Let’s speed things up

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Welcome to our month long buy less plan! Read here to get caught up on what’s going on.

Day: 2

Product: Yesterday we focused on those plastic grocery bags. Today let’s swing wildly in the other direction. (‘Cause that’s how I roll, y’all.)

Buy less car.

I’m sure everyone out there with too much car has a pocket full of excuses. But I don’t care. You don’t need that much car. I’ll cover four parts to the “not buying too much car” process.

#1 Often we use the car we drive as our status symbol. But guess what? Your vehicle is not indicative of your ingenuity, compassion, or knowledge in your field. (And you do not want to have a business relationship with someone who did judge those things about you based on your mode of transportation.)

Now, it could be said that your car is indicative of your judgment or philosophy. Do you want others to see you as prudent and self-effacing or boastful and self-serving? (If you’re unsure let me help you tip the scales—the boastful version also comes with a big monthly payment.)

Don’t believe me? The richest people tend to buy the cheapest cars. They know where their priorities lie and it’s not in the hunk of metal that gets them from point A to point B.

#2 And don’t you dare buy a brand new car either. Cars depreciate anywhere from 20-40% in the very first year of their life. Whatever “repairs” excuse you have floating around in your head can be squashed right now. If you bought a brand new car for $20,000 it may only be worth $13,000 after two years. You’re certainly better off buying a car that is already two years old already, unless you really think a two year old car is going to need more than $7,000 in repairs.

#3 Everyone knows that the purpose of a car salesman is to get the highest price for a car. We all know they play games and use tricks like offering cookies and coffee and having long discussions with their supervisors to see if they can “work the numbers.” Why are people still buying from dealers?

It better not be for the service department. Do you know that you can actually use any service station you like and most of them will be cheaper than a dealer’s service department?

“The warranty,” you say? Please don’t tell me you don’t realize that the dealers have the math all figured out. They are not going to willingly lose money– they’re a business. They know exactly how much to inflate the price to make up for any hits they’ll have to take if you use your warranty.

And financing? Sure, they make it REAL easy to get financing but you can get financing through any bank or credit union. It’s best to shop around instead of using what is most convenient.

Let me point out how many products/offers the car dealership rolls into one transaction. Buy their car with their warranty, get their financing, and have it serviced through their shop. It’s a whole scheme. Don’t buy it. You don’t have to buy it just because it’s what you’ve always done and because it’s what your friends have always done.

Buy third-party. Go to Craigslist and find some retired couple selling their car or something like that. The deals are out there, especially if you have some patience and watch for them instead of going blindly to the dealership when some guy yells at you in a radio ad that “time is running out!”

#4 Buy a manual transmission car, buy a hatchback, buy the smallest size you need, don’t shop for comfort. Okay, I’ll answer your misgivings.

Learn. (My 10-year-old just recently learned how to drive a stick shift. You can too.) Manuals are just plain all around better. Here’s a good list why.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like how it looks, hatchbacks give you the most storage with the smallest amount of car.

For special situations like hauling furniture you can always borrow a friends’ or rent a car for the day. Don’t get stuck driving much more car than you need every day just because you go camping with your buddies once a year.

Do you have to drive over boulders to get to work everyday? If so, you probably need this vehicle.

Do you have to drive over boulders to get to work everyday? If so, you probably need this vehicle.

Vehicles aren’t meant to give you comfort. They are meant to get you from one place to another. If you have the coziest heated seats in a vehicle that gets 8 miles per gallon that means that the vehicles is not performing it’s function well. We shouldn’t like driving too much. It’s bad for the environment and us. If an errand is under 10 miles you should make a serious attempt to do it by bike and if it’s under 3 miles, walk. It’s good for you.

If you get nothing else out of this just reevaluate what you think about those expensive things we let sit in a driveway/parking lot for the majority of the time. Any of the changes mentioned above will be good for you and your wallet.

Reason to buy less: When that snake gets loose in the house you’ll want to be able to easily find it. (Less stuff = less snake hiding places.)

Suggestion: It would be very helpful if you can help your emotions understand that shopping doesn’t really help anything. Many of us engage in retail therapy where we go and buy something cute when we’re feeling down in order to lift our spirits.

But the joy never lasts, does it?

If you use retail therapy, find a healthier outlet to replace the habit of shopping. Read a book, take up handball, or meet with friends instead of impulse buying. These things provide lasting fulfillment and don’t fill our closets and empty our wallets.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/53812513@N08/6276131547″>2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon and 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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