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  1. #1
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    Buy Cars You Can't Afford -- You Will Stay Broke!

    I missed this one by Dave Ramsey. It's a different story but worth discussing since half the visitors on this forum are motor centrist.

    I'm always amazed at how much people spend on new cars costing 90% of their annual salary. I don't know how people with modest salaries can commit to huge car loans while paying off student loans and credit cards. The caller's monthy payment is about half of what I spend all year in public transit.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    What a mess! If you want to be broke, buy a new car.

    No mention is made, of course, of living car-free.

  3. #3
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    The issue in this video seems to be mainly a good example of risky credit practices and how some people aren't capable of using a calculator.

    He likely could have initially bought a car that is closer to 40% of earned income, particularly as he shares it with his wife.

    He is probably a long way from the mental leap of going car-free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    He is probably a long way from the mental leap of going car-free.
    Especially if he has not yet even realized how expensive it is to buy new vs used.

  5. #5
    USA Huffy Enthusiast Johnny Mullet's Avatar
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    I keep saying to myself "Thank God I am a mechanic" because maintaining 3 vehicles can get expensive. I own a 95 Chevy 4X4 (not driven much except winter) and the wife and I each own a Geo Metro. Still cheaper than car payments.
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    Yikes!

    Although, there ARE ways to buy a new car effectively. I've only ever bought one new car, and thanks to a friend who worked for Ford for many years, coupled with end of year incentives and other programs; I managed to pick up a brand new Ford Focus, with a 5 speed manual and optional rear-disc brakes (otherwise pretty basic), for about $6500 less than MSRP, and for a couple grand less than most of the used offerings in the same generation. AND; here's the real kicker; I was able to take advantage of 0% financing through Ford; something not available for used cars. (At least, not often). One should always do the math! New cars finance cheaper than used cars. Usually, used is still cheaper. But incentives and discounts + 0% financing ended up being a very inexpensive way for me to get a car with a warranty that will last a long time. (The car I traded in had 297,000 miles on it. So I get my use out of them! Ha!)

    Wifes car we bought gently used and saved a buttload. Also; proper timing. She's wanted a convertible all her life. She finally got one. A 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Convertible. Sounds expensive right? Well, we bought it earlier this summer, when folks were already pre-ordering the 2015 models. It was used with 18,000 miles on it. The 2014 models were being heavily discounted (new!) and Ford was having a hard time selling the '14's, even at a discount, because of how radically new the 2015 models are. We went at the end of a slow month to a dealer we knew was struggling to meet it's sales quotas. A little browbeating and back-and-forth and even a scrutinizing the car and pointing out every single flaw I could find (Hey, they are a business. Out to make money. It's silly not to have the same motivations as the buyer. You're not hurting anyones feelings). The car was sold new 6 months prior, and they still had it's original window sticker. (Original owner decided he really wanted a GT, not a V6) We drove it home for $14,000 less than what was on that window sticker. The salesman later admitted to me, and showed me the "do not show to customer" invoice too, that they ended up letting it go for a couple grand less than they gave the original owner on trade in. But they were worried it would sit and depreciate further when the 15's hit the road. (Especially a V6 Convertible. Which is an oddly tough sell; because the convertible option costs about the same as the V8 GT option. And so a lot of folks would rather have a hard-top GT than a V6 convertible. Me included; but not my wife!)

  7. #7
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Come on guys.

    If nobody ever buys the new cars, how will I ever find affordable used cars?

    Just think, in 20 years, that $50,000 Jeep may be almost affordable.

    One thing the presenter didn't mention, PAY OFF THE CREDIT CARD LOANS.

    The guy may have an advantage over the rest of us. He and his wife may well get either government housing, or government housing subsidies. So, while we may pay a good chunk of our income into housing, he may not. Of course, in 20 years (or less), he'll be out on the street without any housing equity either.

    I'm not a "mechanic", but like Johnny, I do all of my own car maintenance. It saves a LOT... well, when something goes wrong, and allows me to use older cars.

    The person on the call may have problems though. As "Active Duty", his wife will have to fend for herself when he is shipped off overseas. So, there is a benefit of "reliable". Still $600 / month in car payments pays for a lot of maintenance.

    Again, if they are "on base", 99% of what they need should be available within reach of a bicycle. Rent a car for that additional 1% of needs. Could they invest in a community car? Share it between a half dozen families?

  8. #8
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    Then there are cars that are affordable and cost less to own to the point where...


    I make the payments, insurance, fuel for 2 vehicles for less money than just running 1 vehicle...


    I just figured out our expenses for the whole year to run my old truck and new Prius...


    Turns out that I saved $65.50 per month for the whole year running both, ($786 for the year) even tho I had payments for the Prius, If I also wouldn't have run my old truck I would have saved $2,400 for the whole year as compared to the cost of just using my old truck for everything all year,(even tho it's all paid for)...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
    What a mess! If you want to be broke, buy a new car.

    No mention is made, of course, of living car-free.
    Dave Ramsey does not believe in living carfree. He is a motor centrist and even has a bogus savings "Plan" one could use to have a free car the rest of their lives. I should create a thread on that one but it's not worth it.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Does anybody think it's bizarre that there's a thread full of tips for buying cars in a carfree forum?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Does anybody think it's bizarre that there's a thread full of tips for buying cars in a carfree forum?
    Yes ... but why not talk about cars. It seems to be a favourite topic in this forum. People here don't seem to like talking about living car free ... or even living car light for that matter. <<shrug>>

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yes ... but why not talk about cars. It seems to be a favourite topic in this forum. People here don't seem to like talking about living car free ... or even living car light for that matter. <<shrug>>
    Now I think you're exaggerating a bit. There must be 50 or 100 carfree threads for every one thread that's about cars.

    One or two regular posters seem to be the ones who usually steer threads away from carfree topics. You know who they are as well as I do.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    "Poor people use money to buy stuff, Rich people use money to make more money" - Skepticmoney
    Assume nothing; Question everything

  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Buy STUFF/ANYTHING you can't afford -- You will stay broke!

    Who wudda thunk it?

  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
    The guy may have an advantage over the rest of us. He and his wife may well get either government housing, or government housing subsidies. So, while we may pay a good chunk of our income into housing, he may not. Of course, in 20 years (or less), he'll be out on the street without any housing equity either.
    The service member will be no worse off financially, and perhaps be in better financial shape than someone else who was paying rent out of his own pocket for 20 years.

    I worked with active duty service members for many years. Not one would ever voluntarily include government provided benefits such as free housing or housing subsidies when asked about yearly income.

    Of course not all were financial morons buying stuff they couldn't afford; some even bought reasonably priced new/used cars that fit within their budget and served their transportation needs.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    I missed this one by Dave Ramsey. It's a different story but worth discussing since half the visitors on this forum are motor centrist.

    I'm always amazed at how much people spend on new cars costing 90% of their annual salary. I don't know how people with modest salaries can commit to huge car loans while paying off student loans and credit cards. The caller's monthy payment is about half of what I spend all year in public transit.

    This seems pretty obvious to me, but it's about more than cars. Cars can be stupid, there's no doubt about it. But it's really about debt. If you want to go broke, borrow money for anything. Except for my mortgage, which I view as rent control, not an investment, my rule of thumb is this: if you can't afford to buy it outright, you can't afford it.

    And as far as cars are concerned, even if you buy one outright, it's going to cost you, low fuel prices be damned. My last car that I owned was paid for, and it was a very low-end car. Even so, the insurance alone was more than I now pay for my combined car-free local transportation costs.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  17. #17
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Most of us have driven, owned cars, and decided to adopt a car free lifestyle or a car light lifestyle so it is a topic of interest for many.

    My 23 year old Jeep cost $1900.00 and came with a full set of new winter tires on new rims and new tires on the stock mags, the level of maintenance on this vehicle was superb and it runs like new.

    The 21 year old car cost me 1.00.

    I paid cash for both.

    The car sees the most use as it is small and fuel efficient, the Jeep gets used for work related hauling and for when we have apocalyptic weather... it is also nice on long winter road trips by virtue of it's better seating and storage for 4 people and a bunch of gear.

    We still ride the crap out of our bikes and in the winter, when most have stopped riding, we just mount the studded tyres and ride. We use the vehicles sparingly and the cost of insuring two vehicles is not much more than insuring one when you have such a good rating.

    My wife and I have spent nearly 20 years (combined) as car free people... now we drive a little more when the situation demands and we will never borrow or take out a car loan.

  18. #18
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    Some of us know the secret to spending the absolute minimum on cars. It's so damn simple

  19. #19
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RomansFiveEight View Post
    Yikes!

    Although, there ARE ways to buy a new car effectively. I've only ever bought one new car, and thanks to a friend who worked for Ford for many years, coupled with end of year incentives and other programs; I managed to pick up a brand new Ford Focus, with a 5 speed manual and optional rear-disc brakes (otherwise pretty basic), for about $6500 less than MSRP, and for a couple grand less than most of the used offerings in the same generation. AND; here's the real kicker; I was able to take advantage of 0% financing through Ford; something not available for used cars. (At least, not often). One should always do the math! New cars finance cheaper than used cars. Usually, used is still cheaper. But incentives and discounts + 0% financing ended up being a very inexpensive way for me to get a car with a warranty that will last a long time. (The car I traded in had 297,000 miles on it. So I get my use out of them! Ha!)

    Wifes car we bought gently used and saved a buttload. Also; proper timing. She's wanted a convertible all her life. She finally got one. A 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Premium Convertible. Sounds expensive right? Well, we bought it earlier this summer, when folks were already pre-ordering the 2015 models. It was used with 18,000 miles on it. The 2014 models were being heavily discounted (new!) and Ford was having a hard time selling the '14's, even at a discount, because of how radically new the 2015 models are. We went at the end of a slow month to a dealer we knew was struggling to meet it's sales quotas. A little browbeating and back-and-forth and even a scrutinizing the car and pointing out every single flaw I could find (Hey, they are a business. Out to make money. It's silly not to have the same motivations as the buyer. You're not hurting anyones feelings). The car was sold new 6 months prior, and they still had it's original window sticker. (Original owner decided he really wanted a GT, not a V6) We drove it home for $14,000 less than what was on that window sticker. The salesman later admitted to me, and showed me the "do not show to customer" invoice too, that they ended up letting it go for a couple grand less than they gave the original owner on trade in. But they were worried it would sit and depreciate further when the 15's hit the road. (Especially a V6 Convertible. Which is an oddly tough sell; because the convertible option costs about the same as the V8 GT option. And so a lot of folks would rather have a hard-top GT than a V6 convertible. Me included; but not my wife!)
    Wow they sound like great deals. One thing I learned from your post was those optional rear disk brakes. I thought *all* cars have disk brakes all-round as standard, had no idea this was not a standard feature. Was your Focus bought recently or many years ago (even then, I thought all-round disks were standard, it's something i never thought of investigating)?
    1 cx bike, commuter (light off road), 2 road bikes (sportives and fair weather commuter), 1 mtb (off road fun and antics)

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Most Americans have no idea what a car really co$t$!
    All they hear " . . . we'll save you $9,000 on this vehicle blah/blah/blah . . . PLUS will give you a 32" FREE TV set. . . no money down, we'll make the first payment and only $$$$ a month for 72 months!
    Or: " . . . drive it away for just your signature!"
    Consumer beware!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Dave Ramsey does not believe in living carfree. He is a motor centrist and even has a bogus savings "Plan" one could use to have a free car the rest of their lives. I should create a thread on that one but it's not worth it.
    And living car free isn't always an option. It might make a lot of sense in urban areas (If I lived in an Urban area, even though I'm kind of a motorhead, I could consider being car free. If not, I'd almost certainly have an inexpensive electric car, ala Nissan Leaf or Focus Electric)

    I put 10,000 miles on my motorcycle, and 18,000 miles on my car this year. (Down from 15k bike/24k car last year) Granted some of that was recreational, but my situation just does not allow for car-free. Though, of course, at least some of those miles could be reduced with a Bicycle (but I'd still have to own the car!)

    I don't necessarily need the car I have though. Heck, I could've kept my old car with 297,000 miles on it. It IS okay to spend money, as long as you've got the money, are doing all that you can not to spend too much, and you don't spend money you don't have! After a healthy down payment, our car payments (And we actually have two of them!) are well below the 20% 'threshold' most experts say (meaning, your car payments should total less than 20% of your take-home pay each month). Both my wife and I are paid salary with good job security, which helps predict the future a little better. We get the exact same check each and every month, and that's nice for the budget!

    But, I bought my car new and my wifes car is a convertible sports car. So neither car was entirely a financially-focused decision. But we also didn't spend beyond our means, and when we knew what we wanted, we sought out the most inexpensive ways to get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mustang1 View Post
    Wow they sound like great deals. One thing I learned from your post was those optional rear disk brakes. I thought *all* cars have disk brakes all-round as standard, had no idea this was not a standard feature. Was your Focus bought recently or many years ago (even then, I thought all-round disks were standard, it's something i never thought of investigating)?
    Same reaction I had when I started researching. It's a 2014! It arrived from the factory on December 5th, 2013. The automatic transmission is a $2,600 option on that car (or at least, it was when I bought mine). And yet we couldn't find a single one with a manual (except for a one base models, with drum rear brakes and no cruise control, several states away. With the discount I got the price was the same whether we ordered or bought from a lot, so no way I wasn't getting exactly what I wanted). But the "Sport package" is $995. And it includes beefier seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, rear disc brakes, some suspension tweaks and upgrades, AND special 'sport' wheels and tires (the tires are still all-season tires that you'd expect on a compact car. But I guess they are better all-season tires than the 'base model', I dunno). The rear disc brakes also come with the 'comfort' package, and come on the top-tier "Titanium" trim level (There's three trim levels, S, SE, Titanium. I have an SE w/ Sport Package. Which I firmly believe is the best bang for the buck on that car. For just a bit more than a base model 'S', you get real wheels instead of steel wheels and plastic covers, you get cruise control, you get voice-activated sync and the ability to connect to your phone via bluetooth for music and hands free calling, you get a better stereo, and with the sport package you get even more benefits. Ditch the $2,600 automatic and you've pretty much paid for the upgrade to the SE Sport package. With my discount I paid less than the bare-bones S models on the lot, thanks in part to the discount and to saving money with the much more fun manual transmission. Titanium has leather, premium sound, navigation, automatic climate control, all of that stuff. But, it's a big price jump and stuff I can live without.)

    Actually the Titanium Focus is a cool idea. The market is the luxury mid-sized sedan buyer who wants something compact. Easy to park, easy to maintain, easy on gas. It's expensive, it can be optioned near $30,000 (for a FOCUS!). But it includes every amenity you can think of. Leather, a huge touch-screen with navigation, blind spot monitors; you can even get the feature where the car parallel parks by itself. Rear view cameras (those are standard on the 2015 model though, unsure if drums are still standard on the '15's), I mean it's crazy! Basically, a loaded Ti Focus is a loaded Taurus squished down into a 36mpg compact platform.

    Oh, and there's the "ST" trim level. No automatic option, 6 speed manual is all you get. And it's basically a titanium, you know with the navigation and leather and all that. So nothing too special. Well, and the option of a 5-point harness with your recaro racing seats, huge brakes, stiff suspension, big wheels. Oh, and a turbocharger (Now that's a cool car, but it costs as much as a Mustang!)

    But evidently, there's a few cars in that segment where rear drums are standard. Yuck! A pain to maintain, they don't shed heat, they have to be cleaned. Nope! I have the rear discs. The car is black and I even painted the calipers red (Hey, just cause it's an econo-car doesn't mean it can't be cool.)

    American culture prefers to buy 'off the shelf'. But I can't imagine ANYONE who actually researched the trim levels and option packages foregoing the Sport package. The rear disc brakes alone are worth the $995. Though, frankly, rear discs should be standard.

    My wifes motorcycle is a 2011 and it has rear drum brakes! MECHANICAL drum brakes to boot! (Mine has hydraulic disc front and back. Though they are not power assisted like cars. Unsure if any motorcycles have power assisted hydraulic disc brakes. Not sure I'd WANT power assisted. The 'feel' is important.)

  22. #22
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    People who badly manage their money and debt go broke. So what? Cars aren't the only debt creator. Houses, boats, travel, furniture, school fees, heck even for some food and even expensive bikes have triggered bankruptcy for the overgeared.

    Image -- keeping up with the Jonses -- is a significant driver of debt troubles. As ZT said, it's a case of buyer beware. But that's hard for those who are just plain dumb.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  23. #23
    No Bike For You! Stucky's Avatar
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    All my life, I've absolutely refused to live in debt- ESPECIALLY for vehicles. I can not live car-free (Althopugh the aesthetic is very appealing) as I now live in a very rural area, and have to travel longer distances to do the basic things- and often hauling large/heavy items- but I was raised car-free, and was car-free until about age 22 (lived in urban and suburban environments then) and do miss the simplicity and freedom of not having to be tied to vehicles and all of their requisites.

    But the idea of living with a car payment has always been SO repugnant to me. I've always lived by the mantra that if I can't pay cash, I can't afford it- whatever it is. As a result, I live on a small income (by choice, as I'd rather have time than money) yet I live nicely, because I have NO debt; I minimize my tax obligations; and spend my money wisely. I get disgusted when I see people who make far more than I, complaining about how poor they are; or even begging for help/accepting entitlements.

    If you will live within your means, you can live nicely on very little. Just a few obligations/debts (Smart phones; cable TV; car payment....) can make all the difference between feeling like a pauper and living paycheck-to-paycheck, or being in control of your own life and having cash on-hand when you need it.

    I am grateful that I was raised to reject debt!
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  24. #24
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
    All my life, I've absolutely refused to live in debt- ESPECIALLY for vehicles. I can not live car-free (Althopugh the aesthetic is very appealing) as I now live in a very rural area, and have to travel longer distances to do the basic things- and often hauling large/heavy items- but I was raised car-free, and was car-free until about age 22 (lived in urban and suburban environments then) and do miss the simplicity and freedom of not having to be tied to vehicles and all of their requisites.
    This if OT, but I agree with you. Living without a car seems to be more of an urban thing.

    But if you really miss the freedom, urban is always a possibility...

  25. #25
    No Bike For You! Stucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    This if OT, but I agree with you. Living without a car seems to be more of an urban thing.

    But if you really miss the freedom, urban is always a possibility...
    Haha! NOoooo!!!!! Urban/suburban life imposes far more restrictions on one's freedom, than does living in the country and having to maintain a couple of vehicles.

    Although, when I was younger, urban life wasn't quite as bad as it is today; and plus as a kid, I didn't have the necessity of earning a living and all of that. Also, where I lived then, it was possible to do everyhting one could imagine within walking distance, without suffering any hardships. Today, that would not be possible, even in the same place, as car culture progresses more and more, and downtowns deteriorate; and living in more populated places exposes one to more traffic/noise/car-culture than ever.

    Although I am forced to drive where I now live, the good news is: when I am not actually driving, I don't have to be around traffic/parked cars and such, like one does in the city, even if they've never driven a car in their life. [It seems like American cities and towns are made more for cars than people. The car is predominate; everything else takes a back-seat to it...]]

    I guess I am "car light" though- as i drive less than 3000 miles a year- essentially only going to town two or three times a month. It's not the vehicles that I mind so much, as I can repair and maintain them myself- but rather, having to have a license to use them; registrations; insurance; being subject to interference by armed government agents for something as minor as a bulb burning-out enroute unbeknownst to me.

    I'm intrigued by this sub-forum though; I guess because it keeps a romantic ideal alive in my mind, knowing that others are also into this sort of mentality [of living simply; and car-free].
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
    Ride more and get fit, it doesn't matter what you're riding, it's about your fitness, not the frame material. You'll be better for it....

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