by BERN MORLEY
I watched the trickle of sweat run down the side of my baby boy’s head and I knew I’d reached my limit. I always knew I had one, I just didn’t know I would reach it backing out of an Ikea car park.
I’ll set the scene: Queensland – summertime – at least 36 degrees in the shade. My 7 year old station wagon’s air-conditioning had officially gone on strike and I had a two hour journey in front of me with three very agitated and overtired children in the backseat. In addition to this, not only was my air-conditioning not working, it was in full attack mode, actively blowing hot air at me even though I had turned it off. Just to keep things fun, the driver’s side electric window was being completely unpredictable and opening and closing intermittently.
So there I was – 3 children in the car, 40 degree hot hair blowing directly in my face much like a hairdryer, my window steadfastly refusing to budge and a $2000 bill on the cards to fix a $2000 car. A couple of meltdowns and over exaggerated hand gestures later, and we both agreed, it was time to bite the bullet and get another car.
But having made some poor decisions when buying cars in the past, I really made sure I had done my homework this time. In fact I did it so well I can pass some of my knowledge onto you. But before you read it remember that it does not constitute actual financial planning or advice. You really need to get your own independent advice to ensure you make the best decision.
Bearing that in mind, here’s a few things I have learned:
– Drive every make and model that you like, and drive it some distance, not just around the block. It’s the only way to be sure you really love the car and the way it drives. Bonus tip – check out the radio and the air con – trust me on that one.
– Decide how you are going to pay for the car – given the average price of new and late model cars most consumers finance their purchases in one way or another. Remember salespeople want to move cars so they have all sorts of cool rate programs up their sleeves to lure you in. But do your sums on this – if you can’t, get some help (consult your tax agent – they are best equipped to give you the right advice for your EXACT situation.)
– Do not walk into a showroom and ask them to show you all the white cars.