had weird ignition issues, where it would just die without any advance warning, despite my having replaced the spark plugs, wires, and cap and rotor. Gremlins, I tell ya.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:21 PM

      I’m sure it was fun to drive when it was working though :)

      I get the appeal of brand new cars for sure, but don’t think I could handle the instant drop in value once it’s taken off the lot… I’d be okay with picking one up that was *almost* brand new though – like, just a year old? That way you could still retain all the benefits but not the big hit?

      Good point on being single vs in a relationship!

  29. Mrs. Wanderlust April 18, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    I landed a job last week and by golly…we need a second car. Peak work hours are right smack dab in the middle of the hubs needing to get to his shift and I have to drive from client house to client house. I was really hoping to stay a one car family but it doesn’t seem feasible. We are going to pay cash for our second car later this summer. In the meantime I have to obtain a parking space…which is so much more difficult than it sounds. Yay, island life!

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Congrats on the new gig though! That sounds exciting!

  30. Joe April 18, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    We had car payments in the past and it’s pain to cut the check every month. Life is so much simpler with our current car. We got it new for $17,000. Yes, a bit expensive for frugal, but we only have one car. 2010 Mazda 5. Next time, I’d probably look for a reliable used minivan or station wagon.

  31. Daniel April 18, 2016 at 3:48 PM

    2004 Toyota Prius. My wife also has a car 2006 Hyundai Elantra. Given our urban location (Arlington VA) I kind of wish I could figure out how to ditch the second car when one of them gives up the ghost (knocks on wood since that would ideally happen after one of the kids is out of daycare). But we have 2 kids, my wife drives to work and my part-time (hah!) job as an Army National Guard Officer drags me all over the state at least once a month for amounts of time (because I am on deck at any time, it wouldn’t be conducive to rentals). Maybe in 9 years when I can retire.

    Though whatever we get will not be new, we burned that out with our current vehicles, new cars are for suckers.

  32. Dee April 18, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    1999 Chevy Suburban with 270k miles and counting that we’ve owned for 14 years. I know the gas mileage is not earth-friendly, but the ride is unbeatable and we want to keep it a few more miles ;). . We also have a 2004 Subaru Outback we bought from my sister for cash about 4 years ago. We pay a monthly payment here and there for repairs, but the other 10-11 payments are sitting in the savings account.

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:25 PM

      Wow – that’s a lot of miles!!! Let’s see if you can make it to 300k! :)

  33. Allan @ The Practical Saver April 18, 2016 at 7:05 PM

    Cutting a check for a car payment is a pain. That’s exactly what I felt when I was still paying my car. It felt like I was putting money in the drain. Thankfully, I paid it off a couple of years ago. I don’t want to buy any car anytime soon but that’s my wish because my family is growing and a sedan won’t cut it. May be I’ll just look for something that’s cheaper but not cheaply made.

  34. Trading My Savings April 18, 2016 at 8:02 PM

    I used to have a lease on a Honda Civic. First of all, I live in NY… you don’t need a car in NY. Once, it took 2 hours to find street parking. I was paying $400 a month (lease + insurance) for a car that I would only use on the weekends. Waste of money!!! I couldn’t to get rid of it.

    Now I use Uber Pool all the time. Plus I get 20% back from Capital One credit card.

    In NY, owning or leasing a car is the biggest waste of money.

    1. John B. April 19, 2016 at 11:05 AM

      I drive for Uber in NY, and the carpool service is pretty sweet. I’m trying to 86 my new 2015 Ford Fusion that I originally leased to drive for Uber because I’ve found that renting a car through them is much more cash efficient (~$500/month difference).

      1. Trading My Savings April 19, 2016 at 9:43 PM

        You can rent a car through Uber? How do they do that?

        1. J. Money April 20, 2016 at 10:38 AM

          yeah, what the?

  35. Rachel @ The Latte Budget April 18, 2016 at 9:31 PM

    My parents graciously let me buy their 2010 two-toned PT Cruiser off them at 0% interest…score! I get teased constantly, but I love that car. Probably nicer than I would have bought myself, but because I don’t owe interest, it was a better deal overall. Glad to see everyone cruising in style!

  36. DaveC April 18, 2016 at 11:44 PM

    This guy has the same idea about driving a ‘junk’ and tries to communicate it to his son..
    “He’s on the phone with his insurance agent, I’m on the phone with my travel agent!”

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:28 PM


      “He’s got $9.00 in a Folgers can in the bedroom, and the last truck he looked at was $32,000”

      I remember those days :)

  37. Amber April 19, 2016 at 5:52 AM

    Living in rural Australia on a property means having a car is a pretty vital part of life. We have acquired two pretty decent and reliable cars by our reckoning, without spending a fortune- a ’98 Honda CRV for $2000, and a ’04 Ford Falcon on LPG for $3000. Unfortunately my partner hit a kangaroo in the CRV when he was driving it home, hours after purchasing it… but I sourced parts online and from an auto wreckers to get it back on the road for less than $500.
    I love reflecting on the price the people who bought the cars new paid, and how we get to enjoy around $70,000 worth of cars for a measly $5000!
    Thanks for your inspiring blog- you are helping to normalise frugality and saving all over the world!

    1. J. Money April 19, 2016 at 3:32 PM

      A kangaroo!! You don’t hear about those too often here in US :) Glad you’re enjoying the bog!

  38. John April 19, 2016 at 3:51 PM

    2001 Saturn SL1 that I bought new over 15 years ago. After paying it off 10 years ago, we have enjoyed no car payments during that time. Been in the shop lately, but still get over 35 mpg and has about 150,000 miles.

    I get a ton of ridicule from family and friends about my ride but just shrug it off knowing I am saving a ton of money.

    1. J. Money April 20, 2016 at 10:40 AM

      Yeah, see what they say once you’re chillin’ at the beach retired early :)

  39. Josh April 19, 2016 at 4:23 PM

    I’m shopping Craigslist right now for the next ride buddy! I’ve had both a car note and no car note and not having one wins hands down. Great post!

    1. J. Money April 20, 2016 at 10:41 AM

      Hope you find a good one!

  40. Sam @ Financial Samurai April 19, 2016 at 6:20 PM

    Wow, now that’s a nice dent! I don’t have a beater anymore, but an economical car that just got big wigged by a $70,000 Porsche SUV. It was a great experience interacting with a woman going berserk the other day.

    Inexpensive cars rule because there’s so much less stress driving and parking them!


    1. J. Money April 20, 2016 at 10:43 AM

      Is “big wigged” the new slang for getting hit?

      hope you’re typing this out at home and not in the hospital! :)

  41. Moya April 19, 2016 at 9:54 PM

    Toyota Solara I bought brand new after college (crazy of me, i know) she’s 11 yrs old now, hanging in there, three alternators later. :)

  42. Syed April 20, 2016 at 11:58 AM

    I don’t really know why but I don’t see any reason to get a car bigger than a Corolla. “Small” cars fit people pretty easily and can haul stuff just as well as bigger cars. Plus they don’t take as much gas and cost less to insure. That’s why I’m a Corolla for life guy!

    1. J. Money April 20, 2016 at 12:13 PM

      Interestingly enough our other car is a Corolla too! Though getting harder and harder to manage with two growing boys… Still do-able, just not *as* convenient. So I totally get the appeal of the minivan or SUV – something I’m sure we’ll end up going with if my wife has her way :)

  43. Nate April 20, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    The worst financial mistake I made I’m still driving today. Bought a new Chevy Z71 off the lot and made payments to the tune of $457 for a little over 3 years!! All my redneck brethren were doing the same, so I fell into the “follow” crowd…. I won’t ever do that again. I can’t complain too much though, she’s been a tough ride with little to no issues just your occasional maintenance. Sixteen years later she handles all my squirrel and other hunting adventures with random family duty. I hope she lasts another 9-10 years, and with only 164K miles I might just make it.

    Another good read J!!

    1. J. Money April 21, 2016 at 4:01 PM

      Hey – you made the smart move of keeping it this whole time! That’s hard to do in itself, so I’d consider that a win :)

  44. Amy @ DebtGal April 20, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    That’s a great way to look at it.

    I drive an 07 Camry (paid off), and my husband drives an 08 Accord. It’s scheduled to be paid off next March, but one of my goals for 2016 is to pay it off this year.

  45. shaun f April 20, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    Hey, this is a great post!

    When I was 18 I made the mistake of buying a brand new car on monthly payments that I honestly could not afford. There was some bad times when I missed payments, but it also taught me some lessons haha!

    Have a great day!


    1. J. Money April 22, 2016 at 7:08 AM

      Haha, I bet! Glad you liked this! :)

  46. NDQ April 20, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    I have a good track record of driving cars well beyond their life expectancy. For the few repairs here and there, you’re right, it’s so worth it.


  47. Ambiguousmango April 21, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    I have only ever had two vehicles, I just drive them till they won’t go anymore any I always pay cash. What many people don’t realize is that if you are not that picky (no preference on color interior upgrades etc) alot of dealers have loaner cars, well I was the first owner of my car but bought it with 1600 miles on it. Pretty much new car for a fraction of what one costs and was much nicer and had more upgrades that I would have been able to afford otherwise.

    1. J. Money April 22, 2016 at 7:10 AM

      YES!! Brilliant! Didn’t know about “loaner cars” but totally down for snatching up cars with just a few miles on it.. You get best of both worlds for sure – “new” car with much smaller price tag! Thanks for stopping by to share today – appreciate it.

  48. Latoya @ Femme Frugality April 22, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    I had a Chevy Impala which I still love to this day. Last year she became irreparably damaged and I let my husband convince me into replacing her with a 2014 Dodge Charger. Am I happy? Nope. Do I miss my 04 Chevy with no car payments? Heck yes! The car is in my husband’s name, but I am going to try persuading him to trade it in for another gently used Impala if someone is willing to take Dorian (the charger) off our hands.

    1. J. Money April 24, 2016 at 10:17 AM

      Awwww…. I hope you’re able to pull it off!

  49. Kevin April 22, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    A 2013 Chevy Silverado…. that I still owe 20,000+ on….
    It hurts…
    But the plan is to have it gone by the end of the year when I can make money off of it. Then I get my paid for beater and live a happier.. more environmental friendly life


    1. J. Money April 24, 2016 at 10:17 AM

      Well that’s good! At least you have a plan you’re working on!

  50. Christine @ThePursuitofGreen April 23, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    Gotta love my ten yr old corolla. Still going:P Also still looking pretty good minus a few car door dings. Bumper is all fixed up cause someone backed right into it and paid for it to get spiffied.

    Fun note. Saw a tv commercial for a Cadillac Escalade the other day. Only $799 per month to lease. What a steal!

    1. J. Money April 24, 2016 at 10:18 AM

      Haha… the old me would have been drooling ALL OVER that. Probably cuz I listen to too much rap :)

  51. Your Free Cash Flow April 25, 2016 at 12:08 AM

    Like your beater photo and story! I once drove a rough car, though it taught me a bunch of things, especially regarding cars as consumption habits. Once you start, you naturally get higher priced vehicles one after another. Best to start at 5 grand initially!

    1. J. Money April 25, 2016 at 6:57 AM

      And not only with vehicles either! We as a society do this with everything as time goes on – upgrading homes, tvs, vacations, “treats” – you name it… In theory we should all be saving a TON since we keep earning more throughout our career, but it only seems to help people *spend* more :( “Lifestyle Inflation” as they call it.

  52. AJ April 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

    In March 2011 I sold my 3 year old SUV so that I could trade down and get a 7 year old Honda Accord. My dad and brother thought it was a stupid mistake. My dad finally jumped on board when I told him I’d be saving $360 a month with the Accord. My Accord is now 12 years old, has 199,500 miles and I enjoy driving her every day! Hell…she even has heated leather seats, a moon roof and a 6 disc CD player! My SUV didn’t even have those features! This past August my hubby jumped on board and he sold his paid for Mini Cooper. He’s been biking to work the majority of the time but this weekend he just paid $800 cash for a 2001 Honda Civic. Crazy people can keep their car payments! We’ll keep paying cash and driving “beaters”.

    1. J. Money April 26, 2016 at 10:39 AM

      Oh wow – good on your husband for having that Mini Cooper paid off in full too! It’s like getting PAID to save every month now with an upfront cash bonus, haha…