When I was in my 20’s, I used to think I had to have a new car every few years. I went from a Ford Focus, to a Chevy Monte Carlo to a Ford Escape in about a 3 year time span. Ah the stupid, stupid mistakes I made when I was just starting out. I can now look back on them and laugh (and it makes good stories to write about)!
My current car is a 2005 silver Mazda 6.I bought it in May of 2005, brand new, and have driven it ever since. I love that car. It had everything I wanted when I got it (and still does). It’s the sporty kind with the moon roof and the Bose stereo system. It’s just perfect for me.
Life Without a Car Payment
My Mazda 6 was paid off in the fall of 2009 and at the time, the payments were $415/mo. Seriously! What was I thinking taking on that kind of car payment? Over the two years I’ve been without a payment, I’ve saved myself $9,960. Yes that’s right, nearly $10,000 in savings just because I continue to drive a car that is paid off!
5 Reasons Why I am Keeping My Older Car (and hopefully driving it until the wheels fall off!)
- Cheaper insurance – I have full coverage on my car but my insurance rates on the car are cheaper because my car is older (I know because I’ve compared the rates) .
- Lower personal property taxes – Yes in this lovely state we not only pay taxes when we buy the car but we also pay annual personal property taxes on our vehicles. The amount of tax paid is based on the assessed value of the car. My personal property taxes are around $200/year on the car. The first few years I had my car I think it was around $500-$600/yr so I’m saving around $350/year on average by driving an older car.
- No car payment! – This is one of the greatest feelings ever! I’ve grown accustomed to not having a car payment so I can’t imagine going back to paying $415 a month to drive a car.
- Frees up my money – With no $415 a month car payment, I’m able to buy other things, pay off debt or put that money in savings.
- Security – I own it free and clear. Period.
Downfalls of Driving an Older Car
While the monthly savings is nice, I do have to worry a little more about my car breaking down. I’ve been lucky with this car that I haven’t had to make too many repairs. But even a few annual repairs do not add up to the $4,980 I was paying a year in car payments. I’ve had 2 dead batteries, new brakes and about 3 sets of new tires ( I used to commute nearly 100 miles every day) since I’ve had the car. Even with those costs, I’m still guessing I’m about $8,000 ahead.
When you drive an older car (or even a newer car for that matter) you must take care of it. Make sure to get regular oil changes and have a mechanic you trust check it out every once in awhile to make sure everything is ok. I was actually told by my mechanic my car was in good shape for having over 100,000 miles on it! That’s good because I’m not planning on trading it anytime soon 🙂
What do you think about driving an older car? Would you do it and if no, why not? If you do drive an older car, how much has it saved you?