It pays to be smart when spending your vehicle dollars:
When I was in high-school the very first car I was gifted, was my mom’s hand-me down car, and I was THRILLED to get it! Sadly, one afternoon on the way home from school, another driver wasn’t paying attention and rear ended me in a left turn lane while I was stopped. She was going 45 mph, so it totaled that car. I was so scared to call my dad, and they still tease me because I told them the damage, “Wasn’t that bad” when in reality, the trunk was smashed into the driver’s seat!
The next “new to me” car I received that Fall in 1992, and I drove it until July 1998, many miles after a couple of years as a military wife with moving and travelling. The car was literally shaking on the highway when I went over 45 mps – we were scared the wheels were going to fall off, so we traded it in for the car you see above. Yes, I have had this car since July of 1998, however, it has only just over 100,000 miles on it. I don’t drive that much, only to the grocery and doctors appointments. For me, it doesn’t seem to make sense to buy and pay for a newer car when this one is still running and I only drive a few miles per week. When this one has been broken down before, we’ve made do with one vehicle, though that was when Nick worked at home, and he now commutes each day, which would be rough if one of the kids got sick at school and needed to be picked up. The car does have some issues from time to time, we know her days are limited, but we are thankful for each one that she still runs for.
Planning the next purchase is not something I enjoy. Buying a new car stresses me out. But, I don’t want to be put in a position where I need to make a rash decision. Instead, I’ve slowly been researching options. Price is a major factor, especially with the low miles I drive, so either a low price new car (to get max warranty coverage) or a used model that still has warranty coverage is what I have in mind. The car buried in snow is a Nissan Altima. I feel very safe in it, so I’d be happy with another Nissan, or perhaps a Toyota; my mom has driven Toyota exclusively for years and they’ve also been safe and reliable. If price were no object, I’d love an SUV for the room, but when all 5 of us go anywhere, we take Nick’s car, so mine just needs to seat me and the 3 kids comfortably and safely.
I was reading an article earlier on Yahoo about the 10 Cheapest Cars to Own, and thought I’d share it with you. It has a Nissan Versa and a Toyota Corolla featured. Yahoo estimates the 5 year cost of ownership on the Versa is $27,405 and the Corolla $30,405. I’ll likely keep one 10 years minimum (Lord willing), so my long term cost will be even less. Depreciation is certainly something to consider, though when I ran the numbers on my current car that I’ve had for 15 years, all the costs, maintenance, and insurance have averaged out to about $200 a month and it still has a decent trade in value that hasn’t been considered. With three kids riding in it for most of the past 11 years, it has taken a toll on the interior, but that can be cleaned.
When I priced out the Versa with the options I’d need (I can’t drive a 5 speed, etc!) it was actually $17,335 vs the $11,990 base price listed on the Yahoo article. A Sentra was $19,220 and an Altima was $23,650. For USED prices, that met my needed criteria were:
- 2010 Nissan Sentra $12,995 (47,510 miles)
- 2010 Nissan Sentra $13,960 (19,237 miles)
- 2011 Nissan Sentra $14,495 (26,761 miles)
- 2010 Nissan Altima $14,995 (47,430 miles)
The Corolla was $18,135 vs the Base $16,230 listed on the article. A Camry was $23,030. Used:
- 2011 Toyota Camry $15,000 (35,406 miles)
- 2011 Toyota Camry $16,888 (13,985 miles)
- 2012 Toyota Camry $17,888 (33,141 miles)
- 2011 Toyota Corolla $14,426 (8,069 miles)
- 2012 Toyotal Corolla $15,287 (9,152 miles)
It’s important to note that dealers often have discounts available these prices are just the standard “build” prices online, not dealer prices. I like to know what the NEW price runs so that when I’m browsing USED deals, I know if they’ve really come off the price or not, and I refer to Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book for a reference price as well, with the options included and miles. It’s never a bad idea to get a Carfax report either – just to ensure the title is clean. In addition, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent to get a quote on an updated policy premium BEFORE you buy, so you are aware if the rate will go up or not. There are also many other makes and models, these are just the two I happened to be looking at tonight. The point of the post though, is to encourage everyone to spend their vehicle dollars wisely. Do you research and homework, run the numbers, check things out. KNOW what you’re buying.
*DISCLOSURE: This post is NOT sponsored or endorsed. I was just browsing the internet, and found some information I thought some of you might be interested in.