Cars are just a waste of money. Fact!

By Simon Bennett / 8th February 2024
Burning money on cars.

Ok, before I dig deep into this blog let me get one thing straight.

I’m talking about daily drivers, our back and forth commute to and from work 12000 miles a year car, the one you take the kids to school in.

The financial figures you will see below does not include any servicing, maintenance, tax or insurance.

So now we’ve got that out of the way, let's get on with it ….

 

I love cars full stop! I admit I have a ridiculous addiction that when I get bored, I go out and buy another model which includes my daily driver. This is where I now realise over a period of time, that this silly but familiar practice is just a complete waste of money!

I had an interesting conversation this week with my step father, which is the reason I thought I would write this blog.

My step father (David), bought a brand new electric car made by Nissan just under 3 years ago for the sum of £27,000. However, recently David has become a little uncomfortable with the car because he keeps reading in various press releases that should the battery fail the cost would be over £13,000 for a replacement. So he decided to explore other Hybrid options to trade his car against. His potential replacement was a Toyota Yaris at our local dealer, the Yaris was £24,000.

David booked an appointment with the dealership with a view of trading in his full electric Nissan against the Toyota Yaris. To his surprise, he was offered just £10,000 against the Toyota and if he was to take this offer, you don’t have to be Einstein to work out he would have lost a whopping £17,000 in just under three years. To make matters even more sour, his Nissan had only covered an average of 2900 miles per year and  has still only done 9000 miles now. It seems electric car values are falling like a stone but let's leave that debate for another blog!

Anyway, after a quick conversation I managed to talk David round to sticking to what he already has. I said trading in the Nissan would be like throwing 50 pound notes into a fire pit and instead, I managed to convince him to go and buy the latest 65 inch TV as I know he and my mother really enjoy Netflix. Job done and £14,000 saved.

Nissan full electric car insurance

Having listened to David's experience, I thought I would take a look back at my history of buying daily cars. When I analysed this, I realised I too have been a victim of wasting unnecessary money.

Let me begin;

2006 - 2009 - Lexus IS purchased on a 3 year lease deal. £867 deposit and £289.00 per month, plus I purchased a set of replacement 19 inch wheels at £850.

Total money spent £12,121.00.

2009 - 2012 - Audi A5 purchased on a 3 year lease deal. £1377.00 deposit and £459.00 per month. Total money spent £17901.00.

2012 - 2015 Mercedes E Class Coupe purchased on a 3 year lease deal. £1503.00 deposit and £501.00 per month. 

Total money spent £19,539.00

So, from 2006 through to 2015 I had spent a staggering £38,652.00 and had completely nothing to show for my investment. None of these cars were mine and all were returned.

Audi A5 diesel car insurance

So, in 2016 - 2017 I thought I would buy a secondhand BMW Z4 for £21,000. I really enjoyed this car but it was really thirsty for fuel and with such a small fuel tank, I found I was in the petrol station every 10 or so days which really annoyed me. I also found that as a car I used for business this was not practical, particularly as there was nowhere to throw my coat and laptop being a two seater sports car.

In 2017 I decided to part ex my BMW Z4 for a brand new Audi. I was given £16,000 as part exchange, so in less than a year that's another £4,000 I had lost.

The Audi was £33,000, a very nice car and because I had been strangled with space in the Z4 I decided the Avant was the model for me (basically in old school terms, it's an Estate). The Audi was great on fuel, looked kind of cool(ish) as again I had upgraded the wheels to 19 inch.

However, I always thought the Audi was a bit boring and a bit old man(ish), better suited to a farmer with two springer spaniels. I subsequently sold the Audi after three years and yes you’ve guessed it, lost another £10,000.

As I was no longer using a car for business, I went back to my sports car environment where I came across a Porsche Boxster. Again, I loved this car but after a very heavy snowfall in march 2021 and living in rural Suffolk, this car turned out to be totally impractical for my needs. So, I sold it in less than a year but I actually made a small profit of £200.

BMW Z car insurance
Audi A4 Avant diesel.
Range Rover theft and car insurance

In the summer of 2021 I decided to buy a car more suited to my rural environment and I bought a Range Rover for £11,000, which In fairness this was an older model. There seems to be a pattern forming here, I go from small sportier cars to roomier cars at the drop of a hat. Why this is, I have no idea but boredom comes to mind.

I liked the Range Rover but I have to be honest, everytime time I took it out I was worried it would break down because of the electrical issues I kept reading about on Facebook forums or even worse, snap its crankshaft.  After just over a year, I sold the Range Rover and lost a further £2500.00  

From 2022 I was completely working from home where I covered just 6000 miles per year. I therefore decided I didn't need a big car anymore, I didn’t need to pay £56 per month on tax, plus I was struggling to park when going to watch football at Ipswich Town. So, I decided to purchase a Fiat 500 Abarth which was only a few years old. 

I paid £14,000 for the Abarth and I really enjoyed the car. It was an absolute pocket rocket and looked brilliant with its typical Italian styling but I have seen better build quality on a Heinz baked bean tin!

My wife hated the Abarth and had often expressed her worry every time I went out in it, just in case I was ever involved in an accident. She said the car just was not me, whatever that means I don’t know?

Fiat 500 abarth 595

Late 2022, I started doing more miles again with business and when I travelled up to Birmingham from Suffolk one day for a meeting. I realised the Abarth was 1. not comfortable and 2. the worry when passing a 38 tonne lorry was very concerning. So, I sold the Abarth for £9800.00 after 18 months, that's another £4200.00 lost.

Now coming back to how much money I have wasted on daily cars over a 18 year period, this equates to an average £4,000 per year. This is simply ridiculous and if I’m honest very annoying when you add it all up.

Now, I could say that I've really enjoyed the cars but for me, this is not the case because I'm very fortunate to have a few special cars for my weekend treat. I now look at this as a complete waste of money, I'm sorry but it’s fact!

Just recently I have been presented with the same dilemma as before, where I'm doing between 8 - 10K miles a year. So I need a reliable, slightly larger car, which looks nice on the eye…….what should I do?

Do I get a new lease car? Well, that is a complete waste of money, as confirmed  above. Buy a new car or one a couple of years older?Well, that’s another complete waste of money, again as confirmed above.

I  looked at the market to see what would best suit my needs and I have come up with a car that is older but still looks stylish, hopefully reliable but would not cost me a fortune.  As my choice of car has already lost its residual value over the years, I’m  confident this is a wise choice.

The car I am talking about is a Mercedes E Class 350 CDI Coupe with AMG trim.

I think this car is stylish, its relatively low mileage, bodywork and wheels are close to immaculate and it’s a proper good cruiser for those longer journeys. Above all, it is very safe. All this for just £8,000.00 with full Mercedes service history, with just four previous owners.

To date, I am very pleased with the car and I am much more comfortable this car has not cost me a fortune. Don’t get me wrong, £8000 is a lot of money but in comparison to what I have wasted in the past it's an absolute bargain. I'll keep you updated on events.

Let me know if you have also fallen victim to wasting money on cars? I would be keen to know if this bothers you and what your general thoughts are about this topic?

Anyway, I'm now off to polish my classics....... as they’re worth every penny!

Until next time…..

Simon

Mercedes Benz E350 CDI

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