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My wife needs a mini-van.


Briarscratch

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Henry Rackliff
Cash is the ONLY way to buy any vehicle!  If you can't pay cash, then by definition you can't afford it.

I’m not sure I agree with you on that score Greg….  There are two things in America that most people have to borrow money to purchase; one being a home, the other a vehicle.

Of course, you’re right, in an ideal financial situation we’d all be able to turn to our bank accounts and write a check for $15,000 to $25,000 to purchase our cars free and clear, but there are very few of us who can come up with such a large “disposable” chunk of cash, even with a trade in helping matters.

For those of us who can’t come up with the cash, what do you recommend we do in lieu of borrowing to buy a vehicle?  ???

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New England is the home of the Ruffed Grouse, and here it is known everywhere by the name of Partridge or “Patridge.”

**Edward H. Forbush**

Uppie,

Getting in on this a little late but here are some things I've learned from a couple of people smarter than I.  

Start your car search long before you need to.  I am constantly on the lookout for my next vehicle.  I have a short list in my mind and by looking before I need it, I'm more likely to come across a good deal.

I also buy used vehicles with low mileage.  Let someone else take the depreciation hit.

Cash is the best way to buy them.  I've heard that if you need to finance a vehicle, only finance for 2 years.  I'm not sure I would be that strict about it.  Other advice I've heard is to finance only as long as it would take to put 100,000 miles on the vehicle.  I took a lot of this advice years ago and drove cheap cars for a long time with no payments.  I don't drive terribly expensive vehicles now, but haven't had a car payment for almost 15 years now.  Makes me not so concerned about gas mileage and maintenance now.  It's definitely a struggle at times, especially just starting out, but it's worth it in the end.

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Jeff,

 Don't feel so bad, we just purchased one yesterday. I thought that I would never succumb either. That was after I found out that we have number 3 on the way  :O

Actually, they are kind of neat inside and roomy. Maybe she will let me borrow it for my trip up north next year.

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A newer-model used car probably is the way to go Henry, but they cost more than I can pay in cash, that’s for sure.  

I, and I suspect a lot of other people out there, simply can’t drop multiple thousands in cash on even an old beater car, especially and expect to then have ready cash to deal with the inevitable repairs such a vehicle will require.  Not without placing hearth and home at what I consider unreasonable risk.

And, when it comes to car loans, it’s quite a hit on a budget to compress a loan into 2 years.  That’s not to say I’m advocating 5 year auto loans either, but 2 years would mean unmanageable payments for a lot of people.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, if you can pay cash for your cars go for it.  Of course it’s the best way to go.  I just don’t think all you folks advocating it realize how far beyond the realm of possibilities that is for so many families out there.

A lot of you folks certainly live in a different world than I do.  You're lucky....

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New England is the home of the Ruffed Grouse, and here it is known everywhere by the name of Partridge or “Patridge.”

**Edward H. Forbush**

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Greg Hartman

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve pissed several big piles of money away on expensive and silly (but fun) vehicles, so I am not trying to be holy here – nor am I advocating that if you like cars (or anything else for that matter) and can afford them you should not have them and enjoy.  

Still, I must respectfully disagree about “needing” to borrow money to buy a car.   I guess I’m just an old fart, but it seems to me that middle class people, and not just the younger ones, are very confused between needs and wants.  People who are (or have ever been) genuinely poor have no such problems – they are acutely cognizant of the differences between “needs” and “wants”.  They ride the bus, a bike or walk.  A car that one can “… rely on for a safe, dependable commute on a major highway, in the winter..” is only a “need” in a middle class world.

The average credit card debt per family is nearly $10,000!  I find that shocking!!  No wonder people go bankrupt left and right.

All borrowing to buy a car does is make a purchase possible that someone could not (and should not) otherwise afford and he pays very dearly for that questionable privilege.  You can make a LOT of repairs on a junker for the payments on a $15-$25K car.

I firmly believe that borrowing to buy a car represents the satisfaction of a “want” not a “need”.  

Somehow borrowing to buy real estate got wrapped into this.  A house is a very different story.  With some exceptions (namely “junk” houses), houses are appreciating, not depreciating assets.   If you buy right, you can pay interest on a loan to purchase a nice house and/or land and still come out way ahead.  That does not work with a car.

PS – congrats on the new bird hunter to be, Kevin!!!

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Briarscratch
Jeff,

 Don't feel so bad, we just purchased one yesterday. I thought that I would never succumb either. That was after I found out that we have number 3 on the way  :O

Actually, they are kind of neat inside and roomy. Maybe she will let me borrow it for my trip up north next year.

LOL!  No kidding!  I'm glad I'm in good company - but no buns in the oven that I'm aware of (yet).

If you drive I'll take shotgun.  What'd you get?

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Still, I must respectfully disagree about “needing” to borrow money to buy a car.   I guess I’m just an old fart, but it seems to me that middle class people, and not just the younger ones, are very confused between needs and wants.  People who are (or have ever been) genuinely poor have no such problems – they are acutely cognizant of the differences between “needs” and “wants”.  They ride the bus, a bike or walk.  A car that one can “… rely on for a safe, dependable commute on a major highway, in the winter..” is only a “need” in a middle class world.

Really tried to hold off on this one, but can't any longer.  

Will agree that it has everything to do with "needs and wants", I just don't think you appreciate the breadth of "needs" and "wants" that exist for some people.  

You are right that when truly poor you get by with what you can afford, likely a very cheap, well-used car.  

What you aren't saying is that those folks find themselves limited with such a car.  And as people move up in salary and status--when they can and want to--they find themselves with needs that are firmed up by their past experience.  

They "need" to take the kids to the doctor--but when they can't get the old thing to start when it's 20 below the kids go without the help they need until later.  Or get groceries.  Or any of a myriad of other activities.

So they live near all the services and stores they need you say?  That helps, but are the jobs that pay enough to support their family withing walking distance of home?  And if not, how do their employers respond if their car breaks down or won't start to get them to work a number of times through the year?  What if those cheap areas to live are blighted and crime ridden?  Should they accept that situation for their family as they can afford something better?

Don't know what it is like there, but here transportation is one of the huge struggles that poor folks have to deal with, a real hurdle they have to clear before moving up in the world.  

Right or not, much of the country is not designed to allow people to live near their work and goods they need to purchase.  

Re: "wants"--I think you short some of us on those too.  There are family safety issues in play for us.  I am not always with my wife and kids when they are driving some distance for family functions, doctor visits, work needs, shopping, etc....I need to know they are driving something reliable.  I am not a mechanic, I'm not capable of a lot of preventive ID and fixes.  My wife is not very good at always telling my about car function changes that I really should know about.  If an idiot light doesnt come on or the car stops working, I might not hear about a developing problem until I find out she's stranded somewhere.  

So I'm not comfortable when they are driving alone in bitter weather in an older car that might have some reliability problems.  I want a car that isn't necessarily new, but is very reliable...that puts us into cars that aren't very old the way people drive these days (i.e. putting 15,000 and more on each year).

Then there's the issue of warranty...as your needs and wants get ramped up and you buy newer--you may be able to pay cash but if major repairs aren't covered by warranties you may run into trouble meeting the monthly budget.  There are situations where it can make sense to borrow more to insure a consistent payment you can afford with most repairs covered under warranty.  Comes down to whether you are willing to gamble on not having problems--and I hope you'd agree that when people who depend on you are involved it's best not to be gambling.  

Could probably spend more time on justification--just can't agree with ya re: what people really need.  

Geez how did this thread get so side-tracked?

Congrats on the new Town and Country.  Neighbor has one...several relatives do as well...nary a one has anything but good things to say about them.  Hope it works out well for you.

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Really tried to hold off on this one, but can't any longer.  

Thank you Windy. This post has been bugging me all day too. I agree with you.  

             - Flush

P.S. Congrats on the DDGS Scratch.

(Double Door Grouse Sluicer)

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Congrats on the new road hunting vehicle, to keep the post on track....all you need now is a lift kit and some monster mudders...

I've been driving clapped-out beaters for quite some time, service all of them, and haven't had the finances to pay cash for the better ones on the trash fleet. Lucky for me the rate is 3%, and for the two small loans I have for the Burb and 4runner, the interest amounts to the beer I spill in a year, even if I drink the good stuff. That's like free money to me. Unfortunately, finances don't allow anything else. It's 2 beaters, and one is almost always in the garage for something. That's the way it's been and probably will be. I can't see paying some white-coated "service engineer" $85 an hour to change the oil in the Rolls...or any of the other more labor intensive mechanical tasks.

One thing I don't skimp on, is Karen's vehicle. She drives  an '02 Cherokee, low mileage and also on the 3% finance plan.

Middle class America reality check.

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The trouble with this thread is that everybody who has posted is right.  Greg is right, but we grew up and raised our families in a different age.  If you broke down on a road, one of your neighbors or even a complete stranger would stop to help and it wouldn't be any concern about safety of that wife or precious cargo.  Now people commute to work on dangerous interstates, and you can't trust anybody who stops if you break down. Everyday life is just not like it used to be even out here in the country....A man has to protect his family..If that means taking a hose job on a car loan..so be it.  For good or ill, thats the world we live in...RM   It ain't 1960 anymore
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If only those who could pay cash to buy new cars bought them we would have no auto industry. I've done both but on the vehicles I've had loans on I've always managed to pay off in two years.

My in-laws get all preachy when it comes to debt and carrying a credit card balance. They think paying interest is a big waste of money. Funny though, they think nothing of paying all the heat, hydro and taxes on a 2,000 square foot, 4 bedroom, two bathroom home for just the two of them.

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Henry Rackliff
Jeff,

 Don't feel so bad, we just purchased one yesterday. I thought that I would never succumb either. That was after I found out that we have number 3 on the way  :O

Actually, they are kind of neat inside and roomy. Maybe she will let me borrow it for my trip up north next year.

LOL!  No kidding!  I'm glad I'm in good company - but no buns in the oven that I'm aware of (yet).

If you drive I'll take shotgun.  What'd you get?

Look what happens when I pack up the computer and head home for dinner.  Congratulations Kev!  If you guys are headed north let me know and I'll meet you there.  I'm driving my own rig though.

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Congrats Kevin! Really glad for you younger guys still raising/starting familie, really glad for me that door is closing. 9 months, 28 days of child support left. Middle one graduates college (after 5 years) in May. Sheeeit, you guys talkin' finances, if I live long enough there may be hope yet.

'Scratch, first Lon, now Kevin, you better check the oven.

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For a guy who once many moons ago sold cars, all sorts of cars, this is has been kind of fun...there was a sales trainer...hated those guys...who would always three things most often talked about...women, sports and cars...guess hunting to. :D
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