The Money Café



Cars and Money Image #5


Cars and Your Money on The Money Café

A good car is important. I used to get migraine
headaches when I drove a Chevy.
- from the movie Local Hero

Never buy a car that you can't push.
— Unknown wise car owner

The Best Advice Ever for Buying a Used Car

Anyone thinking about spending $50,000 on a new car versus purchasing a used one for 5,000 or $10,000 is normally thinking about today and how cool they will look. 

Problem is, there is a big connection between cool and broke just like there is a big disconnect between fools and their money.

Car sickness is the feeling you get when the monthly payment is due.
- Author Unknown

Indeed, spending money wisely is not something that most cool people or fools are good at.
People don't think about how a car-buying decision alone can impact their retirement and how little value they get out of looking cool in a car.

The only question they think about in whether they should spend $12,000 or $25,000  is "Do we have $25,000?" Come to think of it, they don't even think about this. They think about "How much are the payments and can we squeeze the payments out of the salaries we are getting?"

Any one purchasing a new or used car should consider this: The second largest expenditure for the average American consumer is transportation.

The cost of vehicles purchased in the U.S. is an average of $3,244 per year, making it 6.5 percent of the average budget. The cost of oil and gas for cars costs the average consumer $2,384 per year, for an average of 4.8 percent of the total yearly household budget.

Combined, the cost of cars and their maintenance costs Americans an average of $8,758 per year. This is a total of 17.6 percent of the average American yearly budget.

If you are thinking of buying a used car, here is some advice that can help you save a lot of money:

When searching while considering buying that used car, you can read Consumer Report magazine or Phil Edmundson's book Lemon Aide for some great advice.

This advice, however, is overshadowed by a bit of advice from Larry Lujack: "When buying a used car," Lujack declared, "punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance that the transmission is shot."


More Car-Buying Tips

Buy a used car with the same caution a naked man uses to climb a barbed-wire fence.
- Author Unknown

When going to buy a new car, dress like you can't afford it.
- Author Unknown

What a Man's Car Says about His Personality - For Those about to Buy a New or Used Car

Porsche Boxster S - Car Image 


If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
- Earl Wilson

See The Blue Porsche Boxster Challenge

Michael Enright, host of CBC radio's This Morning, recently stated that city dwellers who purchase sports utility vehicles "must be (mentally) arrested or not highly evolved."

Given that only a small fraction of sports utility vehicle (SUV) owners actually use their vehicles to go camping, hunting, or to other difficult-to-get-to locations, I tend to agree with him. SUVs are nothing more than status symbols that many insecure people feel pressured into buying. These oversized, overpriced, overrated, and over built super toys are designed to boost weak identities, while increasing the profits of the auto manufacturers and salesmen's commission's at the purchasers' expense.

You may be a redneck if . . . you have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education.
- Jeff Foxworthy

The SUV is a classic example of how people's unfulfilled emotional needs influence them to purchase things that they absolutely don't need, and in most cases can't even afford. It's not only SUV owners who attempt to use their automobiles to boost their image and self worth. Most people value their vehicles for a lot more than transportation. To many people with weak identities, a flashy vehicle is a necessity. It is a status symbol, an extension of power, and an ego builder.

Broke is not having one penny saved, even though you have a good job. If your car breaks down, so will you. You don't have money for repairs, but you need the wheels to get to work.
- Suze Orman

This is not an abandoned vehicle.
- Bumper sticker on the back of a parked rusted-out jalopy

Before you go out and spend a lot of money on car, perhaps you should give consideration to what psychological problems are driving you to purchase the particular car that you have in mind. This could save you a lot of money - likely cash that you don't have on had right now.

Graham Masterton, a self-proclaimed sexpert and author of Up All Night and Wild Sex for New Lovers, concludes that the car a man owns is indicative of his personality traits and how he perceives himself in and out of bed. Here are the cars and the respective men who drive them.

  • Humvees: "Men who drive around in Humvees," says Masterton, "might as well have a placard on their backs saying: 'I am extremely worried that you might think I have a small willy."
  • The SUV (best known as Stupid Unexplained Vehicle): Masterton says, "Monstrous, flashy SUVs are indicative of men who are using their transportation in an effort to look more virile than they really are."
  • Red Hot Sports Car: According to the expert, a man who drives a $100,00 sports car thinks more about himself than anyone else.
  • Low Power, Save-the-Planet Mobiles: Masterton says, "These men have lost any hunter-killer instincts that make men exciting and desirable - and their mothers still buy their underwear."
  • Junkers: Masterton advises that women should beware men who drive very eccentric vehicles, or junkers filled with discarded KFC boxes and empty pop cans. "They may give you a very unusual one-night stand and make very good friends, but they tend to become obsessive."
  • Luxury Sedan: "A man who is confident," declares Masterton, "drives a stylish and discreetly powerful automobile that is luxurious on the inside."

To get back on your feet, just miss two car payments.
- Author Unknown

Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With the Sharks and a multi-millionaire in his own right, gives us some good new car burying advice: "I suppose there are people with real money who drive Cadillacs and Mercedes. I don't know many. As long as practically anyone can own one of these so-called prestige cars, who's going to be impressed? It you can afford a fancy car, you make more of an impact driving an ordinary one."

Cars - Porsche Boxster S


Cool Car Resources

  • FREE CAR FINDER: You can be driving your own free car. These cars are all brand new and the latest available on the market. If you already own a car, get paid to drive your own car like you normally do.
  • The Auto Trader:  Find the car you want. Search over 3 million new cars and used cars. Sell a car, find local car dealers, and research all things automotive.
  • : Buy or sell your car.
  • :  This car website provides True Market Value pricing, unbiased car reviews, ratings, and expert advice to help you get a fair deal on a used car.
  • The Car Connection: Car reviews, photos, classified, Finance, and Car Tips.
  • The World's Ugliest Cars: See if your car is in this list.
  • Your Car Insurance Estimated : Evaluate how much money your car is going to cost you for insurance.
  • Auto Trader for Canada: Canada's Biggest Resource of Used Cars and Other Automobiles. Select the car you are looking for by Region.

Some More New Car Buying Advice

Used Car Image for Money and Cars

You May Not Need to Buy That New or Used Car If You Have Higher Self-Esteem Than Others Have

Here is my new car buying advice adapted from a book called Zen I Got Rich that I wrote but never published:

As a testimony to the emotional involvement that most North Americans have with their automobiles, some individuals admit that they value their cars more than human beings close to them. In response to one survey, the majority of young male adults said they would part with their girlfriends much faster than they would part with their automobiles.

Another consumer survey concluded that approximately half of automobile purchasers saw their car as a reflection of who they are either "a lot" or to "some" degree. A little over a quarter (26 percent) said that their car was "not at all" a reflection of their identities. To the untrained eye, the figure for the "not at all" category could be somewhat misleading.

No other man-made device since the shields and lances of the ancient knights fulfills a man's ego like an automobile.
- Sir William Rootes (later Lord) (1894-1964), British automobile manufacturer. Quoted in: "Who Said That?" 14 Jan. 1958, BBC-TV.

Of course, psychologically healthy individuals whose emotional well-being isn't tied to their automobiles would fall into this group. However, the group would also include individuals who are driving clunkers due to financial restraints. In the event they encountered a higher cash flow, most clunker owners would trade up for something newer and classier in an attempt to enhance their identities.

I don't even like old cars . . . I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
- J. D. Salinger

Some people feel that the automobile, more than anything else including one's house, is the possession that is most noticed by others as a measure of one's power, status, wealth, and success. Thus, they purchase the most expensive car that their credit rating will allow, so that they can make a bold statement about themselves.

Clearly, a flashy and expensive car in today's credit-crazed world doesn't indicate the owner's true financial status. Especially to the trained eye, an expensive car is a better measure of how far away the owner is from being a psychologically healthy individual and the amount of debt in which he or she is immersed.

The sports car and sailboat are investments for my retirement. I'm using them to attract a woman who will support me in my old age.
- Glasbergen talking to financial consultant in cartoon

The biggest problem with status seeking through automobiles is that most people can't afford the cars they are driving. In fact, they don't even have a clear idea of how much their cars actually cost them.

For example, a modestly priced newer car, such as a Taurus, costs an average of $360.00 a month to run in the U.S. People in a higher tax bracket will find that they have to gross at least $500.00 a month to net the $360.00 required to operate the car.

A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach. It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system.
- Jean Cocteau

Of course, for an ego-serving SUV or luxury car, the depreciation, fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs are much higher. The bottom line is that flashy cars feed weak identities and drive away big money. Sadly, in an attempt to connect with other humans through their automobiles, most people are driving vehicles that they can't really afford and definitely don't need.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don't need.
- from the movie Fight Club (1999)

As I found out not so long ago, it's easy to get seduced into a love affair with a vehicle that one doesn't need. Because my twelve-year-old Taurus needed repairs, I was considering the purchase of a one- or two-year-old Toyota Camry. A dealership close to my home happened to have such a car. During the test drive, I was impressed by the car's smooth ride, acceleration, and general feel compared to my Taurus.

Having allowed myself to be overcome by the car's features and modern gadgetry, I was seriously considering buying the Camry for $21,000. I had the funds in the bank, so money was no problem.

Then, out of curiosity, I happened to ask the salesman what he drove. To my surprise, he told me that he found a dealer-subsidized demonstrator too expensive; instead, he drove a 1984 Olds Cutlass that he recently purchased for $950.

No illusion is more crucial than the illusion that great success and huge money buy you immunity from the common ills of mankind, such as cars that won't start.
- Larry McMurtry

Fortunately, not being a big fan of vanity and stupidity, I was able to resist the temptation to purchase the Camry. More than anything, the salesman's revelation that he drove an older used car helped me decide against spending money on something I could do without. Instead, I booked the Taurus into the local technical school for front-end and transmission work to be done by students under the supervision of licensed instructors.

Mechanical work that would have cost me $3500 at a repair shop ended up costing me $1100. I am still driving this car and don't feel inferior to the SUV and luxury car owners of this world. In fact, I occasionally kick my Taurus when I get out of it in front of the coffee bar to show the "arrested and not highly evolved" status seekers the benefits of owning such a car. I certainly don't worry about someone denting or scratching it.

Automobiles are free of egotism, passion, prejudice and stupid ideas about where to have dinner. They are, literally, selfless. A world designed for automobiles instead of people would have wider streets, larger dining rooms, fewer stairs to climb and no smelly, dangerous subway stations.
- P. J. O'Rourke

Just because a car is older doesn't mean that it is no longer functional, acceptable, or out of place. I have never owned a new car and I know many well-to-do people who have never owned one either. Indeed, 27 percent of millionaires resist the temptation to purchase new cars. They realize that a new car is old the day the owner drives it off the lot. These savvy millionaires prefer to purchase something that is two or three years old and have a more psychologically-deprived person take the big hit on the first few years of depreciation.

I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.
- Roland Barthes

In contrast to the mass of car owners who drive vehicles far above what they can afford, most wealthy people show their psychological maturity by driving cars worth a lot less than their wealth allows them to buy. Take for example Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines and owner of a $3.5-billion company. Branson recently told a reporter, "I don't own a Rolls-Royce, because, really, any car will do to get you around town."

If you must drive an expensive car to feel good about yourself, at least make sure you can afford it. Save for one until you can buy it for cash. By the time you have saved sufficient funds, you may have found a better way to fulfill the emotional needs that were driving you to purchase a car you don't need.

The reason American cars don't sell anymore is that they have forgotten how to design the American Dream. What does it matter if you buy a car today or six months from now, because cars are not beautiful. That's why the American auto industry is in trouble: no design, no desire.
- Karl Lagerfeld (b. 1938), German-born French fashion designer. Quoted in: Vanity Fair (New York, Feb. 1992).

As I found out with the Camry, not wanting something is as good as owning it, and a lot less trouble. Incidentally, my friend Joy purchased a two-year old Camry similar to the one I was going to buy. She is making payments of $450 a month and working twelve hours a day to pay for it. At the same time, I am working five hours a day and enjoying life much more.

To the extent that you are psychologically healthy, and realize that the most expensive car you can finance won't enhance your inner well-being, will determine whether you purchase an automobile primarily for function or for status. The decision to downscale expenditures on automobiles can be one of the most important financial decisions you ever make. Buy something practical and conservative and you will be much better off.

Having a big car doesn't mean that you have money. It usually means that you have a big shallow ego and no money.
- Author Unknown

If you start doing this early on in life, you can use the savings to purchase a more comfortable home, something that gives you a much higher return on your money. Alternatively, you can invest the money to build long term wealth so that you can be far ahead of the pack in attaining financial freedom.

If you are an individual with high self-esteem, you will look at your automobile as a means of transportation, and nothing much more. Forget about it being a status symbol with which you attempt to make a statement about yourself. What are you saying about yourself if you need a flashy automobile to impress people? There is also the question of the type of people, if any, that you are you going to impress.

Are you considering buying a new or used car in the near future?

If you are, you may want some new car buying advice from Liz Pulliam Weston

"If you're constantly broke and can't figure out why, the answer may be sitting in your driveway.

Americans are spending more on their vehicles than ever before - more than $8,000 a year on average -and it's driving some to the breaking point.

Credit counselor Bill Thompson of Jacksonville, Fla., estimates that one out of every four clients his agency sees has overspent - sometimes dramatically - on a car."

 See: Your Car May Be the Reason You Are Broke

More Quotations about Cars and Money

One day an American worries about going to the poorhouse, and the next day he buys a new automobile.
- Author Unknown

By the time a man can afford to buy one of those little sports cars, he's too fat to get into it.
- Author Unknown

In business, I loved cars. I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning. Only in America can you decide to get a good education and pursue what you like.
- Lee Iacocca

After pricing new cars it begins to look like the economy model is the one you're now driving.
— Unknown wise car owner

There was a time when $200 was the down-payment on a car; now it's the sale tax.
— Unknown wise car owner

Nothing lengthens the life of your car like marr m• off the last of your children.
— Unknown wise car owner

The easiest way to lose control of a car is to forget to make the payments.
— Unknown wise car owner

The new cars give you more room by removing the bulge in your wallet.
— Unknown wise car owner

The worst car trouble is when the engine won't start and the payments won't stop.
— Unknown wise car owner

There are still a few people who can remember when it cost more to operate a car than to park it.
— Unknown wise car owner

Power brakes may stop a car on a dime, but it usually costs more than a hundred dollars to get the rear end fixed.
— Unknown wise car owner

Nothing reduces the value of a car like trading it in.
— Unknown wise car owner

Some auto mechanics can estimate the cost of repairs very closely. They can usually get within a dollar or two of what you have in your pocket.
— Unknown wise car owner

Bank interest on a loan is so high that if you can afford to pay it you don't need the loan.
— Unknown wise car owner

Drive-in banks were established so that automobiles could see their real owners occasionally.
— Unknown wise car owner

Soon after purchasing a used car a man finds out how hard it is to drive a bargain.
— Unknown wise car owner

Having a big car doesn't always mean you have money; it may mean you once had money.
— Unknown wise car owner

A new car isn't a barometer of how much money a fellow has, but it's a pretty good indication of how much money he owes.
- Author Unknown

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.
- Erma Bombeck

Man who run in front of car get tired; man who run behind car get exhausted.
- Chinese proverb

I can walk. It's just that I'm so rich I don't have to.
- Alan Bennett

A cheap old car can be quite annoying. But so can a new expensive one.
- Author Unknown 

 Cars and Money - Porsche Boxster

 Rules in the World of Motoring

Here are some tips about driving a car in foreign lands as reported in The New York Times;

  • You can rent a car in China but if you want to drive it you need a Chinese driver's license.
  • In Spain, if you wear glasses, by law you have to carry an extra pair with you in case the first pair is broken.
  • Sounding your car horn in Finland is illegal except in cases of immediate danger.
  • In Switzerland, if you are behind two or more cars at a traffic light, you are required to turn off your engine.


THE MONEY CAFÉ COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Ernie J. Zelinski
All Rights Reserved





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