When your budget won't let you give gifts to everyone in the world—which is always, by the way—who should you give...
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By Sarah in TX
My husband and I only have one car. One November afternoon, my husband slammed our paid-off car into a curb, crumpling the frame and causing about $2,500 in damage and the man hours to fix it.
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While the car technically still got us from Point A to Point B, the driving stress and damaged area was slowly tearing the car apart. I was scared that the car would fall apart on the highway with my husband in it. This fear spurred us to go to a car lot and tell the salesman to sell me a car. Well, he sold us one! After he talked us out of a $5,000 Toyota that probably would have worked forever, we financed a shiny three-year-old SUV for a "great deal" at 6% on a 60-month note.
My husband and I drive a lot, so by the time we realized our mistake and tried to sell the financed car, a new year had passed, and the car had dropped over $4,000 in value. We are currently trying to buy an old car with cash so we can cut our losses and dump the financed SUV.
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The funny thing is that we had $1,500 cash at the time, so if we'd only kept a cool head, we would have gotten something older that ran well and had no loan. Never buy a car while influenced by strong emotions!
Get Dave's car-buying tips before you go shopping.