Why I Bought a Luxury Vehicle

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?

Before and After

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.

Anyone else out there driving a luxury/expensive vehicle? Do you regret your purchase or think it was a good one?

Any other bloggers out there doing anything that seems like it goes against the grain?

26 thoughts on “Why I Bought a Luxury Vehicle

Add yours

  1. No judgement here (but I am the girl who did buy a brand new car). I’m not sure I would do that again but I like the reliability of having a car that’s in good condition.
    My boyfriend actually has a 2008 Jeep Liberty that he’s selling right now. It’s been great for us but we’re going down to one car and it makes more sense to keep mine as it’s newer with low mileage. I’ll be sad to see it go though, the Jeep is so good in the winter and for hauling stuff.

    1. No judgment for anyone buying a new car either! I have only ever driven a SUV, so I was really shocked by the price of brand new SUVs more than anything. Also because I hadn’t car shopped since I was 16, so prices have increased quite a bit since then haha.

      I totally agree with you on the reliability of a new or newer car though. That’s awesome you guys are able to go down to one car! That will definitely keep your costs low! Do you live in a city where it’s easy to get around?

  2. I don’t think you should ever care what people will think of your purchases as personal finance is personal after all. The Benz is a beautiful car and all that matters is you are happy with it and it’s paid off.

  3. Not judging at all! I bought a brand new car in 2013. While I certainly consider it a mistake, like you I envision at least 10-15 years in it. I’d be more concerned if you were going to flip it next year and get the newer model each time!

    1. If that were the case I would hope I’d go for a lease instead of buying then! haha but I definitely drive too much to lease anyway. Plus I like the idea of owning what I’m paying for.

  4. I haven’t had to drive in 7 years, so I’m not sure what I would do. But I do sometimes think about that new car smell and how fun it would be to get a new car! I think I’d get a little hatchback.

    I agree with you. As long as you have your financial act together, no one has the right to judge your spending. It sounds like you found value in the purchase and it was intentional, too.

    1. Thanks, Luxe! I’d like to think so 🙂

      I am kind of envious of your no-driving life. I love the city but my husband does not (even though he’s the one who works there now). He loves driving and having property and such. I wish I could spend a year just being able to walk or take public transportation and having everything so close.

  5. Nice car! I had C-300 4matic I sold a few months back because it was an extra car and I didn’t feel like paying the insurance anymore. We have 2 cars now and I agree on buying slightly used from a cost and depreciation perspective. Hope you both enjoy it for a looonnnnngggg time 🙂

  6. As the owner of a bought new 9 years ago Corvette all I can say is, it depends on what you value in life. Cars are one possible option, if you forgo other things. Cars are my hobby, so cars come over coffee and other vices… everyone has a vice. If they don’t they are not really enjoying themselves.

    1. I absolutely agree with that! Everyone “splurges” on different things. While for me, cars aren’t my hobby, it was important to me to have a car a that I love, feel comfortable in and can last me a long time. Mine fit the bill!

  7. Our cars are old now. We bought them brand new back in 2004, and they’re still in great shape. We picked the car we did through a similar exercise, but we found we could do without the butt warmer and the reverse cam, and the built in GPS, and the PRICE TAG.

    We considered the more expensive “luxury” vehicle with all of those goodies and just couldn’t see that the value was there.

    We own them outright now. They’re nicked and dinged here and there. There are some stains on the upholstery from our kids. Come to think of it, most of the nicks and dings are from them too… jeez, those kids are expensive… unless you just don’t care how your car looks, how you come off to others, and how many nicks and scratches your car has (rust risk aside)… then, suddenly … it’s all good.

    1. I definitely think a new car can be worth it when you plan to get as much use out of it as your family seems to be! That’s really my goal with my car(s) always.

      To elaborate on your point, I don’t think ANY purchase should ever be made for how you come off to others because no matter what it’s a bad investment if you’re not doing it for you. I would have never bought my Mercedes if it was solely for what others would think. Screw that! haha

  8. Awesome car!

    We are in the market for an SUV instead of two cars for our family. Need something bigger for long road trips.

    I have nothing against anyone buying a care they want responsibly. You checked all the boxes in my eyes, used car, large down payment, paid off now, and reliable/value.

    This purchase does put your in a cash flow crunch or ruin your long term goals, so I say smart decision. Would have been silly if you have been blogging about barely paying credit card debt off. I think this is just responsible car buying.

    Great purchase! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate the nice feedback.

      It was VERY important to me to not feel stress about a car payment since prior to this purchase I had never had one (thanks, mom and dad!). So we decided to put as much down as we felt comfortable with and then set a goal to pay off the car as soon as feasible. The less debt the better for us!

      Best of luck with your car hunt! I really do recommend the Ford Explorer. It was a close 2nd, but we figured we didn’t need a 3rd row until we’ve got kids, so I’m fairly certain that will end up being my next car down the road!

  9. This comment really has nothing to do with buying/owning a luxury car although I agree with everyone else that it’s totally up to you how you choose to spend your money. It doesn’t matter what other people think. My question is this: I have always heard that german cars tend to be temperamental and lack the long term reliability associated with other makes. Would you be willing to do a post about your experiences with maintenance and reliability? I would be curious just because I have considered german makes in the past but have always been scared off. Cheers!

    1. Absolutely! I’ve only had my car for just shy of one year now (although it’s a 2014, so it is 3+ year sold) with no problems! Once I’ve owned it a bit longer I’d love to do a post about that.

  10. This was such a great post! My husband drives a slightly older 2003 Suzuki that’s comparable to the Audi A3? I believe. It literally came with all the bells and whistles and the upgraded interior- Audi experience for thousands of dollars less!

    We spend so much of our time commuting [at least I do] that if you can afford it, spending a bit more on a nicer experience is totally worth it in my opinion!

  11. I took out a loan for my current car (now paid off) and maintain it was the single best automotive decision I’ve EVER made. Would do it all over again.

    1. So glad to hear that! I definitely think a new/newer car is a great investment from a maintenance standpoint. If I was handier with cars, maybe I’d be fine with older models if I could do maintenance myself and such!

  12. It looks like you did your homework on this one! The thing that separates you from a lot of people who buy luxury vehicles is you had a plan to pay it off way early, and you put a lot down upfront.

    Most people are stuck with that car payment for YEARS clogging up their usable income. Kudos to you for getting a great vehicle and getting rid of the payment quickly!

    1. Thanks, Jamie!! It was a great accomplishment! We definitely did our homework and spent a good amount of time mulling over all the different aspects of the purchase.

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