Some other recent discussions got me to thinking. I didn’t want to hijack another thread so I started this one. Buying a brand new car seems like a frivolous use of money. For $19,000 I should be able to get a decent used car AND a decent used truck. I’m thinking, like, a 1 or 2 year old version of that Mitsubishi Mirage that someone else bought new and decided was too primitive to be tolerable, and I swoop in and buy it for like $8,000. Of course you’ve gotta be in the right place at the right time to find a sweetheart deal like that.
I see several problems in buying a used econobox. First, the best ones are priced almost as much as a new one. Second, there seem to be very few with manual transmissions (Apparently the people who buy these cars have the same mentality I do - gonna keep it for many years - so they don’t turn up very often as used cars). Thirdly, many people treat these econoboxes as throwaway cars and don’t maintain them properly, so by the time they turn up on a used car lot with 100,000+ miles on them, they’re almost junk. Forthly, with all the hurricanes, storms, and floods in recent years, you can never really be sure you’re not getting a flood car. Buying new avoids all these hassles. Maybe that’s why new cars cost more?
I’ve been looking at these used car buyers magazines you pick up for free in front of convenience stores, and all the ads are 99.44% pure deception. First of all, EVERY ad seems to start with, “No Credit, Bad Credit, Bankruptcy, No Problem” “Your Pay Stub Is Your Credit” “Buy Here Pay Here” Nobody wants to sell a car to anyone with good credit, cause that’s not where the BIG MONEY is. (I know we’ve already discussed here, ad nauseum, how the “buy here pay here” model works and how extraordinarily profitable it is. " There’s no money to be made in cash sales."- Captain Obvious)
Not many of the cars advertised include a price, its mostly just $X,XXX “down”; OR, $XXX per month (or week). Even fewer ads state the mileage on the vehicle, they all say “good miles” or “low miles”. All of this makes it darn near impossible to tell what used cars are ACTUALLY selling for.
All these factors make buying a “NEW” car seem quite reasonable. You know it hasn’t been wrecked, flooded, thrashed, abused, or neglected. Buy new, maintain it by the book, keep it for 15 - 20 years, perhaps the high upfront cost can be justified by amortizing it over many trouble-free years of driving pleasure? And when you buy new, you can configure it just the way you want it without making compromises. Color, transmission, floor mats, lighting, privacy tray, “Have It Your Way”, without compromise, and that sounds pretty good to me. . .
But I’m wondering, have I gotten too “soft” and lazy for my own good? Back when I was young, I was more than willing to spend days or weeks making phone calls and driving all over town to squeeze out an extra $20 or $50 dollars of savings on a major purchase. NOW, I contemplate spending the next 6 months to a year reading car ads, looking up blue book values, visiting various dealerships and interacting with pushy obnoxious commissioned salesmen, and I think, heck, just pony up the $19 grand and buy the brand new car and avoid all that hassle, time, and risk in finding the best used car. Of course, I’ve been working overtime, scrimping, saving, and living frugally for close to 3 decades now. I guess I’m just not “broke and hungry” like I used to be. 20 years ago I would have relished the challenge of finding that diamond-in-the-rough used car deal. Today, it just seems like nothing but hassle. I guess I am getting old. . .
Hey, if any or all of you are sick and tired of my bellyaching, you don’t have to read this or respond to it. Whoops, guess I should have put this line first.