It was the day after Christmas, I finally decided that my next car was going to be the Lexus CT200h. At the time I justified to myself that I worked so hard and deserved a nice luxury. The requirement was that it had to be a hybrid and a hatchback so I can haul my bikes around. A Toyota Prius would have been on my list but I really really did not like the way the car looks and that everyone in Los Angeles seem to be driving one. What really helped me seal the deal on buying this car was that my company had a hybrid incentive program in which they gave me a rebate for purchasing a fuel efficient car as part of their green initiative.
I used an iPhone application called CarWoo which was recommended by my Mint financial application to field the offers from local dealerships. I finally received one which had the lowest final price and scheduled an appointment to go see the car on the 26th of December. Next thing you know, I am sitting at the Southbay Lexus dealership and was signing my loan papers and was the proud owner of a 2013 Lexus CT200h.
Before I left, I had the picture taken to commemorate this special occasion. This was my first luxury car. I enjoyed the comfortable ride and the features like push button start, Bluetooth connectivity, and the awesome fuel economy for the next 8 months. That was when the novelty wore off and I really thought about how this vehicle related with me. What does it say about me? Did I buy it because I want it to say something about me? Is it the right vehicle for me? Is it worth the almost $600 a month payment on it? I found myself asking these questions over and over for the last month or so.
Let’s go back to January or February time period. I went out to eat with some former colleagues. While we said our good-byes, I jokingly said, “I’ll trade you my Lexus for your Honda Fit.” Somehow that resonated with me to the point where I spent the last 2 weeks of August looking for a used Fit. This was not a matter of liking or not liking my Lexus. It was the turning point in which I felt that I wasn’t comfortable owning a Lexus. I hated that I worried where I park it. I didn’t like people driving it. I was self-conscious from people who might think about me and my car. Even though it was a hatchback, it was tiny. I barely could fit (no pun intended) anything with passengers. The Honda Fit was perfect. It was a small car with good gas mileage (albeit not as good as the hybrid but I digress), humongous trunk and back seat space, and I’ve always liked the way the car looked. It has the practicality of a SUV but without the large foot print and poor fuel economy. I did not buy it in December because of the hybrid incentive my company offered. Did I mention that the Fit can carry 2 or more bikes vertically?
Before you think that this decision was just a spur of the moment rash decision. I busted out my spreadsheet to crunch out some numbers. I calculated that in a 4 year span, I would be paying about an $8000 premium to drive the Lexus until 2016. That’s $8000 I can use on a vacation or anything. Most of that would have been towards the loan and interest.
I went to CarMax and received an appraisal for the Lexus. I was offered about Blue Book value. I needed to pay over $2000 on the negative equity from my loan. Luckily, I will be getting a pro-rated refund of the extended warranty and prepaid maintenance that I added on when I purchased the Lexus. This gives me a good chunk of change left over for me to pull the trigger on selling my Lexus and buying a used Fit. I found a perfect 2011 white one which costed only $13,000. The title was clean with 3,000+ miles. This car suits me very well. I don’t care about who drives it. I don’t care what people thought of me when I drive it. It carries tons of cargo and people. It’s my perfect little car. I do sacrifice good gas mileage and comfort but I get something that not only conforms to my lifestyle and frees up my finances so I don’t need to pay a luxury tax to get from point A to point B.
Have you ever have buyers remorse after buying big item? Did you take drastic steps to remedy this? We’re you afraid of what people might think about you and your stuff? Feel free to leave a comment and share your stories here. I would love to hear about it.