I am in the process of buying a car and want to warn others who might be entering this dark period in your life. Make sure your health is at its peak. Make sure your finances have no surprises. Make sure your marriage is rock solid. (When we went looking for a 2012 model at a Ford dealership last week, hubby took the side of the salesmen encouraging me to look at the 2013's and compare because they didn't have any 2012's of the model currently on the lot! It is not polite to argue in front of the salesman and gives him an advantage. Fortunately this salesmen was about 18 and didn't know quite how to handle a domestic dispute.)
I remember when I went out to purchase my very first car after landing my first real job. I was on cloud 29. My Dad went with me and I had total faith in his ability to cover my back. I knew absolutely nothing about buying a car, and perhaps, my father did not know much more. I had the down payment and took over the monthly costs with no help from my parents. But I got this beauty and loved it totally, even though it proved not to be the guy-magnate that I thought it might be. Hard to believe that is not a toy car, isn't it? (What might be harder for you to believe is I still wear the same style, not the same actual clothes, as in this photo! And I only weigh about 40 pounds more.)
Car purchasing is such an agonizing experience for most people because the industry hires people to sell you a product based on their commission and not a fair salary. The price on the car is a huge secret fudge figure. They give salespeople a bag of tricks and then they begin to wear you down to a nub by stalling on everything from whether they really have the model they told you they had to adding tons of stuff to the total cost. Can someone explain to me why floor mats cost as much as carpeting for a house?
I know that the first rule is to NEVER fall in love with anything you test drive. Be able to walk away. That is not a problem with me. I have no ego tied to any vehicle I purchase these days. It is about comfort, convenience, safety and cost. I test drove a "luxury" Toyota Avalon and in all honesty did not feel much different (except for space) when compared to the Camry that I drove immediately after. It has been 15 years since I purchased a car, and as a result, the bells and whistles that impress me are standard features on cars these days.
I have been saving money for several years to be able to pay cash because I cannot make much by investing the money and then applying it to car payments and paying the increased cost that is worked into that deal. Others tell me that is not true, but I do not see it on my statements and numbers. I also have a serious psychological aversion to paying for anything on time, so that is pre-paid therapy in my mind. I will put as much of this purchase as I can on a credit card to get the points.
I am hoping by next week to have this whole thing finished. I emailed the Toyota salesman yesterday, but he is taking his time to respond. Hubby wants me to push it, but I kindly explained that there is more than one 2012 Camry in this state that has one of the 4 colors I like and all the features. I do not want the salesmen to think I am in any hurry...and in reality, I am not. My old car got an oil change this week, a $37 fix on the AC and the mechanic told me it is fine and should run for quite a while longer. (It is going to my son who spent more than the cost of this model on a ring, if you will remember.)
If you are interested I will keep you posted. If you have advice, I'll certainly listen.