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I can tell you point blank based on your very short description of your aunt that she ABSOLUTELY is a PAW (see other msgs in this thread for what a PAW is).

The older I get (31 now) the more I think I can spot people in life like Decath's aunt and the more I want to become exactly like them.

Back to the thread topic: money spent on cars....

my Dad once explained it to me like this. Buying a car falls into 4 categories:

1) STATUS - how cool does this car look? For some it's the PT Cruiser, for others a brand new Ford F-150. Or an Infiniti G35. Or a Chevrolet Corvette. Or Honda Element. The point many heads will I turn driving this car?

2) SAFETY - will this car protect me in an accident? Seat belts, front and side air bags, gov't crash tests, etc. Is there really that HUGE of a difference in safety between all cars produced from 1990 until now? I personally do not think there's that big of a difference (OK, everyone says Volvos are safest - fine)

3) RELIABILITY - will it start on a cold January morning with 10" of snow on the hood when you left it out over night? Once again, not a huge difference in reliability in MOST cars over the last 10 years (yes, I know J.D. Power and Consumer Reports overwhelmingly find foreign cars far superior to domestic in reliability, but stick with me here).

4) BASIC TRANSPORTATON - does this car get me from Point A to Point B faster than a skateboard, bus, train, boat or scooter? Once again, I believe MOST cars are equal in this regard. Once you arrive at work in the morning at 8am it does not matter one iota whether you took a Lamborghini to work or a Chevette. They both got you from home (Point A) to work (Point B).

That being said, I believe that points 2, 3, and 4 are basically the same in MOST cars. Safety, Reliability and Basic Transportation. I know I'm generalizing, but come on - there isn't THAT BIG OF A DIFFERENCE between all cars in those three categories. So.....where do people put 95% of their costs/emphasis/looks/concerns???


Bingo! You guessed it. Status. Put another way--> if we all had to drive with brown paper bags over our cars wouldn't it really stink to be paying $350/month for *your* paper bag and I'm paying $200/month (or maybe nothing per month!) for mine.

Bottom line---> if you can get past the "status" thing, you can save a ton on cars over your lifetime!

just my .02


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