You’re at a red light and look to your side. You see someone about your age, but he’s driving a car that’s a lot younger—and a nicer brand to boot.
What was it? What makes you most jealous? Is it a Tesla, a new Audi SUV, or a Shelby Mustang, or a glossy Jeep Wrangler with the doors off?
How can you keep from getting into the “new car envy” trap? How about this:
Many people are financing new cars between five and seven years, and it is not affordable. The average car payment is about $474, and it is one of the reasons many families are struggling with their finances. The average car loan is 66 months long on a car that costs $27,000. The average 401(k) balance for people between the ages of 22 and 34 is only $16,500, and the average balance for individuals between 35 and 48 years old is $63,000. The bottom line is that many people are mixing up their priorities and putting themselves in the position of being “car poor.”
According to Dave Ramsey, a businessman, author, radio host, television personality and motivational speaker, the guy with the new sports car should just open his window and throw $100 bills into the wind. He said that buying a new car is like throwing money away the moment you drive it off the lot. However, Ramsey says that if you are a millionaire, you can feel free to get crazy and buy yourself a brand-new car.
In addition, if you are a millionaire, you can probably stop reading here.
What is the New Car Smell Worth?
Buying a new car means driving around in a car that has that “new car smell,” but how much do you want to pay for it? Think about the total cost of buying a new car and being its very first owner. When you take the cost into account, it may be well worth it to do the research and find a great used car that is in good shape—without the new car smell. Instead, you will have the benefit of knowing how the money you saved feels in the bank.
Reasons Not to be Envious of People Driving New Cars
If you want to save a lot of money and heartache, buying a used car is wise.
- New cars lose 60 percent of their value in the first five years. When you pick up a used car, the original owner is the one who has paid the cost of depreciation. You will have a great four-or-five-year-old car, which will be way below the wholesale price of a new car.
- Think about Ramsey’s logic. You are about to finance a new car with $400-a-month payments. The car you are now driving is worth about $1,500. If you paid yourself and not the dealer the $400 a month for 10 months, you would have $4,000. In the meantime, you can opt to sell your car for $1,500, save the $400 a month for 10 months and wind up having the grand total of $5,500 to buy a used car. Once you repeat these steps, you will have a $10,000 car only 30 months after the saving began. When talking dollars and cents, it makes a lot more sense to forgo the new car while watching its value plunge.
- If you visit a used car lot, you’ll find cars available from expired leases. In addition, some of the best deals are from people who want to get rid of their cars—they have one car to get rid of instead of the many choices that a dealer has on the lot. Another avenue to take is repo auctions that offer good deals.
- Used cars are better bargains, because they come with a lower price and less depreciation. It is also why you can purchase a 2007 Porsche for the price of a 2011 Honda. Somebody else bought the Porsche for $50,000, and you can own it for half the price.
- Many state laws mandate that new cars have a state sales tax. Used cars do not have the tax. The sales tax that dealers have to add to the new car price can be in the thousands of dollars.
- For most states, the annual registration fee is based on the car’s value and model year. The rate is the highest for the first three years of the car before it levels off after five years. You may be able to save about $1,000 by not paying a new car registration fee and opting for a car that is three or more years old.
- New car buyers pay a lot of money for the extras, such as anti-rust coating and stripes. However, they can get the same things after they buy the car without paying the car dealer prices. On top of that, the additions do not add a penny to the resale value.
- Dealers put a price tag on everything, from shipping charges and destination fees to rust-proofing and dealer preparation. On the other hand, when you purchase a used car, you will only have to pay for the necessities at the Department of Motor Vehicles–the tags, title and registration fees.
- Cars are now built to last for 100,000 miles and more. Buying a used car does not mean you have to give up reliability and condition in order to get a good deal. You can get a used car in great shape inside and out that is in “like new” condition.
Envy Has Harmful Effects
People envy other peoples’ cars, appearance, talents, bank accounts and more. It adds no value to their lives. Envy has many ill effects on people, including:
- It brings about discontent and distress.
- It keeps people from being free.
- It leads to the resentment and bitterness of other people.
- It causes people to do things they would not do otherwise.
- It can cause people to become depressed.
Living Without Envy
That green, little monster called envy tries to move in every now and then, but it really just keeps people from enjoying what they have and leaves them feeling unhappy about themselves and their own lives. The following are ways to break free of envy.
- A main reason for envy is that people begin to take what they have for granted. Take an inventory of the many gifts you have, such as talent and uniqueness, and be grateful you are not like everybody else. (This exercise may have to be repeated once in a while to make sure that you remember how valuable you are.)
- There will always seem to be others who are better off than you. But, the comparisons we make are always the worst of what we know about ourselves combined with the best that we assume of others. Everybody has problems and weaknesses, but nobody has it all.
- Try not to spend free time with individuals who compare everything, from clothing to new cars. Being with those people will help you fall into the same trap of comparing material items and putting value on the wrong things. Immerse yourself in the more important things in life.
- Make sure to spend time with people who show gratitude. These individuals have contentment in their lives.
- Advertisers use jealousy and envy as marketing tools. They can cause us to want the possessions that other people have. It is important to realize the tactics they use and to avoid them.
- Be happy for the success and good fortune of other people. Instead of competing with others for something, join in their happiness. Once you are able to do this, you will start to remove the envy from your life.
- Instead of giving in to that stingy, green monster, make it a point to be generous with your time, your abilities, talents and skills. Volunteer in the community, and support causes you believe in. When you spend more of your time and energy with others who have less than you do, you will find more fulfillment and meaning in your life.