Major Purchase or Major Pain


I would never say that I have practice utmost financial wisdom in my life. In the midst of my non-planning, I still have (mostly) maintained several principles:

  1. Save and pay cash for major purchases – electronics, appliances, instruments, curtains, etc.
  2. Avoid debt, even if it could be considered “good” or “acceptable” (i.e. school loans, car loans, etc.)

My first bachelor’s degree was funded by some major scholarships, thus I was able to graduate debt-free from the University of Kansas. Thankfully, I was warned that the poorest I would ever feel in my new professional life was from the first day of in-service until I received my first paycheck. (Jean, you were right!) Yet, never having been seriously in debt, I never seriously made a plan. I kind of saved, but mostly I would pay the bills then buy what I wanted until my checking account dipped below my “set point” then not spend until the next paycheck.

Not exactly the way to win.

My experience with a financial planner was less than I’d hoped. I was wanting someone to give me advice, and while I knew the person and trusted his decisions, I didn’t realize how much he was expecting me to have already made decisions. Note to self: interview your financial people; they may be nice and honest, but not what or who you need.

Thus, when I had a great salary – I had no idea how to manage it. And now that I have an inkling (let me emphasize further – INKLING) as to the better way to spend and save (Thank you, Dave Ramsey!), I’m a few years away from a steady salary. Such is my lesson with stupid decisions.

I write all of the above as background for my most current distraction: a different car. Here’s what I currently own:

I don’t remember when my twinge for a different vehicle started, it just seemed that the more I drove around running errands and keeping up with life, I would see “them”:

Photo courtesy of edmunds.com

I see Jeep Wranglers all over this town, and I want one! I shouldn’t be too surprised, but my only experience with a Jeep thus far has been a really old and half-way to the junk yard one at the ropes course I used to work. For whatever reason, I can scan a car lot and my eyes fixate on the Jeeps. Not any other SUV or cross-over. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be new. I am feeling ready to be done with my trusty Saturn. It’s been a good car, but I can tell that it is wearing out. I’m getting tired of fixing it along with the signs that I’ve been pretty hard on it in my 9 years of ownership (several cross-country moves, trying to use it as an SUV, massive hauling, etc.)

Here’s the thing – if I want a Jeep AND adhere to my price range as dictated by the amount of cash I have – I will likely have to get one that is older than my current car. Nice.

So, watch this space for details. I do have some resources between Dave Ramsey, Click and Clack, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book for finding a good deal along with knowing whether or not it’s the right time and a wise purchase. I have some research to do first, then a test drive. I’ll check in after I’ve finished those tasks.

For now, I’ve got some scholarship applications to look over!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anna
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 10:38:28

    I know at least a couple of guys who are obsessed with their jeeps and will probably never drive anything else.

    Reply

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