Dude, I Totaled My Car

This past Saturday I had a wee-bit of a car accident that I was very fortunate to walk away from. My car on the other hand didn’t make it. My ’99 Jetta lasted me almost 7 years and 80,000 miles. I cleaned it out yesterday and walked away from it. I was shocked at how easy it was to walk away from something that has been with me for so long, but without any utility and looking like a piece of modern art (I can’t stand modern art), I said “peace out” and started looking in my mailbox for the insurance check.

I have gone through every aspect and permutation of my life in the past few days. Even though my career is metro accessible, I still need a car. It’s not fun to HAVE to buy a car. I would rather be able to stick to my plan and use my “new car” sub account to buy a new vehicle 4-5 years from now. Well, life happens, doesn’t it?

Here is the full sitch, with the insurance payout, my primary savings, my new car savings and a bit of extra cash, I have about $7,000 cash I can put towards a vehicle. That is a good start and makes it so that I have several options. Speaking of options, this is what I am looking at.

  • Buy a used POS for less than the insurance payout and hope it lasts for a year or maybe two.
  • Buy a decent used car that hopefully has some legs to it. Maybe spend $5000-$8000 for something that will last 4 years.
  • Buy a good used car, make a car payment and have something that will last me 10 years.
  • Buy a new car, help stimulate the economy (Japan’s economy – probably going Honda), make car payments and drive the car until I am 40 (15 years).
  • Go on the Price is Right, win a new car and invest the insurance money into my Roth IRA! (Thanks Dave for the ecouragment)

All of these options are good and bad, but I need to make the best out of a bad situation.  Now, I will say that I am not someone who LOVES their car. I enjoy my car, primarily for it’s utility.

So here I am, trying to make an economic decision that will drastically impact my life for the 10+ years. This will be my biggest purchase, outside of a house in the next 15 years, so I feel that it’s important not to screw it up. That’s right, if I get a new car, I am driving that car into the ground. Heck, if I get a used car, the same applies.

What’s a guy to do that doesn’t want to start making car payments, but realizes that this is maybe the best opportunity i will ever see to buy a new car? There are rebates, financing incentives, etc. all making this THE time to buy. Not to mention, it’s summer and isn’t their usually a huge 4th of July sale coming up for most dealers?

Yeah, you can tell I am leaning towards a new vehicle, but I am open to hearing anyone else’s thoughts. I may be in virgin territory here. How many PF bloggers start their blog preaching conscious spending, getting out of debt, and accumulating wealth and then two weeks later, goes out and finances a new car?

I have not made up my mind, but I don’t want to put good money after bad (because that is just dumb). Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

11 Responses to Dude, I Totaled My Car
  1. J. Money
    June 25, 2009 | 10:21 am

    You already know my opinion – get a used pimpmobile and drive around in style 😉 you can use all that money you save every month on future dates! bow chicka wha wha…

  2. Brian
    June 25, 2009 | 10:47 am

    I know J, but there is something that “The Man” said that has me conflicted. http://tinyurl.com/l8ftm7

    Research Time!

  3. Craig
    June 25, 2009 | 3:30 pm

    Just get something decent and pimp it around anyways. Girls could care less about cars, not sure if you are a car person or not. Agree with J. take the money and buy some girls shots at the bars.

  4. Judy
    June 26, 2009 | 1:23 pm

    Man, I feel your pain. I have a Ford Escape with 117K+ miles on it, and I just got notice that I will be laid off from my current job (last day Nov 30). I know there are things that need fixing on the Escape immediately so I’m torn between spending the $ to fix it or putting that cash towards a new/used car. I think I’ll be out looking over the July 4th weekend too…

  5. Angie
    June 28, 2009 | 9:44 am

    I haven’t read much of your blog, but if it was me I would be basing the new cars expected life with my debt repayment plan. For example, if your current plans have you paying off your debt in 2 years I would get a car with a 3+ years life left so it wouldn’t die in the middle of the repayment schedule. If you have no debt, or will be finished paying off in a year, I would likely go for a new or 1-year old vehicle.

  6. MLR
    July 1, 2009 | 10:18 am

    Craig —

    *SOME* girls don’t care about cars (at least the ones worth dating) :)

    And I would say buying a girl a shot at the bar is the WORST investment possible, haha.

  7. Coupon Ninja
    July 5, 2009 | 4:18 pm

    My husband and I were in a wreck of such earlier in the year. It totaled our Jeep out because of a broken rear axle. Fortunately we live in a state of salvage and rebuilt titles so we took the 3K the insurance company gave us and turned around and used 1K to fix her. She’s got 180K miles on her, we can squeeze a few more out of it I think. I am such a miser… 3K would not have bought a good enough car for us and we can’t afford a car payment.

    I’d say spring for a fairly decent used car, or better yet, ride out these deals of all these car dealerships that are liquidating their assets and find a good bargain. Pay some, finance some if you need to.

  8. Brian
    July 8, 2009 | 4:01 pm

    @CouponNinja – I am still going through the process. I am anxious to see what i will end up doing, let alone anxious to have a car again. I found a great car for $2400 and then the guy flaked on me :(. I may go for something used and cheap and see how long it lasts. If i have a bad experience using Craigslist to buy a vehicle, i may just simply say “lesson learned – let me go finance myself a car”.

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