Thursday, May 12, 2016

Can You Really Afford That?

I've been saving money lately. In the last few weeks I've saved about $700 but I just got paid today. This Saturday Amanda and I are going to look around at dealerships for a car for me. I was thisclose to having one last weekend, buuuuuut they don't keep their website up to date and they don't have it anymore. Ugh. But this whole experience got me thinking about what I can, and can't, truly afford.

When I started the process of saving for a car it was under the expectation that I would save up $2500 and put a down payment on a car at a real dealership. Then I remembered my student loan payments, and got annoyed at myself because I couldn't save more. That really made me realize, can I afford what I thought I could afford?

My original list of requirements were as follows:
1. Automatic transmission
2. Under 100k miles
3. Blutooth or Auxiliary cord
4. Steering wheel audio controls
5. Not more than 10 years old (so a 2006 or newer)

And I wanted to buy from a "real" dealership, not a buy here pay here. I originally was thinking I could afford to finance up to $13k with a $2000 down payment, so I could look at cars that were up to $15k. I also said I could do up to $300 a month in insurance. I was hoping it would be less, but I can, technically, do it. But holy hell, that's expensive!

At the time, I was making $10/hr for 16 hours at my weekend job and $11.25/hr for 40 hours at my weekday job. I was taking home about $500 a week. Not bad, but when you take into account my bills, it's not the best it could be.

With the bills I have, and the pay I'm getting (which just increased actually, but that's a story for another day), I didn't really think about how completely broke I would be buying a car that expensive. I started looking at cheaper cars, and lowering my expectations.

My new list of requirements?
1. Automatic transmission (I can't budge on that, I can't drive a manual)
2. Runs.
With the added "please" of:
3. Cassette player?

Holy big difference! But I really thought about it. This is going to be my first car. I'm 24, with shit credit (already, I know!) and I'm still a temp at my full time job. I needed to check myself, before I got into a bad situation. I'm now looking at cars under $5000 and most of my criteria has been shifted. I'm still going to have a car with everything I want, but it will be a few years down the road.

This whole situation has made me really think about my spending habits and reality kind of bit me in the ass. I feel more mature, though, because instead of ignoring it and pushing forward with the old plan, I modified it. I don't want to go broke buying anything, even a car.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Would you have changed your requirements if you were in my shoes? Let's chat about it below!

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