Before I ever help someone find “the perfect car”, I have to first ask them why they even want a new car. What’s wrong with their old one (if they have one)?
Having gone through numerous car-buying blunders myself, I have some keen insight into reasons NOT to buy a car. But before I get into reasons not to buy a car, let’s delve a little more into why you think you DO want a new car:
Buying Your First Car
Ok, fair enough. You don’t have a car yet. Let’s also assume you also don’t have the option of mass transit to get you to about 80% of the places you need to go weekly. Otherwise, if you could use mass transit (or just plain walk to work or school), I would recommend using a car sharing service like Zipcar (if available) for shorter drives and renting from someone like Enterprise for longer trips.
Replacing a Wrecked Car
Similar to the previous reason, if you’re out of a car and can’t use mass transit, you have a good reason to get a new car after an accident. But be warned that too many of us take that wad of cash from the insurance company and spend on more car than we really need.
Replacing a Previous Car
This is where things get hairy. In my life, I’ve lost over $14,000 on stupid decisions when trading in an old car for something newer or different. I really didn’t need something else, and I even could have just gotten a used car anyway. Instead, I lost money on negative equity (i.e. the difference between what the dealer gave me and what I owed on the car) and then rolled in that loss to the next car’s financing.
And this is where I hope to help with this site. I’m not here just to tell you about the cars available. I also want to help you determine your motives and your needs.
Too often, we spend more time picking out a $30 shirt than we do when shopping for a $30,000 car. We think we know what we want, but we don’t always think about why we want it.
So before you delve into car research, do a bit of self-examination and figure out whether you really need a new car. It may save you thousands of dollars!