My Cars

Wade over at Destination Financial Wisdom [edit – link no longer valid] posted about the 15 cars (yes, 15!)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.

New Cars

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:

1984 Mini Mayfair

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, no broken bones but had to have stitches on my leg and face). 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.

I have one year to go on the lease and once I pay off the final payment, the car belongs to me.  The other bonus will be that suddenly, I will have an extra £148 per month to invest – woo hoo! In the past, I guess I just spent the extra funds I had following the end of each lease – now, I know better!

As with all my previous cars, I’ll keep it until it starts costing too much to maintain.

Lifestyle Inflation

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!

11 thoughts on “My Cars

  1. Hi Weenie,

    I love your Mini, its a shame about how it ended between you! I've only ever had a couple of cars and must admit that i hate driving! And since I've been with my husband, he now does all the driving and it has now been several years since I've last driven.

    I honestly don't miss having my 'own car' and just walk or bike if I need to go somewhere but I do need to get back into driving before I completely forget how to drive.

    The last couple of vehicles we have brought have all been cash buys and it is a nice feeling to buy a car out right but it is very easy to get sucked into leasing as it enables you to buy a more expensive car.

  2. Hi Mrs FF, I would have loved to have gotten another Mini but after the crash, I promised my Mum I would never get one!

    I don't mind driving and would be lost without a car – when my last Clio was in the garage and I couldn't sort out a rental vehicle, I had to rely on taxis and the tram to get to work – not cheap and not convenient!

    If I'm going to be buying my next car outright, it'll have to be a cheaper one!

  3. I love your list of cars. 15 cars in 27 years is pretty ridiculous. 2 were "fun" cars. I drove the Mazda MPV for 6 years. But many were "try this out" only to find they didn't fit our family size or got horrible gas mileage. I bought one just to pull a camper we had for 3 years. I definitely need to slow down the car buying. But I do like cars. Thanks for the call out and for the information about your cars.

  4. Hi Wade, I don't consider myself a car person so I would never have gone down the 'try this out' route you have – to do so would have meant misery had the car not been fit for purpose! Still, I can see how someone who's into cars would have a lot of fun trying different ones out!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think that some lifestyle inflation is normal, I think that it's more of a matter of keeping it within reason as you get older. Usually as you get older you dress nicer (or even have a specific work wardrobe), start living in slightly nicer places, eating better. Trying to constantly live like you're in college is a difficult thing to maintain. I'm pretty sure every area in my life has had some inflation since college!

  6. Hi Zee, that is true, some lifestyle inflation is to be expected as we get older. I could have done better with my cars though, so it will be interesting to see how I go about getting a cheaper car next time!

  7. Hi Weenie,

    Cool Mini 🙂

    I may do a post on my cars…

    An old 90's Skoda Felicia, a Hyundai van, an old Yamaha 125 YBR motorbike, a Honda CBN600 (2nd hand, but it was on finance :-O ), a Suzuki 650S and a Seat Ibiza (current car). A few bikes in there admittedly.

    Mr Z

  8. Cool Mini, it looks awesome.

    I've only had a Ford Taurus and a Honda Civic so far. Have driven the Civic for almost 9 years now.

  9. Hi Mr Z, thanks and it sounds like your post on cars (and bikes) will be very interesting – look forward to seeing the pics!

  10. Thanks Tawcan – I'd love to have another Mini. The newer styles aren't so 'mini' though, they're actually pretty big cars, wider than you think! I was looking at a Civic before I bought my latest car, but it was out of my price range! Have heard that they are very reliable though.

  11. I’ve only had a Ford Taurus and a Honda Civic so far. Have driven the Civic for almost 9 years now.

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