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For those of you who are new here, DH and I paid off $137,932 in non-mortgage debt in 40 months (beginning on January 1, 2000), with a lot of help and support from this board. We've been out of non-mortgage debt for almost 4 years now and life on the other side is just great! I thought I'd report on our latest big financial adventure.

I won't give all the background that led up to it, but DH and I decided recently to buy an actual brand-new car, right off the showroom floor. We made this decision knowing full well that, although a replacement car was getting to be a need, buying this particular car was a "want." But we decided that at this point, we could easily afford that "want," and that it was indeed at the top of our priority list for our discretionary income.

We researched the car we wanted, found out the sticker and invoice prices, and contacted several dealers for quotes. We went to the one who would sell it for $3,000 off sticker price plus give us our target number for the trade-in. Because my FICO score is "820+" according to the report they pulled, they were able to finance it at 5.99% for four years. They even filled the tank with gas before we drove off the lot.

Our down payment was more than 50% of the out-the-door price, so there's never going to be an issue of being upside down on the loan. We had enough cash on hand to buy the car outright, but we decided preserving a good cash nest egg was worth paying the 3% or so difference between what we are earning on our savings after taxes, and what we are paying on the loan.

The car is just gorgeous and we plan to keep it for at least 10 years. After the loan is paid off, we will keep making the payments to the "new car fund," so the next car can be purchased entirely for cash.

I guess the moral of the story is, once again, how empowering it feels to be in charge of your money, and have credit work for you instead of the other way around.

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