Is buying a new car the ultimate personal finance sin?

So after jumping back on the personal finance bandwagon, I remembered that owning a car is basically perceived as the worst allocation of your money possible. We all hear it – a new car depreciates the second you drive it off the lot and continues to depreciate with time. Maintenance and gas cost a lot and not to mention insurance. BUT, what about those of us who are so lucky to have a job that requires a decent amount of driving? Is it always a bad thing to want something new and to drive it into the ground?

I have a car that is 7.5 years old and with 147k miles. Yeah you heard me, that’s roughly 20k a year. Between moving to the opposite end of my lovely state, making frequent visits to see my family, dating my then boyfriend/now husband 90 miles away from me, and driving a crap ton for work I’ve accumulated a fair share of miles on this baby. I paid it off 2 years ago and I love not having a car payment, but there are some reasons why I want a new car. Here are some of my reasons why:

  1. Maintenance is coming – Luckily, I haven’t put TOO much into maintenance (thank you Japanese-manufactured cars!) but it’s inevitable with this amount of miles on this car that it’s coming soon.. and if I have to get a new car I kind of figure why not put it towards a new car?
  2. My body hates me – Yeah you heard that right. Since my first car at 19, I’ve only owned cars that are manuals. I love driving a stick, but now that I live in LA and am stuck in traffic 75% of my work day… my body does not love driving a stick as much as I did in my younger day. I work out a decent amount doing sport-specific training, and I have some major imbalances on my left side which I’m sure are partly due to driving a manual for 13 years. This puts me more at risk for injury, and even if I was to STOP training the way I am.. I want to have a fully functioning hip well into my adult life. That being said, I think it’s time to trade in my love for the manual car.
  3. Better Mileage – My car doesn’t get terrible mileage, but any car in traffic is going to suck on gas so I’d really like to switch to a hybrid car.
  4. Comfort/Technology – This might not be such a big reason if I only had to drive from point A to point B and back to point A, but since I spend my days driving from point A to point B, C, maybe back to A, then D.. I think a car with increased comfort and technology (e.g., running iPhone maps on a screen for navigation) would be nice.
  5. Shared Driving – This goes back to #2, but since my car is a manual and my husband doesn’t know how to drive a manual, this means if we take a long road trip I am stuck driving the whole way which sucks. And yes, I’ve tried teaching him and it was mentally frustrating for both of us so needless to say the shared driving with my car doesn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my car. I did purchase it brand new, but with 0% financing. I don’t regret the purchase – aside from not negotiating the price too much. I think #2 for me right now would be the biggest reason why I need a new car. I’m doing what I can to get my credit card debt as much as possible, increase my credit score to put me in a good place for borrowing and save for a down payment in case it comes sooner than later. I need a car so it’ll happen, I’m just trying to delay when.

What are your thoughts on purchasing a new car? Have you purchased a new car off the lot and had zero regrets?

 

Disclaimer: When I say “new” I don’t necessarily mean brand new/off the lot.. just a car that is brand new to me. I will look into used cars with low miles when the time comes and weigh out the options with rates on loans and pricing/features.

Mid-Month check in

June just flew by! I’m sipping my first cup of coffee for the day and reflecting on my progress with my goals that I wrote out. So here is where I am as of today:

  • Put at least $700 to my CC debt – So far I’ve put $556 to my CC this month! I’ll get paid one more time before June is over and already have $400 scheduled, so I should be good on this goal!
  • Sell ALL unwanted stuff, and toss the rest – I’ve been listing on Postmark and Mercari and eBay, I’ve sold a few old electronics and a decent amount of high-end makeup. No one is biting on the clothes. I’m going to donate some stuff by next weekend.
  • Use cash system for daily spending – This I haven’t been doing.. mostly because my first paycheck I spent all on rent, paying my CC and paying myself that I didn’t have much cash left over, so I guess that’s a good thing? I took out $20 yesterday and had $6 in my wallet already, so I think this will be good going into the next week!
  • Eat out less – I have been doing a lot better packing lunch! I’d say at least 4/5 days! However, over the weekend our friends were in town and we spent a lot of money on eating out, and we have other friends in town today. We literally never go out on the weekend, so for now I’m sucking it up in an attempt to be social.. since we tend to be pretty anti-social 99% of the time.
  • Get BW back below 130lb – I’m about 132 as of today. Getting back on track with eating packed food and hitting my food targets per day has helped, but I haven’t been working out at my normal volume thanks to a string of small, annoying injuries (sprain here, tweaked my back, sprain there). I’m hoping by the last week I can resume normal workouts, and at least get within 1lb to this goal to be on track for August.

How are you all doing with your goals for the month or the year?

Monday Money Confession: I Don’t Use a Budget

Yikes. You heard me, I don’t use a budget.

First before I get ripped a new one, that’s not to say I have never used a budget. I most certainly have and probably with success. However more recently, I’ve either started to use one and quit halfway through a month, or just haven’t at all. I make enough to sustain my living (obviously) but somewhere down the road in the past few years I’ve found a budget more daunting than useful.

BUT that’s all about to change. I get paid on Friday, and I’m going to start with tracking my expenses again and giving every dollar a job. That means I’ll need to create and use a budget. I’ve checked out a few templates via Budgets are $exy, so I’ll start by checking those out again and maybe using one to start.

I track what I eat on a daily basis, my workouts, and even my progress at work. So why the hell am I not tracking my financial progress other than knowing what’s paid off and what isn’t?

How do you budget? Do you go old school with excel or pen and paper or do you use an online budgeting tool like YNAB, Mint, etc?

June Goals!

I’m excited for my first list of (financial) goals in a while! There is something satisfying about writing down some goals and exposing them to the public that makes you more likely to follow through. I want to set goals, but I want to be realistic. This is my first month back to trying to be more accountable for myself and my money so I’m taking baby steps here. Here is what I want to achieve this month:

  • Put at least $700 to my CC debt – I know in my previous post I said I can comfortably put $800 to my debt, BUT I also want to be realistic. I’ll be done paying off my personal loan on Friday, so that’s at least $351 I can put to my CC.
  • Sell ALL unwanted stuff, and toss the rest – I have a lot of stuff I’ve been holding on to because “I think I can sell it”. I’ll make an actual attempt to sell all this stuff this month, and if it isn’t gone by June 30, off to Goodwill it goes. I’ll be adding all that extra cash to my debt.
  • Use cash system for daily spending – Back in my young(er) day (circa 2008) I used a cash system for a while. I do think it made me more accountable for my spending, but nowadays with how many places I go in a single day and how spacey I can be, I don’t feel comfortable carrying around this much cash. So I’ll take out a weekly allowance for spending + gas, and leave my plastics at home.
  • Eat out less – I have to admit, living in LA has been bad for my diet and my wallet. I got a little lazy in May, and the deliciousness this city has to offer got the best of me. This is kind of a subjective goal, so I’ll aim to pack a lunch and snacks at least 4/5 days each week and track this goal daily in my Passion Planner.
  • Get bodyweight back under 130lb – Not PF related, and I may touch on what my fitness extracurricular of choice is nowadays, but with the above goal also came a little extra fluff. I will need to be at a certain weight by August 12th for a fitness related event, so I need to get a start on this sooner than later.

I’ll leave the goals there for now. I’ll be documenting my progress, and hoping to meet all of them! What are your goals for the upcoming month?

 

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