Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is James Kinson and I am a Cash Car Convert. I hope after spending a little time on my blog and learning the benefits of owning a cash car as I build my case, you too will become a convert.
Why buy a cash car you might ask? Well, I believe too many people spend what could be their retirement savings or kids’ college funds on cars they can’t afford and don’t need. They may want them, but I don’t believe they need them.
Let me use my first new car buying experience as a case in point.
When I was 21 years old, I just had to have a new car and not just any new car, I had to have a Pontiac Trans Am. And not just any Pontiac Trans Am, but a Pontiac Trans Am with the High Performance package and a Hurst 4 speed.
At the time I was making $8500 a year working in a warehouse. Did this stop me from buying a new car for $8300? Nope! I was living at home with mom and dad, so, I figured it didn’t matter how much of my money went to my car. After all, it was a black on black Trans Am with a big gold bird on the hood, right? I just knew it would make me cool.
So, I bought the car and started with four years of car payments at $244/mo. I don’t remember my exact interest rate at the time. Prime was about 11% and I had no credit, so it had to be higher. Also, I had never purchased car insurance, and didn’t know an agent, so, I financed that in with the car as well. Not very smart as you will see later.
The same year I bought my new car there was an oil crisis and gas shot from about $0.60 a gallon to about $1.60. This was quite a hit for me, as my car got 12 miles to the gallon in town and about 14 on the highway. I figure while I owned this car gas cost me between $1,400 and $1600 a year. Ouch!
My dream car quickly became a nightmare that lasted over the next two plus years. From day one it had a starting problem that Pontiac never could figure out. So, sometimes it would not start and I would have to get a jump start on my brand new car just to get home. It took about 18 months to find the solution to this problem. It was solved by local tune up shop who discovered a broken wire under the distributor cap. American car quality was not at an all time high in 1978.
At the end of year one, I received a notice that I needed to get more insurance for year two of my car loan. This caught me off guard, as I thought four years of insurance had been priced in (obviously I didn’t read the contract). I did nothing about the notice, which led to about a $30 increase in my payment as insurance was again added to my loan. So, I was now paying $274/mo in year two. In year three the same thing happened and my payments went to about $311. I know how stupid my decisions were and how much it cost me. At the time, though, I was so naive and I didn’t ask anyone for help. I was too embarrassed.
As I prepared to sale the car, car payments and insurance for the 27 months of ownership put me out $7149. I sold the car for about $3400 and was glad to see it go. This new car purchase was a costly lesson for me, but one I learned well. Maybe you can learn a few things from it too.
I have made many other mistakes buying and selling cars since then, as you will read if you stick around. I never did buy myself another new car. (Full disclosure, I have purchased two new cars for a spouse. One in the 80’s and one in the 90’s.
I hope you enjoyed reading this moment of education in my life and avoid some of my mistakes.
Please comeback soon and give me a chance to make you a “Cash Car Convert”.
Question: What was the worst car buying decision you ever made?