Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Pain of Working at a Car Dealership

I am not a car guy, really, but this just hurts.

I love my '95 Honda Accord, and my '95 Nissan truck is mostly okay. Both have been just what I hoped: They get us from Point A to Point B, and they've done it very reliably since I bought them back in 1996. Both are long since paid for. So where's the pain, you ask?

The pain comes because I absolutely LOVE the 2005 Nissan Altima. (Gratuitous Flash-enabled link here.) And I work at a Cadillac-Nissan dealership. So I see the Altimas, and drive the Altimas, all the time.

Oh, it hurts. I want one. I want one a little more every time I drive one. That, of course, happens every day.

With no payments in my life except for my mortgage, that Little Voice inside my head has been absolutely relentless. I wish I could flip a switch and shut the d#$% thing off, but it's just not happening.

In fact, the only effective means I've discovered so far for duct-taping Little Voice's mouth shut is to step outside and stare at sticker prices for a few moments. At anywhere from $19k to $30k (not employee-priced), those cars ain't cheap. (Not in my world, anyway.)

Truthfully, I'd probably buy a used one, if I were going to buy one at all. But that would still run me from $15k to $16k (employee price). Selling the Honda might gross me perhaps $3k, or just under.

So that's my situation: I want the Altima, but I don't want the payments. I want the Altima, but not as much as I want a bigger pile of savings.

And right now, not wanting the payments — and wanting more savings — is enough.

I hope.

The thing that makes this battle so tough ... is that I have to fight it Monday through Friday.

As my coworker says smugly: "It's only a matter of time before you give in, Michael."


— Posted by Michael @ 12:55 PM



Cars are my first LOVE. It has been tough for me to avoid buying a new one. The new Toyota Tacoma is calling me but I've got a 1997 that's in very good shape and PAID for. Not owing money on cars is huge, and not having to take massive depreciation hits every month is also huge. When I read how you were rationalizing that you just have a home mortgage, I got concerned. I've rationalized a couple cars in exactly the same way prior to figuring out how important our net worth is. It's a trap. You'll long for the day before you took on that payment, especially when some other "emergency" expense hits you at about the same time as your car payment is due.

I hope I helped talk you out of it, but if you do get one, get the burgundy one. It's a good color..... LOL


Everybody Loves Your Money


Michael, Michael . . .

THIS is how I find out about your secret desire?

Really, honestly . . . what is SO GREAT about these newer cars? You know me -- I'm NOT the one to be envious of other people's cars. I don't even pay attention to the various makes and models. Ours (Honda) is fine, so what do *I* care about other cars? I assume you'd want to replace MY Honda. (sniff, sniff) That car hasn't given us any problems. It still looks decent.

And what about our discussions about saving money?! Getting a new car would put a big ol' dent in THAT. Remember we decided what things around the house we want to purchase or fix? I KNOW that getting a car would push those things back quite a bit. Don't hang the enticing carrot of home improvement in front of me, only to take it away.

AND I seem to recall that YOU said that having cash to pay for most (if not all) of a newer USED car would be, "the way to go." $15k-16K? I don't think so. IF and WHEN the time comes, we'll both know it. NOW is NOT the time.

I'd better not find you under the hood of one of the cars, tinkering with important-looking stuff. And don't think about getting rid of my Mustang!!!

I'm watching you . . .
Your Loving, Supportive Wife,

Anonymous Your WIFE!
, at 3:36 PM, July 27, 2005  

Well that settles that!

Anonymous Chris in Maryland
, at 3:58 PM, July 27, 2005  

You must avoid your triggers. :)

Do not drive by the Altima dealership, do not read anything car related,
do not test drive anything,
do not watch car ads,
do not go to the car show.

Perhaps detailing and throughly cleaning the inside of your car - making all the plastic look fresh and the carpets shampooed might, just might replicate the "new car-ness" enough to help. But don't get tempted!

Anonymous baselle
, at 9:43 PM, July 27, 2005  

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.


I thought I was the only one who had these temptations to throw my "well-laid-plans" out the window and just say "i wan't it, i'm getting it." Stay Strong, my friend



Can't really avoid those "triggers." I work at a Nissan-Cadillac dealership! Not gonna quit my job just yet. :)

(I have NO problem ignoring Cadillacs, however.)


Listen to your wife!
How's this for aversion therapy...just remind yourself everytime you are tempted that if you give in you will have a car payment AND an unhappy wife.



I second Nancy's comment. I live by the mantra:

"Happy wife equals happy life."

My other mantra?

"If you buy the altima,
and miss home improvements,
it'll be YOUR faultima."


Good money,plenty of it,then think of going to the dealer.As far as working is concerned,it is money again.Bigger is your pocket,bigger is your plans.Working at Car dealership by the way is amusing either way.


More aversion therapy...

Maybe when you feel tempted, you could lock $250 in the trunk of an Altima, then chuck the key, just to remind yourself of what having a car payment feels like. LOL!

I work for a company where I would dearly love to use my employee discount, but I remind myself that I'm there to make money, not to spend it. Hang tough, you know what you need to do. We all just need a little reminder and a little moral support sometimes.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 2:49 AM, July 30, 2005  

I can't really comment... I drive a 2003 Cadillac CTS, Diamond White sports model.

I bought it with looks and prestige in mind.. ie. I need something that makes me look like a financial and advertising guy.

After a few weeks, I realized that I am still a practical guy and like my old Saturn just as much.

After my lease runs out, I'll go back to the Saturn type car.

The Cadillac is a nice car though. I have no complaints what-so-ever.

If you can afford your new car and it doesn't take away from anything else... why not buy it?


This is kinda cool, finding out what people drive and what they WANT to drive. I WANT a Mini Cooper, BMW 3-series, Nissan Armada (I know, evil SUV)...

I just bought a nice used car with cash, if that makes you feel better (probably not).

My wife's #1 question on the topic of buying a car:

"What color is it?"


Buy it. You deserve it!

Anonymous Östgötagatan
, at 5:44 AM, August 12, 2005  

Buy the car.

You'll enjoy it. It's a bad investment (not even an investment). But there's a word for someone who loves money more than what it can buy. Don't be a miser.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 3:37 PM, August 19, 2005  
** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
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Savings Goal: $15,000
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