The Finance Superhero Rules for Car Buying


I launched FinanceSuperhero in April 2016 to help others save money, get out of debt, earn more money, and live the best life possible. Send me an e-mail or a comment if I can help you in your journey. Thanks for reading!

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7 Responses

  1. This is a great post and one I will bookmark for my kids to read (age 20 and 17). We made some stupid car buying decisions years ago but at least we still have the cars now (and we’ll drive them until they die). I laughed out loud about the maintenance part above. I have a relative who has no money (and huge debt) who just went out and bought a new car because she didn’t want to have to pay all the repair bills on a used car…. So rather than paying a few hundred dollars here and there – she’ll be paying $350 a month for YEARS (like 6 years). I tried to send her information but once she got sucked in at the dealer, there was nothing changing her mind. The new car “high” is almost like a drug…

  2. What?!?!? No Lambos on the list?!?!

    Sure, sure, it’s kinda hard to squeeze a baby’s carseat into most Lambos, and, okay, they’re not like super fuel efficient, and, yes, maintenance costs can be a tad high… But come on! If you’re pulling six figs a year, why not treat yourself to an Italian depreciation machine priced 2x or 3x your pre-tax income??! To hell with reason! You’re a big deal!

    Cheers, Hero.

  3. All very sound advice FSH. I too have been guilty of status over practicality in the past. My worst buy was a beautiful black Mercedes SUV with dark windows, mean mag wheels and just looked so the part (although in hindsight I probably looked like a pimp or drug dealer). It was beautiful to drive, that is until the turbo blew while on a road trip. When you take into account the cost or accommodation, the trip home via alternative transport, trip back to pick up, new turbo and workshop costs, I’d say $6k. Got rid of it soon after and have never driven anything since where running costs and reliability didn’t come way above trying to impress anyone. Yup take it from someone who know’s, listen to FSH’s advice on this one.

  4. Great Article and Good Advice. Going into debt for a car is crazy. It’s so easy for something to become more than it’s actual purpose. This is true for a lot more things than just cars. Because you really need it!

  5. These are some sound rules, man! Most people will struggle with the status issue, but after a while, anyone can get used to anything – a rubbish car or a luxurious one. They all still get you from A to B!

    The only time I would say that buying a fancier car is acceptable is if you can get a special discount from your employer, which would absorb your interest payments and some of the depreciation. That’s what I did a couple of years ago when I bought a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST – a 182 bhp little beast. I don’t have it anymore because I moved country, but I do often miss it… then the moment passes and I realise that my current car is just as good a car 🙂

  6. Andrew says:

    Great advice on car buying!

    I’m always a little perplexed at people who buy cars as a status symbol (I know two people at work that have done that). It just never made sense to me…I mean cars are depreciating assets.

    Plus, what’s the point of having a super fast sports car? You’ll just rack up speeding tickets!

  7. Danielle says:

    All great advice, however, I am far more conservative when it comes to suggested vehicles. Your chart suggests a 2016 Audi A5 for my income level, which I would never in a million years purchase. I own (outright) a 2012 Honda Civic which is a perfectly fine car. It runs great, gets wonderful gas mileage, is easy to maintain and has plenty of room. There are many people in my life who wonder why I drive such a car when I make enough to afford something “nicer.” Cars are expensive, I would much invest the additional $20k it would have cost me to by the Audi.

    I love your list of all the motives; I hear people use these all the time. And I also always recommend to buy USED!

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