What’s up, budgeters! Got two things to talk about today:
- How I’ve never bought a new car or house or almost anything big* brand new before, and why.
- A special offer USAA has for its members who go through their car buying service**
That second one won’t matter much if you’re not connected to the military and/or not in the market for a car and/or hate USAA (blasphemy!), but the first one I’m pretty sure most of you can relate to :) And for those who can’t, I want to know what we’re missing? And what that new car smell, smells like??
#1. How I’ve never bought a new car or house or almost anything big brand new before, and why.
Up until recently it never occurred to me that I’ve never owned a new car or house or anything substantial* for that matter, but a recent chat with a USAA colleague changed that. We hopped on the phone so I could learn more about their car buying service they’ve just re-launched (for anyone new here, I’m a hardcore fanboy of USAA and literally have 14 accounts with them!), and somewhere along the conversation I was asked what I thought about used vs new cars.
“Used all the way, baby!” I said out loud. “That’s how I roll!” (Okay, I didn’t really say that ‘cuz I’m not that clever on the spot, but I did say I prefer used all the way ;)) And it was at that exact moment that I realized I’ve never owned a new car EVER in my life before, nor do I even know what that feels like?
I then mentally went down the list of all the cars I’ve owned in the past 20 years since having my license to make sure I was correct
- 1988 Chevy Corsica – Used! (8 years old when I got it, hand me down from my parents)
- 1993 Geo Tracker – Used! (4 years old when I got it, the first car I ever bought!)
- 1988 Honda Prelude – Used! (11 years old when I got it – I “needed” a faster one ;))
- 2001 Ford Mustang – Used! (3 years old when I got it, and when neon yellow was in fashion (it *was* in fashion, wasn’t it??)
- 1993 Cadillac DeVille – Used! (13 years old when I got it – no more car payments, woo!)
- 2005 Toyota Highlander – Used! (2 years old when I got it, car payments again – womp womp)
- 1993 Cadillac DeVille aka FrankenCaddy – Very used! (15 years old when I got it, looked like 115 years when I donated it)
- 2008 Lexus RX350 – Used! (8 years old when I got it, lots of surprising effects so far!)
It was a fascinating exercise to go down – I highly recommend it :) I then wondered how much I’ve saved over the past 20 years going this way too? Or if all those total costs would add up to *one* decent brand new car? (Answer: not one, unless it was super luxurious, but probably 2 or 3 average cars. So basically for the price of 2 or 3 new cars I got 8!).
I then started rattling off all the reasons why I’ve only bought used over the years to myself, full well knowing I’d be blogging about it soon ;)
- They’re much cheaper, obviously
- You’re able to afford MORE of a used car, if you wanted to upgrade or something special
- You don’t have to worry about dings and dents and smashes as much (you’ll always worry, but odds are your 5, 10, 20 year old car already has them, so what’s another one (or ten?))
- You don’t lose as much when you go to resell them (the used car market is thriving! And you don’t get that wallop of depreciation the second you drive it off the lot either)
- All cool bloggers rock used! (And really, isn’t that all that matters? ;))
Of course, there’s a trade off to this too (more miles, more problems? No/less warranty? No knowledge of previous ownership?), but financially speaking used is almost always better than new. Not that there’s anything wrong with going that route if you value it (it’s your money!).
I feel like I’m missing something here, but you get the point. Used is sexy.
#2. A special offer USAA has for its members who go through their car buying service
(For any non-military-connected/non-future-car buyers, avert your eyes now and click this instead!)
As mentioned above, this all started when USAA reached out to tell me they’re offering a special deal for people who find their next car through their car buying service. Specifically, financing rates as low as 1.9% until July 9th. Here’s the portal if you’re interested:
It’s basically a place on their site where you can sort through an aggregated list of cars for sale, compare prices/costs connected to TRUECar data, check out CarFax reports, and even estimate insurance through USAA (pretty handy if you have all your accounts with them too!).
If you end up finding your car through them, you get the special rate, and if you don’t – but still finance through USAA, you get their normal rate. Which fortunately is still pretty good (my Lexus loan is at 2.75%).
In fact, going back through my list of cars over time, I’ve ALWAYS ended up w/ a loan through USAA. Whether starting out with them (like when I slapped my 1st Cadillac on my credit card – hah!), or when I finance first through dealerships for whatever reason, and then end up refinancing later.
Sadly I’ve never been smooth enough to pick up a car in all cash :(
So yeah, this rate doesn’t apply to everyone, but hopefully it helps those members looking to get a new ride sometime soon. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible to join USAA, you can check here. (They’re great for a ton of other stuff too, particularly car insurance. And always on the cutting edge of technology! Fun fact: USAA was the very first company ever to offer check deposit by smart phone.)
One note of caution: USAA’s car buying portal only connects to *dealerships*, so it won’t help you much if you prefer going through private parties. I’m 50/50 myself with dealerships vs private, and of course there are tons of pros and cons on either side. Something to consider though as you’re poking around.
And that’s all I’ve got for you today!
Used cars/houses/things = more money saved = more money for freedom
It doesn’t work out all the time or for all situations (food, toilet paper, underwear – eww, eww, ewwwwwww!), but more often than not your wallet will be happier going used in the end.
Anyone else never owned a new car before? Has anyone never owned *used*? (Are you rich??)
*There is one substantial thing I’ve bought new before – an engagement ring. Though if the diamond is millions of years old, does it still count? ;) (Side note: if I went back in time I totally would have picked one up for $780 instead of $7,800, not only to save massive money (imagine what that $7k difference would have been worth now, 10 years later?), but also because my wife rarely wears hers anymore… Turns out that dang rock gets snagged on all kinds of things like her clothes and my kids’ skin! She was always scratching them as babies, so now it only comes out on special occasions, womp womp.)
**USAA compensated me for blogging about their special interest rate today. Something I would have done anyways for free, but hey – free money! (No take backs!)