Spent too much money keeping too many crappy cars going.
There seems to be two camps on this site – people who firmly believe in buying a nice newer (or lightly used) vehicle at low interest and enjoying the reliability and peace of mind of a warranty, and those who only pay cash on older vehicles, do all of their own wrenching and enjoy the money saved from not having a monthly payment and a vehicle that represents their hard work and frugality.
That’s nice and all, but sometimes you pay cash for a car that ends up being a real shit pile. But before you can sell or save up for something better, you end up pouring all of your money – or borrowing it – just to keep it running, because it’s your DD and it’s all you can afford right now. So before you know it, you’ve spent five times what it’s worth just in maintenance.
Maybe I’m just unlucky, but I was in that place for nearly 10 years. Each time I would get something else (usually after said vehicle was mercifully put out of its misery by a deer or a falling tree), I would think, “surely this one won’t suck”…right up until the transmission would explode, or the wheels would fall off, or I’d show it to some mechanic, who’d scratch his head and say, “I’ve never seen one of these do that before”.
All that is a large part of why I had to file for bankruptcy two years ago. Lots of RockAuto.com and local garage charges on those credit cards. After the dust settled, I was able to get two surprisingly good vehicles, lightly used with low monthly payments and reasonable interest rates considering the bankruptcy. And I’m sure right now, the “pay cash” crowd will howl at my idiocy, but it’s better than nearly $15K in unsecured credit card debt.