New Car Envy

In my house, we now have 3 drivers and 2 cars. Of course Dad’s Taxi (my 2003 Highlander) has been hijacked by my teenage daughter who won’t drive a mommy mobile (Our other car our 199 Honda Oddessy with almost 200K in miles ) to/from college. She has to have “Cool car” to take to college.

I remember when I was growing up in the ancient days (that’s what I call the early 80’s) i would have settled for any car to get me from college to/from home. I can still hear my Dad’s voice echoing in my ears –> “NO, you cannot use my Dodge Dart to go to school, it’s to valuable to be driven by a reckless driver like you”.  Of course my Dad’s car just stayed on the strets of NYC while I bought my awesome Plymouth Duster which cost $1K so I could get from/to College. Boy did I feel like I was lucky to have such a cool car! BTW, the image I got above is exactly the car I drove!

Today’s kids, need to have not just functional transportation but “cool” transportation to/from college. I guess it’s my own fault for allowing the hijacking to take place, but sometimes Dad’s just end up getting the short end of the stick. Fortunately, Dad’s offie is only a few miles away from home so now he has to rely on his own taxi service to drop him off and pick him up from work. Yes, Dad’s taxi is now commuting to/from work in his own Taxi! How much fun is that..

Since my wife will be starting a new job next week, we are now scrambling trying to buy a new car and that is a whole different ordeal. How much to spend, buy or lease, new or certified used, blah, blah..

Personally,  if I’m desperate for a new car, I’d go for the functional model (Toyota, Honda),  but in my house, the rules for car buying stray towards the luxary instead of the functional.  From what I saw today in the exhaustive search for a car, the luxary models will win every time! Even my younger daughter, gravitates to the convertibles, as soon as she walks into the dealerships and says, we should buy one!.

So today, we went from one end of the functional spectrum (Toyota Hybrid – Prius) to the luxary models (Audi and BMW). You can guess where we will end up when we eventually pull the trigger on the buy.

Here’s a couple of things I learned today:

  • Use a car buying guide or If you have AAA, use their car buying service to get the best deal. This will reduce the haggling and help you to avoid the bait and switch tactics most dealers use when you go to buy a car
  • Have  budget in mind and don’t stray from it. Yes you should be flexible, but if you budget $20K, don’t even look at cars that are $30K and above!
  • Decide on the specific brand and model you want and whether you are looking for convenience or just luxary.. You know my opinion on this. If I were well off, I’m sure I’d be getting luxary without any hesitation.
  • Use the Internet to do your research on the car you want.  Never walk into the dealer cold and without any research in your hands.
  • Just say no, when you know that what you want and what you can afford clash.. This is where my wife and I clash constantly. You can guess who gets their way on this topic.
  • If you don’t want the glamour of the dealership and the bells and whistles of new car guarantees, use the internet buy off the rack by using services like carsense.
  • Before you shell out any cash for a car, make sure you get the Car Fax. The Car Fax will tell you the history of the car!

I don’t know what we will end up doing to get out of the logjam of 3 drivers and 2 cars, but I do know that for the forseeable future (or until I strike gold),  you will find Dad’s taxi driving around Middletown, NJ  in a 1999 Honda Oddessy with almost  200K!



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