The Cost Can't Be Justified

Christy on Facebook wants to know how much you should put into used car maintenance before you should get a new car. Dave says you can almost never mathematically justify a new car.

QUESTION: Christy on Facebook wants to know how much you should put into used car maintenance before you should get a new car. Dave says you can almost never mathematically justify a new car.

ANSWER: You can almost never mathematically justify a new car—another car. If you’re driving a $1,000 car, it’s breaking down, and you keep having to spend $250 on it, do you know how long you can spend $250 a month on that car before you can justify a $10,000 car? It would be years. Decades. You can’t even come close. You really never get to the point that mathematically, it’s justified.

It comes down to a) I’ve got money, and b) the hassle factor is driving me up a tree. You move into a better car from a safety standpoint but more so from a hassle-factor-on-breakdowns standpoint. And I’ve worked hard, and I’ve got the money, and I can afford it—write a check and pay cash for this car. And then you get a better car.

I’m not against you having a nice car. I’m against the nice car having you. That’s what we have to avoid. Move up in car, pay cash for your move up in car, and it’s only based on the fact that you’re tired of messing with this thing.