In my about me page, I provide some background on how I came to start this blog. I thought I should provide more detail and will use this post as the opportunity.
I, like I suspect many of you, bought my first car using cash. I worked and saved until I had enough to make the purchase. The car wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It had an unfinished repair from an accident, so didn’t look perfect. It was mechanically sound however. My dad always made that a priority. Choose a mechanically sound car over one that looks pretty or just has curb appeal.
As the years went by, I continued to buy most of my cars with cash. This was due much more to my lack of access to credit than to any conviction about buying cash cars.
When I graduated from college and started working as a business professional. Everyone I met at work bought their cars with credit. Most all bought new cars.
I remember especially how many of them went about buying their new cars with credit. These people could call their bank or credit union and have a loan approved the same day without ever going in. I was in awe of the access they had to credit. I thought these people must have plenty of money because they drove new cars and had easy access to credit. I was not alone in my view. This seems to be the predominate american view.
I wanted to be just like them. Soon, I was. Though I never got into the habit of buying new cars. I did buy on credit and reached the same level of credit access. I bought and sold my cars every few years.
I began to notice after a while a pattern emerged. I would buy a car and be so happy. After about a year, I would be looking at the car and it was just another car. Nothing special and nothing I particularly enjoyed driving. The one constant was the payments. I always had the payments.
Anyone else out there ever feel this way?
Even though I recognized this pattern, I kept on the same path. Every couple of years I would buy a different car on credit. It never crossed my mind to save and pay cash. After all, I had heard for years and from many sources “you will always have car payments.” Since I was going to have payments, I figured I may as well drive something I liked. So, I would buy another car.
My use of credit wasn’t limited to my cars. I also used and abused credit cards during this period. No matter how much I made, I tended to live beyond my means and did little to no financial planning. The result was waking up to find myself $70,000 in credit card debt on top of two car payments. It is really embarrassing to admit this type of financial failure.
I was, after all, a college educated sales professional. A former member of Mensa, so I had an above average intelligence. Yet, there I was very much in debt!
Does this sound like you?
I would like to say when I realized how in debt I was everything changed. It did not. I went through another several years yo-yoing back and forth between paying down my debt and running it back up.
This all changed in 2009 when I ran across Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” in a book store. This book resonated with me from the beginning. I found Dave’s story compelling and the conclusions he drew too logical to ignore. In fact, I liked the “Total Money Makeover” so much that I have since purchased multiple copies of this book and give them away to friends, family, and acquaintances to this day. I recommend you pick up a copy.
I then began to read all of Dave’s books and I listen to his radio show as often as I could. I especially appreciated that his principles were biblically based.
After reading Dave’s book I asked my wife to read it as well. After she did we both made sacrifices. We then started living within our means and paid off all our credit cards and car loans. We did this while my wife was on a 2 year leave of absence from work to finish college and raise our new daughter, who was born in 2010.
After all this debt was paid, we had only real estate mortgages as our remaining debt.
As I listened to Dave’s radio show, I often heard him tell people they needed to sell their car(s) and buy a beater. Dave does a great job of helping advise people on dumping their debt, but I thought this was one area I could provide some value. I started thinking about how I might help people buy a better “beater.” I knew with the car buying experiences I had, I could help people do just that.
I struggled with just how I could help. A personal buying service didn’t seem to make sense to me, as the people needing the help were strapped for cash and in a great deal of debt. They couldn’t afford to hire someone to help them buy a car that was going to cost under $5,000.
I thought about how I might be able to help these people for over a year before coming up with the idea for a blog. It took me another 10 months to take action and create the site you are now on and write my first post.
This is how I became the Cash Car Convert.
I think the tips I have provided so far in this blog’s posts have given the readers a high level overview of how to find and buy a car from a private seller and how to sell their car. I now plan to do a deeper dive into the areas most important to the buying and selling process.
I will also provide other blog posts detailing how auto debt is dangerous. And what I would do in various debt scenarios.
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Question: What aspects of the cash car buying or selling process would you like to hear more about? What questions do you have for me?