Tomorrow morning I will be bringing my car in to the dealership for service. This will be the fourth time I've brought it in, in the last month. I drive a 2005 Honda Accord with 83,000 miles. Up until around 82,000 miles, it ran wonderfully. Then suddenly, around Christmas of last year, it started having one problem after another. In just the last couple of months, I've replaced the power steering seals, the power steering pump, and the entire transmission. It didn't cost me one cent. Why? Because when I bought this car back in March of 2005, I also purchased a six year, 100,000 mile extended warranty from Honda. I'm normally against extended warranties, but for big ticket purchases that I keep a long time, such as cars and Apple computers, I want to not have to pay expensive repairs. Just in the last couple of months, that warranty has probably paid for itself. I also know myself. When I buy a car, it's for the long haul. I buy a car and drive it until it falls apart. I drove my previous car - a 1999 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for 6 1/2 years, 147,000 miles and 5 accidents (only one my fault!). I beat that car to death before it finally died and I had to buy this Accord. I bought this car fully intending to do the same. I just never thought that a Honda with less than 100,000 miles and having never been in an accident would be less reliable than a 300HP Chevy sports car that's been through 5 accidents. It's time to replace this car.
However, I am not going to replace it yet. I'm going to suffer through this hassle until it hits 100,000 miles and that warranty expires. I estimate that it will hit that point 11 months from now. Why? Because that warranty is my 'free ride'. I could replace the whole engine in the next 11 months and it still wouldn't cost me a penny. Is it aggravating to be constantly fixing it? Yes. But it's worth the money to put up with the hassle. Once that warranty expires though, this thing is history.
But I will not be buying a new car. I will be buying a late model used car. They are much cheaper, don't suffer as much depreciation, and are just as reliable. I also, will not be taking out a car loan to do so. I will be buying it with cash. My goal is to save up $20,000 between now and that 100,000 mile point. I figure if I can save $15,000 or so on my own and then sell the Accord at that time, I could easily get another $5,000. That puts me at the magic $20,000 point. Once I reach that point, I'll shop around for a car, and see what I can find. I may have to get a rental for a little while. That's fine. I'll deal with that. I refuse to buy a new car. Why? They are expensive, they depreciate rapidly, and I hate having car payments. I will not do that ever again. I am through with borrowing money. I don't use or even have any credit cards and I don't take out car loans. Those days are over. Ever since I stopped borrowing money and started concentrating on buying things with cash, my financial situation has improved so fast it's amazing. I won't go back to those bad, borrowing ways.
The thing that has me most upset, is not that I have to buy another car in about a year, it's that I have to put my accelerated mortgage payoff on hold for that time. I had originally planned to try to knock off $30,000 of my mortgage this year. That's not going to happen. Instead that money goes into the 'replace the car' fund. The numbers don't change. it's just what 'pile' they go into. I'll have to resume the accelerated mortgage payoff next year. I had planned to have my mortgage paid off my by 45th birthday (July 14, 2014). That likely won't happen. I might get delayed by a year as a result of this incident. But this won't stop me. I will pay off that mortgage early. Once I do, look out world! I will not owe money to anyone. I will own my own house, I will own my own car and I will own everything inside that house. A house or car that is paid off cannot be repossessed or foreclosed on. That is a goal very much worth pursuing.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you actually plan ahead. I've done a decent job at that kind of thing in the past, but last year, I really kicked it into overdrive. Last year was the first year that I actually started making plans for years in advance. I made a plan on January 1, 2009 that I was going to spend the next year increasing my savings to $25,000. I did this because I wanted to have enough cash in the bank to cover at least 6 months of expenses should I lose my job. Once I reached that goal (and I did!) I would start paying extra towards my mortgage. That started in January of this year and was a plan to pay off my house in 4 1/2 years. Unfortunately, this trouble with my car will delay that plan slightly, but it won't stop it. Five years from now, I will have another, paid off car, and I will have paid off my mortgage.
Mark my words.