Wade over at Destination Financial Wisdom [edit – link no longer valid] posted about the 15 cars (yes, 15!) he’s driven and owned, and it gave me the idea to write my own post about cars.
Many FI and PF blogs warn readers of the perils of leasing vehicles or getting car loans, advising people to avoid them at all costs. Leasing is a common way in the UK for most people to buy their cars, but that’s not to say it’s always a good idea, particularly for people who have debts or who can’t afford the repayments.
Throughout my adult life, apart from when I was a student and cycled to my lectures, I’ve never lived anywhere where not having a car was a viable option. Even if I wasn’t driving all the way to work, eg taking the tram, I would still have to drive part of the journey.
I’ve always liked the idea of owning new cars (apart from my first car of course); it didn’t have to be anything particularly flash or sporty – I just liked new and preferred my motoring to be hassle-free (I don’t know anything about cars, except how to check the oil, tyre pressure and replace the windscreen wash).
My cars are usually financed on 3 or 4 year leases and I’ve always purchased them at the end of the lease. Looking back however, I know now that leasing cars wasn’t always a good idea while I had other debt, that I could have gone for cheaper new (or nearly new) cars but I guess I was a bit of a car snob!
Anyway, here are the cars I’ve owned and driven – there aren’t many:
Engine size 1.1 – my first car, purchased second hand during my work placement year at uni, with a loan from my Mum. I loved it but owned it for only 4 months. The last time I saw it, I was being cut out of it by firemen after a head-on collision with a lorry (not my fault and yes, I was ok). I repaid my Mum’s loan with my insurance payout., which in those days, wasn’t a lot of money.
1993 Peugeot 106 Key West
Engine size 1.0 – I felt like I was a ‘grown-up’ with my first car lease (how little I knew then…) Car was great, really nippy around the city but not so great for motorway driving or long distances. After 5 years, mechanical costs became so much (and so regular) that I was putting repair costs on my credit cards…
1999 Renault Clio
Engine size 1.4 – With increasing credit card debt and a mortgage, I probably shouldn’t have gone for this lease but I needed a reliable car and to ‘cheer myself up’ after having to deal with the mechanical repairs for my last car, I ended up buying my ‘fastest’ car. I think I paid for the final payment with my credit card… After 6 years, servicing got very expensive, with continuous problems with the catalytic converter.
2005 Renault Clio Dynamique
Engine size 1.2 – I was shopping around for a good deal but Renault gave me the best part-exchange quote for my old car so I ended up getting another Clio. My first car with air conditioning! Sadly, in the last year I had it, the car broke down twice, both times on a busy motorway…not nice at all.
2012 Mazda 2 Venture
Engine size 1.3 – my current car and my first with 5 doors. Seeing my old Dad try to squeeze into the back of my 3-door Clio brought home the fact that I needed to get a ‘grown-up’ car! The good news is that by the time I bought this car, I had cleared all my credit card debts.
As with all my previous cars, I’ll keep it until it starts costing too much to maintain.
I’d never heard of this term before I became part of the PF blogging community but I now see that each car lease I’ve gotten has progressively increased. Perhaps that’s just because cars in general are more expensive but there were certain cheaper makes of cars that I didn’t even consider – now that I’ve changed my view on my finances, I must get over my car snobbiness!
Still, the good thing I guess is that I was never into sporty cars and didn’t aspire to get top of the range. So while I was driving my little 1.0 Peugeot 106, my friends were zooming around in their sporty GTI hatches – I was never a ‘girl racer’! I have no idea how they were able to afford to buy such cars.
At some point in the future when I’m older, I may wish to switch to an automatic car (apparently easier to drive, but more expensive than manual and cost more to service). By this time though, I may be able to purchase this vehicle with cash, so perhaps overall, cost will even itself out.
So will my current lease to be my last lease? I’d like to think so!