Let me tell you a little secret…having no car payment is possible! Personally, I don’t think I could ever go back to having a car payment. Why? I love being able to tell my money where it is going instead of paying a car dealer money on interest on a car that devalues.
Sell your new car with a huge payment!
Average car payments are around $350 – $500, which is a chunk of change right?
Imagine what you could do with that cash otherwise.
We travel! We create memories. You could too! That could be the money you are savings instead of wasting towards a car payment. I want it for you too!
Feel like you are drowning in your car payment? Let’s downsize for a few years. You might not be the coolest for a bit, but I loved my frugal cars!
Leasing? Don’t do it! Get rid of it! Sorry, if I was blunt there.
Car dealers love leases because they make so much money off of them!
Track your savings to feel freedom! Get our FREE car saving tracker!
Look for a frugal car not your dream car now.
Let me tell you my journey and my story.
I drove a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass in high school (2006). It was a grandma car! Can I say embarrassing? I got so upset at my mom, but it is all my mom could afford. It had low miles and pretty much sat in a garage never being driven. My friends thought it was cool though since I was the first one to be 16, August birthday blessing. We used to drive around “the block” and thought we were so cool! Can anyone please relate? Small town fun! Maybe you had a strip? Drive back and forth on it? Yes, we had that too in the smaller towns.
Work, work, work and save, save, save!
Then came me working a lot to save up for a better car, but I was also playing soccer so really it was mainly on the weekends and summer time when I was not playing soccer.
I wanted a yellow cobalt. Yes, yellow it was my car that I wanted. I had to get an older version because it was within my range. I wanted to pay about $6,000 for a car and for a person in high school that was a lot! I had saved up about $2,000 to put a down payment on it. The rest I had to get cosigned with my mom because well I was 18. It was the spring of 2010, I was soon to be graduating and bought a blueish 2005 2 door cobalt. It was not exactly what I wanted but my moms friend helped me find it. He has helped us find all of our cars actually! Find a car dealer salesman who you trust!
Keep your car until the wheels fall off, okay not really, but almost!
Little did I know this car was going to take me into every journey I had in life for 9 years! Yes, I had this little cobalt for 9 years. It traveled all the way to North Carolina from Nebraska with me. All I had when I moved to North Carolina was the stuff that could fit into it, so not much!
Work, work, work again plus saying, “No”
I paid the cobalt off my sophomore year of college, so it took me about 2 years. I was not working at all my first year of college since I played soccer. Then my sophomore year came and I crushed that loan! I worked a lot – worked at Kroger, a baseball stadium, and babysitting on the weekend.
Putting every little penny into the car to pay it off. Yes, no longer could I have my $5 Starbuck drinks. Yes, and I spent over $500 a month on Starbucks at one point in my life! I have had my share of stupid money moves. No longer could I get that muffin at the student library. I used to buy one every time I was there. I had to say no to going to Noodles Company with my friends on Sunday afternoon right before our sorority meeting. This was a ritual to go get something with your sisters each afternoon after our first meeting.
But even though I had to say no to all of those things.
What I remember the most was writing the last check in the mail and saving “I paid off my car!” I thought to myself, what other college student could say this? “I have no car loan!”
Open A Savings Account
I did it. I had no car payment!
It was amazing and felt like I was rich!
I opened another bank account and started stashing cash away for car repairs. This “car repairs” fund actually turned into my car fund. I saved like I was paying a small car payment to myself. It was just about $100 -$250 per month. Depending on the month and you know life does happen so there was a few times out of this fund I had to get items on the cobalt fixed.
I remember getting the struts fixed, new tires, regular oil changes, breaks, and pry a lot more. This is all I remember! Yes, I pretty much had the entire car fixed during these 9 years. Do not give up though. It will be okay! Trust me! Just fix the items and it will last for another 6 – 9 months a least.
I think even my heater broke at one time in the dead of winter! Can I tell you that sucked?
I could have bought a car easily about 5 years after having my cobalt, but once I saved up about $14,000 for the car I stopped placing the extra car payment into the saving account. I just let it grow on its own. I recommend if you find yourself in this place to open up a high yield saving account to let your money grow a little bit more than mine did!
How did I know it was time to buy a new car? My dream car?
Well, I prayed a lot! I prayed for almost 2 years for God to show me who to give my Cobalt to. I wanted to gift my car to someone. I thought maybe it would have been someone who needed it at my store that I worked at. But it never felt right. There was this young kid that needed a car who worked at one of my store, but I prayed on it and that didn’t seem to be the person to give my car to either.
As you all know, I met my husband at Kroger. We started talking a few months after I left the store we worked at together. People I went to school for HR! I know the rules, which is why we did not talk until after I left!
One day we went to the mountains for a two day trip. He drove because I would not let his dogs (now our dogs Gemma and Harbor) into my Cobalt. He had a Subaru and, on our way, back right by my apartment in the alley that we drove down. His car broke down. Yes, we had to push it into my apartment car garage!
Don’t worry we called someone over from McDonalds to help us! Just imagine me – saying and waving down someone, “Hey! Will you come help us push the car?” It was a good memory!
We had to figure out how Tom was going to get back to Virginia Beach in the morning! It is a two hour drive from my apartment. Luckily, I was going to have a rental car for work so I took the rental and yes, I let the dogs in the cobalt and Tom took my car for the day.
Reality of Being “Under” on a Car
This is the first time we really talked about his car and still owing on it. It was broken down. It would cost more money to fix it than the car was worth and he still had a loan on it!
At this point, I knew I could afford to pay cash for a car. I searched for cars that I wanted. I had always wanted a Chevy Cruze, so I looked and researched and researched more to find one with good miles and a price I could afford. I looked without telling Tom because I wanted him to look for something too even though he could not afford to pay for it with cash. He was looking at trucks that were cheap.
We looked at cars for both of us a few days, and the one day we went to this 3rd car dealership and he’s like well lets check this truck out. It is only $X amount and see if I like it. The moment I prayed, “If I am suppose to buy a car and give Tom my car please give me a sign.”
God gave us a pretty good sign.
Tom got the keys. We went to go start it up and test drive it. Yep, it did not start! At this point Tom felt pretty defeated, but I felt confident I was suppose to make the moves to give him my car.
We got into my car and I saw a car in front of me gold and a car behind me gold. This was the same color as the car I was looking at. It was another good sign I should buy the car with cash and give my car to Tom.
That day I told Tom what I wanted to do and he said, “Are you sure?” I told him I was positive! I wanted to give him my car.
Giving like Christ and not being a Slave to the Lender.
We went to the car dealership I saw the Gold 2015 Chevy Cruze and I bought it with cash in 2018! Well kinda, I paid with my credit cards to be able to get points. I am all about using credit cards smart and paying them off right away!
The same month I paid off the credit cards. Earned the points and bought my very first car $15,000 with cash! It rounded up to $15,000 because of the extra warranty I bought. I recommend not getting these! I have had my car now for over a year and have not used them. Plus I have an emergency fund for anything that I need to repair! I was a sucker at the moment!
We all make mistakes. Probably why you are also reading this article to learn from me.
I am not going to put sparkles all over though. After spending this much money, I had buyer’s remorse and sometimes still do to this day. I have never seen this much money leave my bank account! I know that it was much needed and I was supposed to do it, however, I think that I could have gotten away with a more frugal car.
However, I am glad now in 2020 we still have this car and we have gotten a pretty good ROI (return on investment) on the Cobalt and the Cruze! I hope to do the same thing with the Cruze one day to gift it to someone who needs to and we will go buy another “new” to us car.
After giving Tom my car, he was able to pay off the car that broke down. We sold the broken down car to someone and I had bought a car with cash. We were golden! Two cars that worked and then we were pregnant and Tom convinced me we needed to get a more reliable car than the Cobalt.
Saving up again…
We saved up for another car. Any extra money we received whether it was a bonus, gifted money from family, and taxes we put in the fund. We also had an automatic savings set up to get the savings up too! My husband gets paid weekly, so he took about 5% out of his paycheck to save up and then when we would almost hit a 100 mark or 1000 mark we would add just enough to make us over it. For example, say we had $5790 dollars in the fund. We would add $210 just to make us hit $6000 earlier than we had planned. Especially if we had the money and if it was to be spend on something else on the budget like clothes or eating out or date night. I always said, “If it’s not in the checking account. We do not spend.” Once we had enough saved up around $11,000 we started looking for an SUV. We searched and searched for weeks. It was not a one day and done kinda deal.
We ended up going to other car dealerships before we knew it was the Subaru that we wanted. We bought the SUV with cash.
Now, we have two reliable cars that are paid with cash and zero car payments. Can I say dream come true? We will probably have these cars until they die as well especially if we keep up on the maintenance each year.
It is funny now though, because I saved up to buy my dream car a Chevy Cruze and guess who drives it now? My husband. I end up driving the older car because it fits the car seat, stroller, and the dogs in it when we go for a hike. And remember, I do not allow the dogs in my car usually. The Cruze is newer, so it makes sense for us to not allow them in it. Plus it has black interior and white dog hair all over. No thank you!
Once, you buy your car with cash! Keep up on the maintenance!
Other ways to keep your car longer. We do maintenance on them, so both cars we just invested new tires on them. Mostly for our safety, but for the cars too. We give them baths and vacuum inside. I always have a trash bag in my car for trash and we empty it out instead of throwing empty bottles in the passenger seat. We fill up the tank before it gets too low.
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