December 17, 2005


As the old Saab continues to creak along, I sometimes think about what will happen when we need to replace it. You have two options, neither of which is that appealing, unless you've got more money than I do. First, you can buy a new car. Cars that you actually want to drive cost too much, especially if you end up having multiple car payments. Even a $17,000 car can have a pretty high monthly payment unless you chunk a lot of cash into the down payment. There are cars that cost less, but their desirability, reliability, features, or safety are questionable. Option 2 is to go with a used car. A good economic choice, but then you have to go through the process of actually finding a good used car, whether you use the internet, head to your favorite dealer, or scour the classified ads. No matter what, you really have no idea where the car has been and what's been done to it. Then, you end up spending a lot of time finding the car that will work out for you, and then you're never quite sure if what you got was worth it. Leasing is another way to go, but I feel like you only come out on top there if you have no car, need one right now, and have no money to put into a downpayment. Otherwise, you're just borrowing the car. When I buy, I'm looking at it from the long term perspective in order to get the most for my money. I would, however, be interested in hearing arguments for leasing from any readers with experience. I'd also be interested in anyone who wants to donate a car to me and my lovely wife. I think we'd even consider a straight up trade for the Saab.

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