We own two cars. A 6-year-old Prius and a 10 year-old Ford Explorer. Both are paid off. The Prius still runs well. The Explorer has issues every so often. Combined they meet all of our transportation needs (that can’t be met via bicycle).
For the past year or so we’ve been discussing buying a new car. Selling both the Prius and the Explorer and buying a car that met all of our needs. Like most people, the needs are varied. Generally we only use our cars for grocery shopping, out of town trips, and in-town trips that are further than 5-10 miles. Most of the time we only drive the Prius. The Explorer is used roughly once a week. A few times a year, we need a car that fits more than the 4 of us. With company in town we generally have to drive both cars around.
After a year or more of discussion, we were finally ready to take the plunge. And then we changed our minds. After all of the discussions, saving, car clean-up, and mental preparation for dealing with car dealers, we changed our minds. And I’m so glad we did. Although we were prepared to pay cash, we decided that money in the bank and the flexibility to do other things with that money was more important.
Furthermore, not buying a car is more in line with our values as a family. We value not spending a lot of money on consumer products. We value having the financial flexibility to travel, take a college course, or open a business. We value riding our bikes places. We value having money in savings and teaching our kids that this is important.
We’re back where we started with our cars. As a family, however, we’ve obtained a greater understanding of our values as a family and that’s worth more than a new car any day.