In 2011, we purchased a 2012 Hyundai Accent. It was exactly what I/we wanted: 4 doors, 5-speed manual, small, great on gas and perfect for my 60-mile commute.
You know what wasn't perfect about it? The $300 car payment each month.
When we learned that I was pregnant last year, we decided it was time to get rid of the new (and pretty!) car. It was time to get serious about getting out of debt.
Selling the car to Carmax required us to pay off about $1500 extra on the car loan to make up the difference for what Carmax would purchase our car for.
We replaced the car with a 1998 Nissan Altima for $900.
The Nissan has ... character. Only the driver's door unlocks with the key. The rear-driver's-side door has to be manually locked and unlocked. Sometimes, the volume on the radio goes the opposite way you think it would. The gas door has to be gently punched to open. When the car doesn't start, you just need to jiggle this section under the hood. Let's not exclude the time it was keyed.
To sum it up, it's a pretty glamorous ride.
We paid $900 for the car and about another $1000 for new tires, title transfer, registration and some minor repairs. So, $1900 plus the $1500 we had to pay off on the Hyundai.
$900 + $1000 + $1500 = $3400
Since we were paying $300/month for the Hyundai, it took 12 months of owning the Nissan to actually start banking money. That might seem like a lot, but guess what? We have been driving the car for three months beyond that and we haven't had to pay a single car payment on it, and it hasn't needed more than regular maintenance.
One debt paid off.
One step closer to becoming debt-free.