Monday, August 10, 2009

Inspection time

Four months ago we did something that most in the PF would would consider stupid. We financed a car. More specifically we financed a brand new shiny expensive car.

The plan had been to buy him a new (to us) car late this year. We were going to pay off my car and start saving for a new one for him. Then his car stopped running on the highway, requiring an almost $5,000 repair for the identified problem. There were other things going on with the car that would have been even more expensive. We decided to speed things up a bit and buy him a car then since our jobs require us to each have a car.

We looked at a few small sedans, a crossover, a few hybrids and eventually decided on the Prius. Even though it involved debt it fit best with our mid term plan. We plan on cutting at least half (if not all) of my income out in the next 1-2 years, so we didn't want to pay $5,000 plus maintenance for a right now car then buy a new to us car 1-3 years later.

Then there's his job. Dave Ramsey's advice would have been to buy a beater until we could save up for a new car. In theory that's great advice. But he works in an image conscious industry. Two weeks he got a promotion which will include meeting a lot more clients in person.

Among his meetings today is a car inspection, performed by his boss to make sure his car is up to standard. This weekend he cleaned out the junk that has built up and planned to hit a car wash on his way in. From my nonprofit/education lens this is all pretty ridiculous, but the image he portrays to clients affects the sales he closes. Even more importantly his image affects the value of the accounts he gets. Since most of his salary comes from commission, though I think it's all pretty crazy, we play the game.

I'm also really happy that we settled on a Prius. When his office moved a few months ago changing his commute from 15 to 27 miles each way I was happy about the gas savings. Others in his new position report driving 250-500 miles a week to meet with clients, making the 43 mpg he's been averaging very attractive.

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