Being a blogger means a lot of people knowing some personal things about you and, naturally, forming opinions on those things. Sometimes I worry about judgement I’ll receive for certain lifestyle choices I make if I put the information out there. However, I like the idea of being very transparent with my readers. I don’t want to be giving advice under false pretenses, which is why I’m using this post to admit something that I know many other personal finance bloggers are against: I own a luxury vehicle.
My husband has two cars: a Ford Focus and a Pontiac GTO, neither of which are very spacious. I, on the other hand, had a Jeep Liberty, which was not the largest vehicle, but it was an SUV. We used to use my Jeep to go anywhere that required us to have a packed car. Last year, three days before our wedding, I got a flat tire. That same night was the night we were supposed to be bringing all of our wedding accouterments to our venue, so they could have everything set up for us on the big day. When we brought my Jeep to our mechanic, he informed us it was going to be QUITE an expensive fix because I was going to need a new transmission. Being that it was three days before the wedding, I had no time to stress about that situation. We asked if he would mind fixing the tire in the meantime, and we’d get back to him after the honeymoon when we’d have time to think it over.
A little background on this Jeep of mine: at the time, the Jeep was the only car I had ever owned. My parents bought me a certified preowned 2006 Jeep Liberty when I turned 16 in 2006. I commuted to college for undergrad for 3 years and then one additional year for graduate school. Before my husband and I moved in together, we lived 45 minutes apart, so there was quite a bit of mileage put on my Jeep going back and forth. For over a year, I commuted 50 miles each way to work. I had 10 years and well over 100,000 miles with my Jeep by the time it called for a new transmission.
Since the cost to fix my car would have been more than the car itself was worth, I decided I’d prefer to go car shopping and see what was out there. As many of you know, and probably personally have experience with, by the time your car is 10 years old, you are missing out on a TON of features. I really wanted to experience some of those new features for myself. I knew I wanted a SUV, for sure, but wasn’t sure which one. Originally, I was dead set on getting a brand new vehicle because I felt like I deserved that after 10 years with the same one. Then, I decided it was worth considering slightly used, or “certified preowned” cars too (sticker shock certainly hit me hard). I didn’t want to get an older car that I would have to end up putting money into shortly after purchasing it. After test driving a bunch, I was between a new 2016 Ford Explorer Sport and a used 2014 Mercedes Benz ML 350. Guess which one won?
The used Mercedes ML 350 came with MORE features and ended up being less money than the new Ford Explorer Sport. For this reason, and a few others of course, I decided to go for the Mercedes. I could not be happier with my choice. I absolutely love my car and it had been a really long time since I had felt that way. Heated seats, back up camera, sun roof, satellite radio, individualized temperature control, lane assistance and so many other great features I had never had the chance to experience! Plus, I was so comfortable in this car and happy to drive around in it. This was important to me because I have a 45-minute commute to work (each way), so I spend a decent amount of time in my car. Not to mention, we ended up getting a great deal as it was Labor Day weekend. The best time for deals with cars is September-December. There are so many sales events during this time because the dealerships try to push out all the current year’s vehicles to make room for the new vehicles.
In addition to the great price we got my car for, we got a financing rate of 0.99%. We put a large chunk of money down on the car, financing just $12,500 for cash flow purposes. We also then paid the entire car off as of May 2017 when we received the money from an investment we made in an IPO (here’s how you can get involved in IPOs and here’s details about our specific investment). This means we paid off my slightly used luxury SUV in just 9 short months. While we didn’t know that we would make as much as we did off of that investment, we always planned to pay off my car by the end of 2017 because my husband and I try to avoid debt whenever we possibly can, the exception being our mortgage.
So, there you have it. I’m a personal finance blogger and I bought a luxury vehicle and I am not ashamed to admit it. I plan to keep this car for as long as possible. If I kept my previous car for 10 years, I’m sure I will get around the same use out of this one. It’s also fairly large and spacious, which makes it suitable for the future whenever we decide to grow our family. It will also keep its value better than most SUVs out there. In my opinion, it was a smart decision and one I certainly do not regret.
The point is there will almost always be something cheaper. I absolutely could have settled for an older car or fixed my own. But after doing a cost-benefit analysis, my happiness tipped the scale because I knew we would be able to pay off the car quickly and, honestly, we could have bought it outright that day. The same concept can be applied to vacation, clothes, restaurants, groceries, home décor and so much more. Some people do aim for the cheapest of everything and that’s okay. Other people want the best of the best and, as long as you can afford it comfortably, that’s fine. Then there’s the group in between (where I think I fall) that is money conscious, but also splurges on things they deem appropriate. As long as you have all your bases covered- you can pay your bills, contribute to retirement, have emergency savings, etc.- and you’re not drowning in debt, then I personally think you should feel free to treat yourself however you would like.