When I first moved to School City, my intention was to NOT buy a car. I even canceled my auto insurance and AAA membership.
Now that I’ve been settling in for a week or so, I’ve realized that while going car-free is technically feasible, it’s not very fun. Or even practical. I don’t think there’s a problem going from home to school, but it’s all the other things (groceries, movies, dance classes, visiting nearby cities on the weekends) that are a big PITA. So even though I feel like a bit of a wimp – given how excited I was about the prospect of leading a car-free lifestyle – a car has jumped from “Nice to Have” into the “Need to Have” category. On a scale of 1 to 10, having a car is pretty much a 8.5 or higher in my area. Oh defeat, thy name rolls bitterly off my lips.
To buy new or used car?
- I have around $18,000 to get a car out-the-door. This will obviously impact my graduate school cashflow, namely, I’d be out $18,000 that I can use to pay tuition. My monthly expenses would also rise thanks to insurance costs, AAA membership, etc.
- Reliability is one of the most important criteria to me, as someone who is, ah, not very well acquaintedwith the inner workings of an automobile.
- Cars I’m considering are: Honda Fit, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix
So I’m leaning towards a new car, specifically a new Honda Fit. It’s reliable, I love the hatchback, and $18,000 will just about cover an automatic base model. Two years ago, I contemplated buying a new car vs. keeping my old Honda, and decided to stick with the Ol’ Faithful. Now, the equation has turned to buying a new car or buying a used car.
While I can get a used car for much cheaper, I’m hesitant. My family has had a stellar experience with Hondas (our cars were a 1993 Honda Civic – still running, a 1996 Honda Accord – 250,000 miles and going strong, and a 2006 Honda Pilot), and so I’d like to stick with that brand if possible. Used Hondas with lower mileage (say, fewer than 100,000 miles) are very expensive, so I wouldn’t be saving much on depreciation. And if I keep my Honda for 10 years or 250,000 miles, the depreciation hit of a new car wouldn’t be much higher…