To Buy Or Not To Buy

As a trader, I make such decisions all the time, even if I do hesitate, pontificate and often get it wrong. It's amazing how this process mirrors real life decisions.

When I first started off on this journey, the intention was to make some extra pocket money. However, once I started to make reasonable amounts, my priorities changed. I keep my Betfair account reasonably healthy. In fact, if it wasn't for the matched betting of the Bet365 offers, there would be a lot less in there. My stake levels on the greyhounds are in the order of £30-£70. I do not need the £1500 or so that is in there.

I regularly take out money and it goes straight into my savings account never to come out again until I have enough to replace my aging Peugeot 406 - over 10 years old now, yet it hasn't done 90,000 miles. I confess, I'm in a bit of a quandary regarding its replacement.

I've never bought a brand new car before as the idea of losing £2K+ as soon as the dealer hands me the keys is not my idea of value. However, there's never been a better time to buy a brand new motor. My savings account has, more or less enough money in it to allow me to do this, but I keep changing my mind.

The state of the economy has seen my clients falling like flies. Even my largest client, the one that gives me most of my work, has been shedding staff left right and center. I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to come, including me as a sub-contractor. At least I may be asked to reduce my hours.

That's the first thing that's stops me from buying a new car. If the worst happens, I may need that money to get me by. Having said that, if I lose all work and I have to sign on the dole, I won't get any benefit if I've got thousands sitting in a bank account. From that point of view, I should spend it.

Also, six months ago, I was earning 6.5% in interest on that account. Now, I'm getting 1%. Yet, the rate of inflation is just over 3%. I'm losing money in real terms. Again, it makes sense to put what I have to good use.

Another argument putting me off buying is my driving habits. I work from home. I'm lucky if I drive 6000 miles in a year. I'm in my car perhaps twice a week. The idea of forking out £12K+ for a brand new car just for all that money to sit on the drive all week seems an awful waste.

Then there's the other spanners in the works such has having to replace the tyres on my current car. That will need doing come the summer and since it will cost £300 or so, it's an expense I want to avoid if I'm selling it. Particularly as the car is probably worth not much more than £500 if that.

Wouldn't it be nice if the government offered a scrapping scheme like they do in some Euro countries. Indeed, I'm led to believe they Swiss government give £2.5K. I'd bite someone's arm off if they offered me that for my car.

The car industry is lobbying the UK government to provide such a scheme in order to boost their struggling industry. For that reason, I'm going to wait until the forth coming budget is announced. Hopefully, Alistair Darling will give me a big wad to take my car off my hands. Knowing this lot, I won't hold my breath.

In the meantime, I will continue to change my mind as often as my ex-wife, while saving all my winnings. The 60 odd quid I got today on the dogs will help.


Cassini said...

Buy one that's 2 or 3 years old is my philosophy. You miss out on the big years of depreciation, any teething troubles are sorted, and yet the car is still pretty new with years (hopefully) of life left. The new car smell may be nice, but it's expensive and doesn't last. Good luck.

PhilipH said...

I have an 05 Ford KA which I bought from a main Ford dealer when it was about 4 months old. It was a demo car. It cost £4995 and was virtually new, with 3 years full Ford warranty and a few other extras, like AA recovery thrown in. They also allowed me £400 on my old car, which had but one week's MOT on it and would have cost me an arm and a leg to get fixed.

Three years (almost) of no more MOT rip-offs and it is a great little runabout which has taken me from the Scottish Borders, where I now live, down to Maidstone, Salisbury and all points south with absolutely no problem.

My point is: try to buy a "nearly new" car from a main dealer. They often have some great bargains compared to buying brand new cars from them. They have targets to meet and sometimes give amazingly good deals just to bump up their sales figures.

Bad day at Doncaster for me yesterday. My gambling instincts, even though only tiddler amounts, are proving very hard to kill off.

The URL below is not mine, but my daughter Clare, who is an artist and sculptor. She makes and sells polymer clay fairy dolls, very tiny things, selling for between £250 - £600 (mainly to America).

Regards, Phil

BingBang said...

Just did the MOT and car tax for my 9 yr old car that I have had since new and like you use sporadically and for less than 6,000 per year. The car is basically sound, does everything I want it to do and costs around £200 for MOT £150 for insurance and tax of £130 per year. My idea is to keep using it until it completly mucks up and then make the decision on a new car afterwards - I probably wont buy another car full stop - if I do then I will be looking to do the same i.e. last for 15+ years. For the insurance whack the volungtary excess to £250 and use quidco to get £75 of the £150 cost back.

Alistair said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I normally buy 1-2 years old, though knowing my indecision these days, I'll still be driving the old girl this time next year. There's certainly life in her yet, though like any woman, she has her moments.

I'll wait until the budget then make my decision then.