Lately I’ve been thinking about buying a new car. I’ve had my car since 2002 and it has over 130,000 miles on it. I think it’s time to find a replacement. It still runs well (it’s been well maintained), but I think it’s getting old enough that I’ll soon be sinking money into it for repairs as things break down.
So, I’ve been looking. In the past, I’ve been slightly impulsive when it came to buying new cars. This time, I’ve been taking my time and checking different cars out online. Also, I’ve decided to get a used car, in order to avoid the financial mistake of taking the initial hit in value that comes with a new car.
The other thing, besides taking the time to make the right decision on the car itself, is waiting to purchase while I put money aside from my normal budget to make sure I have a decent down payment (and therefore lower monthly payments). Again, this isn’t something I would have done when I was younger when buying a car.
So, no impulsive decision making and spending. This time, I have a plan.
Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way of the plan.
Yesterday, when leaving work I turned on the heat in my car. It made a noise. It was a noise it never made before. The heat still worked, and the noise subsided after a bit, so I didn’t think too much of it. Until this morning.
This morning, on the way to work, I again turned the heat on. No noise, but no heat either. The fan was blowing, but it was cold air. Thinking, at first, that maybe the engine wasn’t warm enough yet, even though I’d been driving for a while, I looked at the temperature gauge. Not only was the engine warm enough that I should have heat, but it was hotter than usual. Not overheating, but much higher than normal, especially for a chilly morning.
So, life gets in the way of the plan. Now I have a decision to make. Do I start sinking money into repairs for a car that I’m planning on getting rid of in a few months (which would end up pushing back my time frame for replacing it)? Or, do I go ahead and replace it now, before I’ve got the whole amount I had planned for the down payment set aside?
It’s frustrating because it’s really only a couple of months earlier than I had planned on replacing it, but I don’t have the money set aside specifically for that purchase, and it would take a little time to move money around from elsewhere to make up the difference (for the first time in my life I actually have money in savings and investments, which is good, but it makes that money a little less accessible).