The best-laid plans…

I don’t feel like rereading everything I’ve written here just now, but I may have mentioned that my husband’s car is 11 years old or so.  It has less than 140,000 km on it, so our plan was to hopefully drive it for another 5 years at least, maybe more.  Well, that’s not happening.

Thanks to a suicidal deer deciding to run across a busy highway, we are probably now going to have to replace our trusty old Civic.  The insurance guy hasn’t seen it yet, but the front-end was looking fairly rumpled the last time we saw the car.  The driver’s side door wouldn’t even open.  Since my completely uneducated guess is that the cost to repair the damage would be a lot more than a 11 year old Civic is worth, I’m pretty sure they’re just going to cut us a small cheque and send us on our way.

So- new car time!  Much as I would love to invest that payment and have us give up on cars altogether, that doesn’t work for my husband, who works 30 minutes outside of the city.  This is probably going to be the first big decision we make with our new FIRE goals in mind.

I’ll be honest, as recently as 6 months ago I would have gone with the assumption that it was time to visit the dealership and pick out a shiny new 2018 model.  I probably would have even been a little excited at the thought of using my pretty decent bargaining skills to get a good deal.  Now, though, I’m pretty sure we’re going to get a used car.  We need something reliable, but it doesn’t have to be impressive or new.

We don’t have the cash in the bank to pay outright for a new car.  To be honest, if this had happened a couple months ago we probably could have done so, but I don’t want to empty any of our investment accounts to do this.  I definitely don’t want to get financing and end up having to pay thousands more over 5 years.  I’m starting to realize that depreciation is a bitch.

Take a look at these prices, gleaned from 10 minutes of searching on

2017 2016 2015 2014
Civic LX 23000 18-19000 15-16000 14-16000
Civic EX 26000 19-22000 17-19000 15-16000

Those are the average prices for Civics in our area.  No, there’s no guarantee we’re going to go with the same model, but I had to narrow it down somewhat.  The value of a car drops more than 20% in the first year.  After that, it slows down to 15%, then about 10% a year after that (obviously depending on mileage).

At a quick glance, I can get an older car with 80,000 km on it for $6500.  Let’s assume that you can get 200,000 km out of a standard civic without too much upkeep.  A $25000 new car, with 3.1% financing, would cost $27,026 in total.  Each dollar in that price buys me 7.5 km.  If I get the older car, I’ll have another 120000 to use till I hit 250k, which means that each dollar will buy me 18.5 km.  Insurance will be higher on the new car as well, although since there will be more maintenance costs on the older car, that might balance out (I’ll let someone who knows more about cars tell me that).  We’ll only get about half the number of years driving the car, but even if we have to buy another one in 6 or 7 years for about the same price, we’ll still be paying close to half the price of a new car over all.

So- no shiny new toys for us in the near future (or ever).  However, the $$$ we’ll save will go a long way in letting us retire earlier.  Yay math!

(No cheap eats this week.  Dealing with accident-related issues took up most of my day yesterday, so right now we’re living on older freezer meals I’d stocked away for suck an occasion.)

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