April 16, 2008

Locking Financial Horns

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:38 pm by bitsypieces

Hubby and I have two different approaches to saving and spending.

He prefers to spend his money on big purchases, like a huge TV or a video game console. I tend to dribble money away on small purchases, like household items and shoes.

The one place we really lock horns, however, is the debate about a new car purchase. I started thinking about this after reading Frugal Dad’s Language of the Perpetual Poor. Third on the list is the gem: “Everyone has a car payment–it is a fact of life.”

I’ve heard those exact words come out of Hubby’s mouth.

We’ve got one car payment already on our newest vehicle. And now our second car–the one he uses to commute to work–is on its last legs. I suspect we’ll have to replace it within a year or so (it’s 11 years old).

Every time we discuss the possibility of buying a new car in the future, Hubby and I argue.

He wants: Something new and nice, which means we’ll have another car payment.

I want: Something used and decent, and I want to save up the cash for it before we need to buy it.

Personally, I think my idea is the smartest from a financial perspective. I’ve been considering different ways to handle this:

1. Argue. Continue to try and convince Hubby that my way is better for our financial picture. I have my doubts as to the success of this, however. Whenever I start talking about “saving” for a future car and/or buying used, his eyes glaze over and he totally tunes me out. I fear he has already made up his mind about this, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. (According to him, he will be the primary driver of the vehicle, so it’s his decision.)

2. Secretly stash away money. At the very least, I can start a secret stash of cash to help pay for the car when it’s time to purchase one. I’ve never kept a secret from Hubby before–especially about money–but I don’t know how else to keep him from spending the “savings” on bills, since his comfort level for savings is lower than mine.

Anyone else have a suggestion?



  1. Do you guys ever listen to Dave Ramsey? He is this financial guy on the radio that promotes debt-free living. Listening keeps me motivated to not spend money and save.

  2. Tiffany said,

    Maybe remind him that the second you drive a brand new car off of the lot it loses value. Maybe start saving some money and also start looking for a really good used car only a couple of years old. You can save quite a bit of money by buying something only a couple of years old with low miles. You might have to finance some of it but not all of it.

  3. Frugal Dad said,

    Thanks for mentioning my article – glad you enjoyed it! I don’t recommend hiding money in a separate account, rather getting things right out in the open. As Tiffany smartly says above, the value of a car drops like a rock the minute you drive it off the showroom floor, and even more in the first two years of ownership. Point out that the drop in value will almost immediately put you in an upside situation, owing more than the car is worth.

    Last resort, look him in the eyes and tell him how deeply important this issue is to you, and how much you desire for him to be on board. Something about that language has a way of getting through to us guys! Keep us posted!

  4. Aaron Stroud said,

    I wouldn’t recommend secretly stashing money. If theres enough flexibility in the budget to start saving for the car, you need to do it openly as a team. I’d second the suggestion to listen to Dave Ramsey. He’s great at explaining how to get out of and how to stay out of debt. I’d recommend small doses while you’re both in the car (since your husband doesn’t sound receptive to discussing the financial impact of borrowing money for a new car).

    Would it be possible to switch vehicles? It might be that your husband feels it’s *his turn* to have a new vehicle. Another solution would be to sell your vehicle and buy something reliable with cash so you won’t be stuck with two car payments.

  5. […] Locking Financial Horns @ Bits of Pieces […]

  6. sara l said,

    Maybe suggest that you start ”paying” what he would thinks the monthly payment on your new car will be into a savings account. This way the household budget gets used to the amount and when it is time to buy a car you have a nice down payment.

    The midpoint might be certified preowned. I know Toyota and Honda both do this with cars that are 1-3 yrs old. This reduces the immediate depreciation and price for the buyer.

  7. […] and I have long debated the brand-new versus decent-used car. And though I believe that a decent used car is always the better financial choice, it’s […]

  8. […] your challenge might be more serious like having a spouse who’s financial goals and comfort with debt differs from you. Or perhaps you’re facing the reality of sunk costs which is also very difficult; it’s […]

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