The other day, I grudgingly took my car to get an oil change and held my breath as they told me how much it was going to cost. The price they quoted me was a whopping $100….and that’s considered a discount. Lord only knows how much it would have cost if I’d taken it to the dealer.
I’ve had my vehicle for five years now but I still cringe at the thought of paying that much for an oil change. Not to mention the price of tires…you’d faint if you knew how expensive they were.
No, I don’t have a Ferrari, Mercedes or a BMW….I have a cute little Chrysler Crossfire. And yes, it was an emotional buy. Some would even go as far as to say it was a selfish buy because it was a two-seater. I wasn’t thinking about all that at the time of purchase.
Hec, what was I thinking? Whatever it was, it wasn’t what I should have been thinking. When I woke up that morning, my mind was far from purchasing a vehicle. As a result, I didn’t do any pre-planning…..none, zilch, nada. I just happened to drive by the dealer that day and was lured in by all the nice vehicles sitting out on the lot. My eyes scanned the lot and all of a sudden stopped. There she was….looking all shiny and cute saying “buy me” and to make a long story short, I couldn’t refuse….so I bought her.
I drove her home all happy…boy was she fast and she definitely turned heads. But after about a week had passed, I found myself suffering from buyer’s remorse and decided to see if I could return her and maybe purchase something else a little more practical and economical. I took her back to the dealer but unfortunately they wouldn’t let me return the car unless I paid them some additional money. What a mess I made and to make matters worse, I wasn’t in the position to pay the money so I ended up having to keep her.
Fast forward five years and fortunately I can say that my car has been good to me. I haven’t had any major issues (fingers crossed); however, the upkeep has been very expensive nonetheless. The tires, the oil changes and other regular maintenance have cost a small fortune because my car doesn’t fit the “most vehicles” criteria. The mechanics get happy when they see me coming.
To keep you from making the same mistake I made five years ago. I’ve come up with a little handy dandy car buying checklist that you should consider using before you sign your name on the dotted line and drive off the lot.
Car Buying Checklist
- Know what kind of vehicle you are looking for prior to going to the car lot. Spend some time thinking about how it will be used now and in the future. For example, if you plan to have kid in the next 2 years, then it would not be practical to purchase a sports car. This will help you to remain focused.
- Know your price range/limit of how much you want to spend. This will keep you from blowing your budget.
- Check the Kelly Blue Book Value for the type of vehicle you are interested in whether it is new or used. This will help you to be an informed buyer and reduce the chances of you overpaying. Also know the sales and trade-in value of your existing car.
- If you purchase your car used, then you should do a thorough check to see if it has been damaged in a wreck as well as checking to see if the title is legit. Stay away from cars that have a salvage or flood title. You can do this through Carfax.
- Research the cost of upkeep such as the cost of oil changes, tires and tune-ups. Find out what type of gas your vehicle uses and how many miles per gallon it gets as well. Most luxury cars will take premium and get less miles to the gallon….that’s something to consider especially if you live in the city.
- Test the features of the vehicle and make sure that everything is working such as the cd player, the heated seats, air conditioning, etc. It doesn’t matter if it’s new or used…don’t assume anything.
- Test drive the it thoroughly. Put it on the expressway…this is the time to push the pedal to the metal.
- If you purchase your car used, get a mechanic to look under the hood and give it the stamp of approval.
- Don’t be afraid to go home and sleep on it before you buy it…I wish I’d done that. This will reduce the chances of you making an emotional purchase. If the car is for you…it will be there tomorrow. By the way, make sure they wash it up real nice and shine the wheels before you drive it off the lot…this should be complimentary.
So take a lesson from me…doing your due diligence and not letting your emotions get involved, when purchasing a vehicle, will go a long ways in helping you save a ton of money now and in the future.
What emotional purchases have you made that you regret?