Everyone Has A Story About A Stupid Purchase & This is Mine

March 13, 2017

I have a ton of dumb purchase stories but let me tell you my personal favorite which is my own.  I was halfway through my MBA and had just landed a job at private equity firm.  I thought this was it, I had made it!  I would now be commuting so I asked my dad to help me shop for a car one weekend.  I had $6k saved up to buy something.  We headed to the Honda dealership to get my sweet new ride.  We looked around a bit and I asked my dad to go find a salesmen to ask about a price on a used CRV.  I started wandering towards the sales floor and saw him across the street at the Mercedes dealership!!  He was already with a salesmen sitting in a Mercedes SUV.  One thing led to another and before you know it I’m leaving the dealership in my used Mercedes SUV.  I also left with a $20k loan, my poor $6k flushed as a down payment, and a $330 monthly payment for the next five years.

This my friends is what happens when you’re a spineless jellyfish and let people convince you to do things you don’t want.  I’ve been a pushover since I could remember.  I think its my extreme dislike of conflict combined with my inner need to show people I’m smart and successful, when reality this purchase made me look like an absolute idiot.  No my 25 year old self did NOT need a Mercedes! I was already racking up debt left and right from student loans and credit cards.  My loans were in deferment so I hadn’t felt the burn of repayment yet.  I thought I could definitely handle my $330 payment with my fancy new private equity job.

I think it took me about 7 months to realize I had to ditch that car.  I was starting to worry about my student loans and my credit card was skyrocketing.   Paying for that premium gas, that $200 a month parking garage (because of course you have to park your Mercedes somewhere fancy), and those $150 oil changes had worn me down.  I was also in a pretty bad accident which significantly reduced the value (not that it wasn’t already reduced because the value of any car you buy depreciates like crazy the first few months you own it).

Cars have to be the most useless “investment” of all time.  As soon as you drive it off the lot its value is clipped like crazy.  You pour hundreds of dollars a month into it not including basics like gas, insurance, and repairs.  Most people are underwater on their loans for at least two years after they get their loan.

So goes my saga of trying to sell that beast back.  I found a really nice 2005 Honda civic at the dealership across from my office and went over one day to check it out.  I ended up being $1,000 underwater on my Mercedes loan, but said screw it, bought the car in cash, paid the difference, and left that day with my new beater.  I still saved about $15k by paying that underwater amount and outright for my Honda rather than paying the rest of the loan and maintenance on my Mercedes.

The relief I felt was instant.  I didn’t have to worry about a huge payment, premium gas, or the stress of knowing I had 4 more years trapped to a vehicle I had grown to resent.  It’s been 2 years since I traded in my car and I still get comments from my family and friends making fun of how old it is, asking when I’m going to get a new car, and calling it crap.  My little car is adorable, paid for, runs great (knock on wood), and I’ll drive it into the ground.  I will never take out a car payment again, ever!  Also, have you ever in your life liked someone less because of the car they drove?  The majority of you will say no; some will say yes and if so you’re an asshole get off my site!  No one cares what car you drive in reality!  If you get caught up in that reality, soon someone you know will buy a nicer car than you, and you begin to think about trading up.  Consuming more more more for no reason.  Take it from me, trading in my fancy car for my little old Honda was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  No car payment, no stress!

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4 Comments
    1. Great read wow from $6,000 to a $20,000 car. Glad you were able to get out of that situation and found a dealer willing to take it I didn’t even know that was possible. I meet people all the time that tell me they have a $400-500 car payment and say they can’t get out of it and I just keep thinking to myself are you sure you can’t sell your car and just get a cheaper one. You’re right this society has brain washed us into thinking we need more and we need luxury, people can have it, but I too am working towards being debt free.

      1. It is crazy how easy it is to dig yourself into a debt hole and so many people just keep on digging by buying things they think are necessary. That car payment invested over time or used to payoff debt could be a game changer. The good thing about mistakes is that you learn from them and (hopefully) won’t make them twice. Good luck on your debt payoff!

    1. Good for you for sticking up for your finances and trading in your Mercedes! I, personally, love crazy, fancy, expensive cars – but I know they will never be something I actually own (and I don’t think someone is a better person because they own one). I also own a 2005 Honda and it’s the best car ever! The pull of keeping up with the Joneses is hard enough when the pressure isn’t coming from inside your own family. This was probably a great learning experience for you and now you know to never let anyone push a purchase onto you that you don’t actually need!

      1. We are on the exact same page! It’s definitely been a learning experience and now that I know I’m a pushover I can spot the signs when I’m caving and back out of the situation. Good for you for not buying something crazy and sticking with the Honda because they really are the best cars and last forever!

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