Keeping a car that I bought used has saved me lots of money. It seems prudent to save money when the economy is uncertain.
I shared in the past that I liked buying cars for their safety and technology. In my life, I estimate with all the car costs: insurance, gas, and repairs I have easily spent $200,000 on cars. Now I am wondering if I made a mistake and should have bought the cheapest car instead and saved that money for a condo.
I had moved to a large city and got into an accident and since then safety was my concern. I might have bought more than I needed to with cars. I kept moving up to newer cars that had additional safety features. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be safe but at some point, you have to accept that there are diminishing returns on investment. If I was rich I would drive an armored car. Not because I think someone is going to attack me but to give additional protection against poor drivers.
Now, why am I sharing these thoughts? Simply because I realize today that I probably could have bought fewer cars in the past and still felt safe. We buy things to satisfy emotional reasons, not logical ones. Sure logically I could try to justify what I spent but I bought it based on fear. Fear of not having reliable, safe transportation.
A week ago my car required an expensive repair so I always try to think about my goals with transportation. Was the repair justified to continue to repair this older car? Yes. Once a year it requires an expensive repair, but when you break down the cost per month it is still less than buying a new car and it still has life left in it. Would I like the newer safety features? For sure. Will those save my life? Probably not. Cars make great safety innovations but being a careful driver is still by far safer than any technology you can buy.
Would I love a new car? Perhaps. New things cause new problems, and not having the pressure of debt is very nice. Keeping this car has allowed me to save money on car payments and I have been putting that away for emergencies. In a real sense having a car prevented me from having an emergency fund. Now I have both and I feel very lucky to be able to do so.