One of the biggest accomplishments of the past few years of debt slaying has been paying off our cars. We have had two paid off cars for the last 18 months, and let me tell you it is AMAZING. In fact I never want to go back to car payments again!
Thankfully, both our cars are in good shape thanks in huge part to our awesome mechanic and (mostly) regular maintenance. It also helps that we picked cars that fit our needs and were reliable.
If you’ve been around Centsible Life for awhile you may remember we tried our hand at being a one car family when my husband’s previous car needed expensive repairs. It was more than we wanted to put into that car since it was starting to become a money pit. We sold it, and lived on one car for several months. In the meantime we did research to find not only a fuel-efficient car for my husband’s commute, but one that will hold its’ value well. Additionally, once we settled on a car (Honda Fit) we found new car prices offered close to the same price as used, but with lower interest rates. So we opted for new for the savings. Crazy, I know. That’s turned out to be a smart investment. The car is paid off, services him handily for his short commute and longer trips, and has held its’ value quite nicely.
My car has been around for a bit longer. And while sometimes I find my car’s lack of technology annoying, or wish it had better mileage I’m not willing to trade it in for a newer model just yet. Sure, when I drive newer cars I’ve loved the newer features, space, and fuel efficiency….but my silver girl still gets us where we need to go safely. More importantly, I don’t mind the dog fur that sometimes lines the carpet or the weird smell of feet and peanut butter that permeates the car. Okay, that I do mind, but there’s a reason the windows go down! And those things would follow me to a new car, too.
We’re mostly happy to drive my minivan as the family car and use my husband’s car for his commute, especially sans car payment. While I sometimes wax poetic about a more walkable area or going back to one car it has come in handy to have a second car when the kids need to come home sick or need to get picked up after school.
The kids have said a few times that they’d prefer a new car. They think it would be awesome, but I remind them it’s a financial trade off. Getting a new car would mean giving up something else-like the vacation we took earlier this year, or the after school activities they participate in. That gets them thinking the old girl isn’t so bad (and gives them a quick lesson on ‘you can’t have it all.’)
I know my car will be around for awhile, too. Working from home means I don’t use it everyday, so now 9+ years after we bought her she’s reached a major milestone. 100,000 miles! It’s the first time I’ve had a car hit that number! (seriously, I think I have bad luck with cars in general)
It’s a little funny to think she’s been in the family since we were changing Aidan’s diapers and was with us through his ‘screaming every time he got in the car’ phase and now he’s nearing 10! She’s been with us through diapers to high school, and serviced us well. She’s got plenty of life left in her, so we’re looking forward to many adventures to come in the old gal. And I’m looking forward to lots more months without any car payment. 😉