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The best car she never bought

Blogger 'didn't want to be working for a thing.'

By Karen Datko Oct 9, 2009 2:09AM

Blunt Money's first job after graduate school paid $42,000, so what was one of the first things she did? She went shopping for a new car. "Why was I doing this?" she writes. "When it came right down to it, I didn't know. It just seemed like what people did. Get a better job? Get a better car!"

It was 1999, and the car she test drove was a BMW Z3, which, she recalls, cost about $40,000 at the time. Sounds crazy, but not totally out of line with current car-buying practices. According to, car buyers on average put a measly $2,400 down, finance $24,864 and pay $479 a month. To make matters worse, the most popular loan is for more than five years, dragging those interest payments out longer than people reasonably should.

So what did Blunt Money do?

She realized she really liked her 9-year-old car. She also recognized the financial burden she would assume. After all, the price of that new car was nearly equal to her gross annual income. (By the way, experts recommend spending no more than 20% of household income on car payments.)

"What if something happened and I had to pay for the car without the same income?" she writes. "I didn't want to be working for a thing. Or to potentially have to choose between things like somewhere to live or something to drive."

Good decision. A divorce and the dot-com bust soon altered her life. She writes, "It's the best car I never bought."

Published Feb. 22, 2008



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