I want all you readers out there to know that I will always be honest and share both the good and the bad with you. I really like not having a car payment. I haven’t had one for a number of years now and I am quite happy that I don’t have that constant monthly outflow of money that most Americans simply treat as a necessity of life. But there are some risks associated with driving older cars to save money. Most of the time it has worked out very well for me. I have driven pretty reliable cars, but occasionally things will go wrong. Yesterday was the day it happened.
Many of you know that I drive a 2001 Chevy pickup with 207,000 mostly trouble-free miles. Yesterday, though, my truck quit running in the middle of Washington DC in the left lane of a busy street in the middle of rush hour. The traffic was so busy (and the drivers so rude) that I couldn’t even push it over to the right lane until a policeman showed up and blocked the middle lane with his police car.
I had to call a tow truck, which goes against all my money-savings instincts, but when your car is dead in the middle of a place like that you don’t really have a choice. My wife was at a school meeting at the time, so my 17-year-old son was the hero of the day and came to get me. He has never driven in a big city before, but he braved it and saved the day. It was quite an adventure for us both.
As I said before, if you want to drive a cheap car, there are some risks that you have to accept. I just want anyone who follows the same path as me to go in with their eyes wide open. I’m certainly not about to change my ways, though. If I had bought a new car seven years ago when it was four years old like most people do, I could have had an extra $39,900 in car payments by now (assuming the average car payment of $475 per month). I’ll keep my $40k and endure one painful breakdown, thank you very much.
It hurt when it happened, but after I calculated how much money I’ve saved by not having a monthly car payment all these years, I feel much better now.
Leave a comment. Have you had a very inconvenient car breakdown? Are you still willing go cheap to avoid the car payments? Is it worth it?