By August 2, 2009 Read More →

Maintaining your old vehicle vs buying a new one

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, getting out of debt is one of the most important, if not the single most important aspect to self-reliance.

So, you’ve seen the fancy commercials and heard the car dealers spiels about how you can trade your clunker in for a new car and get cash rebates from the government. $3,500 to $4,500 sounds like a lot of money.

Let me ask you this, is your old car paid off? If it is, then you are closer to self-reliance than you think. So what if it’s not “comfortable” and breaks down a lot. Part of being a prepper and being self-reliant is giving up those little comforts to live an independent lifestyle. Have you asked yourself what your monthly payments are going to be and how much will go to interest? Have you thought about how much value you lose from a vehicle when you drive it off the lot? Vehicles are considered depreciable assets…That means they are a worthless investments, unless maybe it’s a Harley and you have the cash to pay for it in full.

What’s that new car payment going to cost you per month even with the rebate? $300? $400? Just think for a moment, what would a $300 or $400 per month investment in your clunker bring you? New brakes one month. Complete tune up including all filters and transmission the next month. New paint job in a couple months, New upholstery the following month, All new tires after that. Within a year you will have invested over $4,000 fixing up your clunker and not spent a dime on interest. Within 2 years you can have a complete engine overhaul. Within 3 years your clunker could be as good as new. Where will you be when the new car is paid off in 6 or 7 years? With an old car again that’s breaking down.

With older cars it gets even better. Many cars that are from the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s are becoming classics now and are worth good money if you have them fixed up. Plus the parts are much cheaper than newer cars, and many parts can still be found in salvage yards or by buying another clunker off craigs list to use as a parts car. Worried about a possible EM Pulse attack from terrorists? Older cars without computers are not susceptible.

Who cares about the fuel consumption of an old car vs a new one? There are many things you can do to improve the fuel economy of an old car. New spark plugs, new air filters, fuel filters, fuel additives, properly aligned tires and good driving habits. And really, how much do you spend on fuel per month in your paid off car? $100 $150. And you’re going to trade that in for a car that’s going to cost you $350 per month and maybe save you $25 a month in fuel? Believe me, we own both an old paid off car and a newer financed pickup and I can tell you from first hand experience that the financed pickup is the worst money pit I’ve ever invested in. So then, what if you have $30,000 to pay cash for the new car? Well good for you for working hard to earn and save up that much, you are a true prepper. But I’d still urge you to consider how much better it would be to invest $15,000 into fixing up your old car and taking the other $15,000 and buying some much needed preps, maybe add a sunroom onto your home to start vegitables in the early spring, or stock up on a few years supplies worth of food…There’s a lot of ways to better spend your money than to help the government bail out the motor companies that dont derserve to be bailed out anyway.

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