As a single mom with very limited income I was desperate for a running vehicle to get to and from work and get my children to and from their school and various activities. When a friend called me with the deal of a lifetime, I couldn't pass up this running car. It was the ugliest car you've ever seen but it ran. A putty color, this 75 Dodge Dart was only $200. My other friend immediately nick named it "The Panzer" "it drives like a panzer tank" she said. I laughed and reminded her that mine was working and I was giving her a ride to work since her newer car wasn't working.
For years I watched as my friends bought newer model cars paying exorbitant amounts of money. Many had very high car payments on a monthly basis. "Buy a new car" they'd tell me, as I worked up the corporate ladder. I continued to smile and drive my old car.
I saved over $200 on insurance driving my old car. Why would I want to pay more for insurance? I saved at least $200 a month on car payments as well. That was $200 that my family could use for other things. I put part of the savings into an emergency fund knowing that one day, I'd need another car.
I drove this car for just over 9 years. One day, in the middle of a down town street, my car inexplicably stopped. There was plenty of gas and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. I walked to the nearest phone and called my friend with a tow truck. "It's dead" I told him. He got my location and came to pick me and my car up.
The next day my friend called me and told me that the engine was froze up. I had over 350,000 miles on it he reminded me. The car is tired, it's dead. But, I can get you $100 if you are willing to sell it as is to a salvage yard. I agreed to the deal and located the title for him.
$100 richer I looked back on the last 9 years. I had bought this ugly car for $200 when I was down and out. I drove it for just over 9 years and I had just sold it for $100. Doing the math I realized I had just driven a car that had cost me approximately $1.08 per year to own. Further more, I had recouped $100 of my money bringing that amount down to just .54 cents per year.
I smiled as I walked to the used car lot knowing that I had been saving my money for another car one day. I was able to pay cash for my next car (again, an inexpensive used car with low miles on it). I tell my friends, "Don't laugh, it's paid for", and then I proceed to remind them of my Dodge Dart.
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