One thing I'm very experienced with is that plans rarely get to go according to your plans! Last year we started saving for a new vehicle. Our every day car (not that we drive it every day anymore) is now 11 years old and 150,000 miles on it. At the time we started saving, we weren't quite sure when exactly we were going to get a new car, but probably within a year or so, with the goal to save as much for the cost as possible, with only having to finance a small amount, if any at all.
As I now drive it more often, with more trips to the city to take care of/see my mom, we are also putting more miles on it than before, not to mention starting to feel like it's certainly due to start having mechanical issues with it's age. And dh is always worrying I'm going to get 50 miles (city distance) from home and break down, because you know it will happen at the worst time. It now has absolutely no power to go up any small hill or try to speed up to merge onto the freeway. It's wearing out. I have been lucky in that I have not needed it these past 2 years to drive back to my work for meetings, at least once a year. (thanks Covid). That has allowed us to put less miles on it, but we are both still not feeling like we currently have a very reliable car going forward.
So, we were going along, continuing to save, just trying to make this car last as long as possible and August came and we were hit over the next few months nearly $30,000 in medical bills for dh. (this years max will *only* be $7,000, thank goodness). Well, there went all the new vehicle savings!
As these past months have progressed we, of course, are getting less and less confident in having a car going into it's 12 year of service and with this many miles on it. It's just not something we feel comfortable with, especially with the distances we have to drive it to get anywhere. I also do not feel comfortable now taking it on a long trip, say to see dd, which we need to start doing again. I haven't been to her house in over 2 years now! We also do not want to start putting money into repairs on this old of car. Then add in the month's that dh's old pickup was down with the blown transmission and we were down to one 11 year old car with lots of miles on it. So, we decided it's time to figure out what kind of new vehicle we want and get one. Dh wanted another truck. I did not really want a truck. They feel too big to me to drive (I have ridden in dd's F-150). Then dh says we'll get a single cab one. No, that doesn't work when we want to take the dog with us, or take my mom (well, I guess we could all 3 sit in front, squished) with us somewhere. And when dd and SIL visit we all can't go somewhere in a single cab truck. Finally, dh got more practical and we decided on like a mid sized SUV type. What we have now is a smaller SUV/crossover type. We thought the Kia Telluride looked nice. I stopped into the dealer in the city to take a look in person at one. Nope. They have none on the lot and to order one takes a year to get it. Well, not getting one of those then!
Then dd and SIL said they are getting a new Ford Explorer. Dh started looking at those online and we both decided we really liked that. Lots of room. Sturdy enough that if we happen to hit a deer (it's going to happen at some point, living here) it's much sturdier (for our safety) than what we have now. While I have managed to save $11,000 towards it and we'll sell our car and put that $ towards it, it's not what I had hoped in terms of paying for one and having a small, if any, car payment. But, we need to get a new car, so we ordered one at the same time as dd did, from the same dealer, where they live.
The Ford dealer is a close family friend of SIL's and he has bought all his cars/trucks from him. DH did have our local Ford dealer price one for us, but SIL's dealer friend was cheaper. He gave us both a good deal at a flat markup over his cost. Plus, it was so easy. DH and SIL spec'd out what we all want on it. DD and SIL went in to their dealer friend a couple months ago and ordered theirs and ours (we were on a conference call). They are not in stock and said would be about 4 months wait for production. Even more time to save some more money to put towards it. Production did end up getting bumped up almost a month sooner.
Why new?? Well, it's going to be another vehicle that we keep and drive at least 12 years like we have this one. We do not want something used and that most likely has issues (usually why people sell). Also, used cars are way overpriced right now! Good, for when we sell our car, I suppose, but not worth paying so much extra for a used car, just because the market for them is nuts. With the potential that I have to drive 400 miles each way a couple times a year, we want something new and reliable, not something that already had used up all those miles on it.
I'm not thrilled about having a car payment (been a very long time since I had one of those) but it is what it is. Of course my goal will be to pay it off asap. We had managed to save $25k this past year towards one, we'll save it up again and pay it off, hopefully within 2 years is my plan.
DD and I will have twin cars, LOL, except mine will be black and hers a dark green. We just got notifications that the cars are done in production and should be at the dealer in about 3 more weeks. The next issue was it's still winter and 3 passes to drive over to get the new car. Two issues. We'd of course have to drive over in our current car (dh wants to sell on our own, not trade in) and each of of drive one car back. I DO NOT drive over snowy passes (plus they've been really bad this winter with lots of snow). And second, OCD dh doesn't want to drive a brand new car over dirty, wet, snowy, de-icer crap covered roads, haha. Plus both he and SIL have bought some aftermarket inter-cooler thing to install on them.
I asked the dealer yesterday if there is any way I can just sign the purchase documents electronically and dd/sil can pick up the car and store it at their house until the roads are better for us to drive over and get it. He said yes, no problem, or he can even store it there at the lot for us. Whew. That's a big relief. As soon as the roads clear up some, we'll get it over here. A few/several weeks more wait isn't going to hurt anything - we weren't originally planning to see it until then, anyway.
I am excited to have a brand new car. It's actually been since 2004, almost 20 years, since we last bought a brand new car. This car I have now we got in early 2011 and while it was almost brand new, it still had 4700 miles on it. It was a salvage from a rental car company. Someone apparently pulled up over a curb and ripped the front valance off. Very very minor damage, but I guess when a rental car has an accident, they have to total it. Some guy bought it at an auction, put a brand new front valance back on it and we bought it for half new price. It was like brand new. Still had the plastic on the floor mats. It has been a great car and served us well these past 11 years.