The New Car Conundrum

Shorter post today – the summer weather is HOT! And car purchasing decisions can make a person sweat, or not.

Last July, yours truly bought a new car – after 16 years driving the same fully-paid for car. The old car was purchased as a certified pre-owned (back when CPO saved tens of thousands of dollars); the new car purchase last year was a brand-new car from a dealership. There were “those people” who commented, “Why buy a car now (last July) amidst high prices for new and used cars? Why not wait for prices to come down?” There were valid reasons to ask those questions. But looking back, the decision was a wise one and has stood up amidst full-on, continuing high inflation.

When the time comes to replace an older vehicle, even inflation may not hold up as the most valid reason to delay the purchase.

The white-hot market for new and used cars may have subsided a bit in recent months but prices for nearly everything including cars, SUVs and trucks continue to rise, as well as housing, food, restaurants, entertainment, air travel, clothing, and home remodeling supplies. Prices continue to increase for the entire spectrum of products and services, except perhaps HD televisions.

Housing and transportation remain among the highest costing items for most people. With regards to timing the purchase of a home or vehicle, spending decisions typically cannot be put off for long. As a cost-saving measure, certain details factoring into the purchasing decision process can be adjusted including,

  • size, year and make of car can be “sacrificed”
  • new vs. used car
  • size and various finish details of the “first home purchase” can be sacrificed… until the next home (moving is inevitable; forget about the “forever house”).

With regards to vehicles specifically, one factor that can help financially is to hold on to and maintain vehicles for longer numbers of years. But when the time comes to replace an older vehicle, even inflation may not hold up as the most valid reason to delay the purchase.

For those possibly struggling with this particular timing decision, buy the new or used car now – and if a trade-in is involved, there may be a silver lining in a higher price paid for the trade-in.

Thank you for reading, Happy Summer and TGIF!

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