Thoughts on car payments


My father has a 2002 Toyota pickup truck he bought brand new in October 2001. Over 350,000 miles later, the car still runs. He has replaced everything once (at least), but it runs. He has not had a car payment since January 2007. That is 13 years ago. Think about how much money he has at his disposal to grow his business, invest, donate/give, etc with that he otherwise would not had with a car payment.


Gold Member
You can certainly make an argument for auto financing at near 0% interest rates. It makes clear financial sense if you can get a higher return on the rest of that money elsewhere in the time being. Add on top of that a good-value reliable car with reasonable repair costs that is a little ways down the depreciation curve already, and congratulations you've used the system to your advantage.

Most people don't do that though.


I've changed my perspective towards cars recently. Cars are a luxury, not a need.

It is true that in the US, the public transportation is abysmal enough to sometimes make car ownership a requirement. However, this is generally only true for commuting to work - in this day and age you can get almost anything delivered to your doorstep.

To me, it seems logical to minimize the need to own a car in the first place. Either work remotely or live in a thriving location that is within walking distance of your workplace, grocery stores, pharmacies. etc.

Cars are not only a depreciating asset, but a huge sunk cost. The amount you spend on gas, insurance, and maintenance is prosperous, regardless of whether you finance or not.

If you want to own a car because you have a huge disposible income and enjoy driving fun, sporty cars for their own sake, that makes a hell of a lot more sense than getting an F250 and driving 60 miles roundtrip five days a week to work because you insisted on getting a massive house in the surburbs.

Last point - I will say that owning a car, for many people, represents personal freedom to go anywhere they want at anytime. And that alone may justify car ownership. But to me that is still a luxury that the average person cannot afford and seldom takes advantage of anyway.


JiggyLordJr said:
Driving sucks. I don't think I've met anybody that truly likes it - they just have to. When you live a 10 miles from the nearest anything, your car literally becomes your lifeline. Funny the people that hamster away their cars as a "luxury."

Why do you think most of the wealthiest countries have robust public transit systems? Not just city-wide either, but nation-wide. In Japan, I was able to climb 3 mountains, go on several multi-day hikes, EXCLUSIVELY by using public transit. I didn't step into a car once, and I made it everywhere just fine. Countries with a "driving problem" actually have a "lack of public transit" problem. This could be solved, but, ya know, automotive lobbying.

Again, driving sucks. I'm sorry to hear that a lot of you depend on these monstrosities to get you everywhere. I'll keep using my legs.
I agree with your point, however I think driving is a blast. The only people who say driving isn't fun are people who have only driven boring cars. Have you ever driven a 6speed mazda miata?
There is a big difference between the US or even South America compared to Europe. There are good arguments for keeping the center of historic cities pedestrian in Europe. However, I would like to have a car in a couple of years, just to practice my driving skills (got my license at 27 in a foreign country) and to drive outside of the big city. Ride sharing FB groups are also popular around, one can stumble upon some interesting folk or a future wife.

Talking about Mazdas, RX-8 is a beauty and one of the cheapest above average cars with very nice design and interior. It sold hundreds of thousands units worldwide.

In Central and Eastern Europe the taxes and regulations are lower than the West and one can buy cars with mileage well over 200 000. Not saying it is a good idea, but it shows why in many smaller cities with bad public transportation the cars mean a big deal. Thus a car that is too old in Switzerland can sell as a relatively new one in the Balkans.

The US is also different in the lower fuel price, it seems.


America Was...and in my life time hopefully will always be, a car culture.

Gangsters, bootleggers, James Dean, the innovation of Henry Ford at the beginning of the second industrial revolution, 70's Iron...

Beyond the fact that in a WROL prepper fantasy, most people need to get at least 150 miles (half tank of gas) away from the city as some alluded to here. And in my mind, other than the Autobaun or Austrialian outback, the Americas are some of the best and diverse driving one can do. My best memories from childhood are road trips with my admittedly troubled family. I have a limited addition Ford Ranger FX4 with a factory twin stick transmission/transfer case, a BMW duel sport motorcycle, a late 90's Toyota camery, a Jeep Cherokee rock crawler, a host of dirtbikes...and a woman who enjoys riding them all with me. Yea I'm partial to slow, mainly dirt sports as fast cars and bikes get me in trouble and alot of tickets....

I pay cash for all my vehicles. I work on all my vehicles. I get the minimalist mindset when it comes to city living and vehicles. But for me, the cost of upkeep is minimal if your able to turn a wrench and like older cars and trucks before 2000's...



Gold Member
Buy a used car with cash and use a couple afternoons of free time to provide basic maintenance to your vehicle.

It's not difficult to change oil, check belts and hoses and replace/check fluids. Most cars fail due to negligence