I’m sure you have thought about your dream car before.
Maybe an Audi.
But have you ever thought about your DEBT FREE dream car?
I’m talking about the kind of car that you would like to purchase in cash. When I paid off $35,000 in student loan debt, I thought about upgrading my ride. Back then, I drove a 2002 Ford Escort ZX2. It was the best car I ever owned. Mainly because I had so many memories in it, including an accident that I now consider a blessing.
But when I became debt free in 2014, I knew I wanted to buy my dream car. Luckily, this dream car is also a favorite of my husband’s. I’m talking about a Jeep Wrangler.
So excited to share with you how I’m saving up for my debt free dream car!
Why a Jeep Wrangler?
Look, I know Jeep Wranglers are not the most fuel efficient. And they don’t have the best safety ratings compared to our 2015 Subaru Forester (which we bought in cash in 2017). But I love the experience of this car. What kind of SUV allows you to take the top off and the doors off and let your body fly freely down the road? A Jeep does.
I actually started a bucket list in 2012 and I kid you not, “Buy a Jeep Wrangler” is item number six. Keep in mind, this was well before Kyle and I got married. But fast forward to 2019 to a trip to Colorado to visit my besty and we would land ourselves in a Jeep Wrangler rental for the weekend. And boy, was it fun! It gave us a taste of what it would be like to be part of the Jeep family.
Why I am okay purchasing a non-frugal car
Here’s where things get interesting. I know there are a lot of frugal people in the debt free community. I believe that spending should be controlled. I think there are ways to do things on the cheap.
But I also believe in spending money on the things that will bring you the most joy. We saved for roughly two to three years for our Subaru Forester. This is our practical family car. We know we’ll drive it until the wheels fall off. Kyle and I have discussed this being the vehicle we bring our future kids home in. (Ahh, scary!)
Part of my reason for being debt free is to pay for the dream car in cash. A lot of times, people rush into these purchases, take out a loan, and get buried in massive car payments. If you are debt free, I see no reason why I can’t save intentionally for my dream car even if it’s not frugal.
How we are saving for the Jeep Wrangler
First, it’s important to make a plan to save cash for a dream car, and we’re starting by implementing a few key steps. You can use the same method as us to pay for your dream car in cash, too!
Step 1: Open a separate savings account for your goal
I keep a separate savings account for the Jeep Wrangler (and for other savings goals, too!). A separate savings account keeps you from accidentally spending the money. Most banks now let you rename the savings account to a unique nickname. I renamed mine Jeep Wrangler, of course.
My Jeep Wrangler savings account is currently with Ally because they pay out a high interest rate, currently set to 1.9%. I know there are other banks that offer slightly higher than that so I may switch this account just so I can maximize my earnings.
A separate savings account also lets you see how much you have saved up for your dream car. This can motivate you to increase your contribution amounts towards that goal. We currently have $3,407.14 saved up at the time of this post. Jeep Wranglers are pretty expensive, so we have a ways to go!
Step 2: Build your goal inside of your budget
A great way to stay on top of your debt free dream car goal is to build it inside of your budget. Look at your monthly income and expenses and figure out how much you can set aside towards your dream car each month.
If you still have debt and you are trying to save for a new-to-you car, you must identify the urgency in this car purchase. Is your current car on its last leg? Can you pony up a couple hundred bucks to repair it versus scrambling for cash? That’s exactly what I did with my Ford Escort and I held on to her for nearly 12 years!
Kyle and I added a line item to our budget and labeled it Jeep Wrangler. We have agreed to put at least $500 per month towards our car fund. If we have money leftover in the month, we will decide how much of it we want to add to the fund as extra savings.
Step 3: Research, research, research
I highly suggest to look at Consumer Reports to do your car research. There are people who go off of the look of a car instead of other important factors such as safety, reliability, handling, and engine.
I subscribed to the digital version of Consumer Reports for $7 per month. Honestly, one month is all you need to get the right information. They do a great job at road test reviews and the write-ups are easy to understand.
Step 4: Determine if you will purchase through a dealership or private party
Lastly, determine if you are going to purchase through a dealership or a private party. I would love to purchase the Jeep from a private owner because dealerships are a big pain in the ass. I don’t recommend them. In addition, you can use tools like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to get an idea of how much a car is worth. This is especially helpful so you can walk in to the sale prepared with the right price in mind.
Wanna accelerate your debt free dream car goal? Start by controlling your spending. My 50-PAGE workbook bundle is just the thing to help you reign it in and start living a debt free life. Check out the How to Control Your Spending Workbook