I have never owned a car. I left a broken home at 19 and, well, yaddayaddayadda sob story. Should I mention that my family always ensured that my sister had a car; and that from the time she was a college student until in her 30's she owned a succession of four automobiles for which she never ever ever paid dime one? No I do not think I will mention that.
As I might have mentioned I began a new job as a mainframe dude here in Minneapolis about a year and a half ago, and I have just about finished off the debt that my moving expenses incurred. (I would be so much richer now if I hadn't been promoted... )
Well, one of the things that's gumming up my foray into car ownership is the huge psychological/ceremonial significance I assign to it. This will be my first car!! And as such, I can see wanting to hold on to it for a long time. I do not want some $800 beater that I will send to the scrap heap inside of five years; I shall want my first car to be with me for a long time; and I want it to be kind of "unique" - i.e., worth holding on to for other reasons. I believe I want a Celica convertible...I don't see terribly many of those around, they are to be had for under $5K on auto-trader, and being Toyotae, they can probably make it to 500,000 miles. (I do not own any stock in Toyota, I just have heard an awful lot of reliable testimamony about their reliability and endurance.)
I actually can't drop $5K right now - it's probably 4 months until I'd be able to. And I don't want to finance it either, because I've got a bit of a debt problem in my past - nothing outrageous, no bankruptcies, but just a tad too much credit card debt - in fact I plan on applying for a $5k personal loan from a small local bank to consolidate what remains of my credit card debt - yes, $5K is the REMAINS, and that's awful - but it used to be more than $10K, which means I've got things going in the right direction. I don't know if a bank wants it should extend a $5K used car loan to someone who's already got $5K of other outstanding debt. (I don't at this moment know if they want they should extend the $5K debt consolidation loan in the first place! )
However, I cannot wait 4 months for a car. Psychologically, after taking Metro Transit buses for a year and a half and dealing with the drunk and deranged wackos who people the blamed things, I'm not sure I can wait four weeks for a car. I looked at those Hertz multi-month rental deals, and I could have a car for $600/month for the next two or three months...I nearly jumped the gun on that, before I caught my breath and looked around....what about leasage, I thought. You can lease a car - a reliable car, for hella less than $600/month, and part of the beauty is that since it's a LEASE, it's not "my first car." Return the blamed thing after the lease is up, buy my Celica (or whichever similar car I end up buying), and thus still allow the Celica, or or otherwise Celicular car, the coveted mantle of Airstud's First!!!
Things that I'm worried about are
a)penalties for exiting the lease early. One offer I see here is for a Nissan Sentra for $213 a month with nothing down (I smell a rat already...), and it's a 39 month lease. I'm looking for four, maybe five months' worth of car before plopping down my $5K on the Airstudmobile. No, I don't expect a dealership to write a five-month lease, but are there, say, leases out there that offer an escape at, say, 12 months?
b)getting just generally screwed over by my own naïveté. I ain't never bought nor leased no car before, so I fear being the archetypal rube who walks out of there on the hook for around $10K more than a shmartperson would have gotten himself into
Thoughts, tips, criticisms, anti-Celica tirades...let's hear 'em.