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I'm from Arizona and I will be 18 in 4 months. I make about $1,200 a month from my job. I have $600 in my bank account and I don't plan to spend any of it until I'm 18.

I'm looking to get a brand new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that costs about $43,000. The down payment is 10% (about $5,000) with an APR of 4.28%. The duration is 60 months with a monthly payment of $800.

I don't have any credit. My friend suggested that I ask my parents to put my name on one of their credit cards so that I can build some credit. I'm not sure how that works. Can someone suggest a good way of going about this so I can get this car on or around my birthday?

My mom does finance work for a big company and she told me that I should get a cheaper car. I really want this one and I'm willing to work for it. I'm getting a second job to get more money rolling in. My mom said that the only way that this would work is if I have a down payment of $15-20k. She also said that not everyone qualifies for a car like this one. What can get me to qualify ASAP when I turn 18?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 29 '18 at 0:22
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    I am fed up of deleting comments on this post, which are almost all off-topic. Please stop leaving them :-) There's a chat room linked above if you really must say something that doesn't go in an answer. Any further comments will be deleted. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 31 '18 at 16:17
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    Any update on what you ended up doing and how it went for you? – Aequitas Dec 12 at 22:56
  • Folks, keep in mind this discussion has already been moved to chat. It is not technically possible to move additional comments into that chat, so mods' only option is deletion. So don't bother posting here, the result will be inevitable. – Harper - Reinstate Monica yesterday

18 Answers 18

11

Your best option here is to whine and beg incessantly until your parents are so sick of hearing it they're at the point of happily shelling out $43k just to shut you up. It might also make them mad, but great gains always come with great risks.

On a more serious note, let's look at the numbers: You've saved 1.3% of the car's price. In the 4 remaining months you'll make up to 4.8k (although if you've only saved 600 so far, odds are against you being able to maintain a 100% savings rate going forward). You're still ~38k short. You need to come up with ~9.5k a month.

With the loan, I think there are several reasons why you would not be able to obtain financing:

  • The payments would be more than half of your income
  • You have no assets to be seized if you fail to make payments (the car would depreciate sharply as soon as you buy it, since it would now be a used car, and continue to depreciate further with time)
  • You have no credit history showing your likelihood to repay your debts

It is still possible to obtain a loan. For instance, your mom could guarantee you or co-sign, thus putting her own assets up as collateral. But then it's not much different from her just buying the car herself and gifting it to you, which she doesn't seem to be interested in. Sometimes there are also predatory lenders that would give you this loan as some sort of scam. But you probably don't want to go to those.

What can get me to qualify ASAP when I turn 18?

You could win the lottery, or your rich granduncle could tragically pass away and bequeath a generous inheritance to you. That's about it. Realistically? Nothing.

I would second your mom's suggestion of rethinking your budget. I mean, you could probably take your $600 and just rent the Wrangler for a few days, to show off to your friends, and then get rid of it when the novelty wears off in a week. If you really do save your remaining paychecks, you could get an older used Wrangler, I think you could probably find a 10-15 year old one for about 5k. I'd factor in inevitable repairs, though.

497

Based on what you've said, you shouldn't buy this car, and probably can't buy it anyway.

You are saying you earn a total of $1200 a month and have a total of $600 to your name. After four months you will have just barely enough to make a down payment on the car by spending all your savings --- and that's if, as you say, you spend nothing between now and then. After you buy the car, you will be spending two-thirds of your income just on the car payment. That doesn't include any other car expenses like gas or insurance (which is likely to be fairly expensive as you are a young driver).

A typical recommendation is that all of your car expenses should total no more than 20% of your income. You're going to be spending almost all your income on your car.

You'd need to earn at least quadruple what you're currently making for this purchase to make sense, and even then many people would say buying a brand-new car is not the best use of your money. What if you want to buy a house? Take a vacation? Go out for a nice dinner? Rent an apartment? Need a root canal? There are many other things you might want or need money for, and committing the lion's share of your cash flow to a car payment is not a wise move. (I probably sound like your mom, but as I said in the comments, that's because I think your mom is right.)

If you are willing to work for this car, you should be willing to work before getting it, to earn the money you need and get yourself on a firm financial footing before attempting to buy the car. There's no reason anyone "needs" a $40,000 car. If you need a car at all, you're better off getting a cheap one (possibly used) and saving your money. I wouldn't advise anyone, regardless of age or income, to buy a brand new Jeep for $40k.

Finally, even assuming it were a good idea, I also agree with your mom that there's no clear path for you to buy this car given your financial situation. As mentioned above, you are on pace to only barely have enough for a decent down payment. Even if you have a good credit score, not many lenders will give you a loan whose monthly payment is two-thirds of your income. Four months is simply too short a timespan to go from "I have $600 and earn $1200 a month" to "I have $5,000 and can spend $800 a month on a car payment". The only people who would likely finance such a payment would be predatory lenders who would make your situation even worse with sky-high interest rates.

288

Your problem isn't that you have no credit. Your problem is that there is no way on earth how you can ever keep up with the payments for this $43,000 car, and there is no way on earth how you can repay this loan. I don't know if that is quite clear to you: Loans are not free money. They need to be repaid. YOU need to repay it.

If you somehow managed to get a loan for this car and purchased it, then here is what would happen: You wouldn't be able to pay back the loan, so after three or four months your car would be repossessed. At that point it's not worth $43,000 but $33,000; it will be sold at auction for $28,000, and you have $15,000 in debt and no car.

There are two things that protect you: The fact that you have no credit and won't get a loan, and the fact that you are 17, so nobody will sell you the car anyway.

I would suggest that you think really, really hard what makes you want to buy an expensive, brand new car, that will be a millstone around your neck and drown you. At 18, I needed to have a car to go where I wanted to go. I paid 700 for my first car, which drove about 40,000 miles over the next four years. In your situation, you can afford about $2,000 to $3,000 to pay for a car.

Bit of maths: You saved $600 dollars. You will need SEVENTY-TWO times as much to pay the loan off. And that doesn't account for interest, it doesn't account for insurance, and you don't have a cent to put fuel in your brand new car.

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    or to pay for tires, oil changes, brakes, state inspection/annual taxes, ... it's a long list :) – NotMe Sep 7 '18 at 13:43
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    While I agree with the general sentiment, I don't think the wording you're using here is helpful. He's done the math, and it's possible that he could pay off the loan. I agree with you that it's way too risky of a loan for any real bank, but "there is no way on earth you can ever keep up with the payments" is incorrect. There are ways. The exaggerated style of your writing probably won't help him. – McKay 2 days ago
248

I did exactly that when I was 2 years older than you. Like you, I made $1200/mo. I was a bit more of a saver but the $3000 down was basically subsidized by my big hearted employer.

I remember the payment, $264.75. Every month, little coupon book. Interest rates were a lot higher back then.

But the real kicker was insurance. This thing was a musclecar. I ordered the more modest chassis without the stickers but still with the big engine, and found the insurance company that priced on the chassis not the engine. (Before I ordered it.)

I lived with my parents. I tried to break away and get my own place, but I just was not able to swing the money - sharing an apartment and also carrying the car and insurance broke my back. I had to move home.

I also had to cut back and eliminate the easy spending I had been doing. Way less eating out and movies, more ramen and netflix.


Anyway, back to you. You want to do this same thing with a car that costs 4 times as much. Insurance is not even on your radar so that alone will sink you.

I completely agree, you will not be approved with that income level, credit history and down payment, and there's nothing you can do to change those numbers. Even if approved, you would need a Samurai's resolve and asceticism to make your numbers work. By western standards, that's no life at all, and defeats the purpose of having the car. Let's see how you've done on that so far.

Given your half month of savings, you have a long habit of blowing all your $1200/mo. on this-and-that. You say you will do a "complete 180" and suddenly spend $0. No, that isn't gonna happen. What will happen is a lot of little slips, some sad realizations, begging others for money, then a crushing austerity as you deny yourself everything to try to make it work, and that will fail too because that is unbearable.

Worst case scenario, you wind up chaining payday loans for awhile and then for the rest of your life, because running your money on the tense ragged edge sets in as habit. This is called being a wage slave.

But don't take my word on it.

135

BrenBarn's answer is pretty darn good—you would do well to follow his advice. My one point of contention is that I think you should get the car.

How long will it take you to save up $43,668? Only 36 months at your current salary; if you can double your salary, then you can have the cash to pay for this car 18 months. So go for it, work like crazy put the money in the bank and buy the car with cash.

Car loans handicap most people's ability to grow wealth. Be smart and don't start now.

One thing I will applaud is your desire to seek knowledge. Keep that up; it will pay off in the long run.

74

Step 1: Start saving like you said you would.

You said you could stop spending, and start piling up your paychecks into your bank account. Start doing that now.

Step 2: Become an authorized user on your parents account.

Get a credit card in your name, but don't carry it or use it. You are not spending money, remember? This will build your score without putting you in risk of getting you into costly credit card debt.

Step 3: Find a better job.

$1200/month is nice spending money for a teenager, but you are almost an adult. You need to start earning more money. Try and find a job with more hours and better wages. This may mean you need to spend a little of that money you've been saving so you can go to a trade school or college.

Step 4: Once you have a comfortable emergency fund built up, start investing your money.

You don't even need to have a ton of available cash to start doing this. I recommend doing the research into how to invest it when you get to this point.

Step 5: You are now a financially responsible adult. Celebrate by buying a much cheaper used car.

If you have friends your age that drive expensive cars like the one you want, it is because their parents bought it, they enslaved themselves to their car payments, or they won the lottery. With your now-matured perspective on finances and wealth building, you realize that your money could be better spent (or saved) elsewhere.

52

Time for some tough love:

"but I desperately need this one and I'm willing to work for it"

No. No you don't, and no you aren't.

You want to know why I know that? Because your birthday is only four months away. If you truly, desperately needed that brand new jeep - you would've been asking this question a year or two ago - not a mere four months before you want to buy it. If you really were willing to work for it, you'd have a lot more than 2 weeks worth of salary in your bank account. I mean, I'd recommend against any 18 year old getting a $43k vehicle, but it'd be a bit different if you said, "I've been saving money for this since I was 15 and I currently have $23k in my bank account for it."

Which is fine - it's great that you don't desperately need a brand new $43k vehicle; and you shouldn't be the sort of person that enjoys living like an absolute miser through their 18-30 year old life simply to afford vehicle payments.

The big thing right now isn't even a finance question - it's taking an honest introspective look, and asking, "Why do I suddenly want this particular vehicle?" Until you can honestly answer why you've got this sudden impulse need for a brand new Jeep, you're basically doomed (either you're unhappy from not meeting a perceived need, or you're unhappy because you're crushed under a mountain of debt you'll spend 20 years trying to escape.)

41

Kyle, I recommend you read "Who can truly afford luxury cars?" and then, the linked questions to the right regarding home purchases. $800/mo is what someone pays towards a $160K 30 yr mortgage. With a 20% down payment, this is a $200K house.

I'm not trying to talk you into buying a house, but rather, I'm drawing a comparison and showing the alternate use of this large monthly payment. Of course, you don't have the required down payment, and $800 out of $1200 is far too much to spend on any one part of your budget.

On $1400/mo, are you planning to live in your parents' house for ever? Are you planning to go to college? You may find that college keeps you busy enough studying to maintain your grades that you have far less time to ride around showing off a nice car. Sorry, there are far too many details about you that we don't know.

29

There's been a lot of answers, but there's an issue that others haven't touched on:

I'm not planning to spend any more money at all until I turn 18.

How is that going to work? Unless you're planning on living on the street and eating out of garbage cans, what you mean is you're not planning on spending any of your money. The only way your post makes sense is if you're planning on living at home, with your parents footing the bill for all your necessities, so you can spend two-thirds (not even including insurance, gas, registration, etc.) of your income on a luxury. There's no way that you afford this car. You may say you're paying for with money you earned, but that's money that you would be spending on rent if it weren't for your parents. So there's a rather large sense in which you are spending your parents' money to pay for this car. If you to somehow get a loan for $43,000, you would be locked into living off your parents. You are going to have to significantly increase your income, or have your parents be a central part of your financial planning for many years to come.

When you try to get a loan with a $800/month payment, and you have an income of $1200/month, they're going to wonder how you're going to afford it. And if your answer is "My parents are supporting me", their response is likely going to be "Okay, then get your parents to cosign for it". If your being able to afford it is dependent on your parents, then the bank is going to want assurances that that support will continue. They're not going to want to make a loan whose repayment is dependent on the actions of people who are not party to the loan.

22

My honest suggestion: Continue working and making $1200 a month until you have the $43000. If you do so (which you won't), you will have $43200 in three years. But, to be realistic: you won't save more than, say, $200 or $300 for this purpose, so the time will be 4 or 5 times as long, i. e. 12 to 15 years. Better advice: Learn that you can't have everything you want.

A word on credit: Credit is not everything you need to get a loan. I don't know about the USA, but when we got a loan for our house, the most important thing we had to prove was that we made enough money so that we could afford the payments for the next 20+ years. Even the mortgage wasn't considered that important.

Quote from our bank guy: "An unemployed guy even owning a villa worth a million € cannot have a loan because he won't be able to make the payments."

17

Comparison

Right out of high school (19 years old), I went to college and racked up about $45k worth of debt (in student loans and credit cards). I was making sometimes $15k a year up to $30k a year.

It took me 20 years to pay off this debt, which few cars will last. Granted, 2 of the cars I had lasted over 20 years. (One got recycled at 215k miles and the other at 185k miles. Also, I had them at the same time, swapping between the two when one broke down.)

Keeping a car that long takes a lot of repairs. Even if you do most of it yourself, like I did, it'll still probably cost you $1000 to $2000 a year, if you're lucky.

I turn 40 this year, and I've never had a brand new car.

Accidents

With your inexperience in driving, you are much more likely to get into an accident. The link below says that 15-19 year olds are 3 times more likely to be a driver in a fatal accident than anyone 20 and over. This doesn't mean you are the cause, but you may simply not notice another driver appropriately.

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

If you destroy your car, that debt doesn't just go away. Part of it is covered by your insurance, but you have to pay the rest of it. With depreciation, you will likely be "under" or "upside down" on your loan for many years. This means your car is worth less than your loan. As someone else mentioned, after a year, you car will be worth about $33k, while your loan will likely still be around $40k. So, you'll still have to pay off $7000 for a car you no longer own, and that's if you're lucky.

This is on top of needing to buy another car. Also, with the wreck, you'll have higher insurance premium, likely medical bills, and potentially fines, court costs, and lawyers bills, depending on what all happened.

Even if it's not a wreck and instead someone stole the car and trashed it, same thing. You're likely still on the hook for at least some of the damages.

Interest Rates

You say that the interest rate at the place you're looking at is 4.28%. That's for people with perfect credit. That means a credit score of over 800. Since you don't have credit, that means you will absolutely not qualify for that low rate. Your rate, if you're lucky, will probably be in the 20-25% range. That's if they even you're allowed to get a loan.

At your age, lack of credit history, and a few other factors besides, your parents would have to co-sign the loan. I had to have my parents co-sign some of my student loans when I was your age, and those loans were for much less money. From the sounds of it, your mother would not allow this. She would be a smart lady to not co-sign a loan, or let your dad co-sign, either. Unfortunately, there's just too much risk.

Take Away

Cars are a huge financial risk, especially for someone with your lack of experience. So many things can go wrong that'll leave you with a mountain of debt you'll likely suffocate under. As others said, you can have a lot of fun with a less expensive Jeep. You'll be able to pay for insurance, gas, repairs, and taking out that date you're so keen to impress.

Give it a few years (I know this sounds like a lifetime), and you'll be able to get a nicer car. Keep up the good work ethic and the savings, and that goal will be much closer.

13

Credit history is odd. It looks at how well you have been at paying bills in the past to determine how you will in the future. If you are listed on your parents card whenever they pay a bill it will be attached to your name. Based on this people will think that you have been able to pay back loans that your parents have and qualify you for loans.

This is NOT a good idea. This is why there is a cliche, "don't lie to your doctor or your lawyer". The reason people won't give you credit for this car is because people don't think you will be able to pay it back, it is not a good idea to lie to get a loan that an expert doesn't think you will be able to afford.

Aside from that. You should make a budget of how much a car will cost including petrol, insurance, parking, any certificates it needs. and then make a decision based on how much you can spend. There are similar jeeps for much less than that second hand.

Then you should think about what else you could do with that money, I assume that you 'need' this car to look cool rather than for important off-road work. Paying for holidays, nights out, concert tickets, new clothes or college are probably all better uses of money for socialising.

11

A car is not like a house, you never truly own it. Much like a personal computer or a games console, you are 99.99% likely to just be 'renting' it. Allow me to explain.

Cars, like computer hardware, have pre-determined shelf-lives. 90% of computer hard drives last around the 3 year mark. The Jeep you are thinking of purchasing will likely last around 10 - 15 years, if you look after and service it regularly (this is of course an average, you could make it last a lot longer, or you could write it off in a week).

So what does this mean? You are effectively renting your Jeep for ($43,000 / 120 months) $358.33 per month, if it lasts you a full 10 years. Bear in mind at the end of that period, you have nothing to show for it.

By comparison, if you invest $358.33 in a low-risk fund over 10 years, returning on average 5% (a conservative estimate), you will end up with $55,874.14 in your bank account. Want to leave it in there another 10 years? It will grow to $147,899.38.

And you could still have a reasonably nice, pre-owned, but low mileage car for $2 - 3k, which could last you just as long.

With the future of the automotive industry very uncertain (bear in mind some countries, such as France are going to be making fossil fuel cars illegal in the coming decades, with diesel vehicles possibly being outlawed even sooner), I would have a good re-think about your spending decision.

5

I'm 25 and recently got a car and house:

You do not have credit. You can get your own credit card(credit card applications will start flooding in if you apply to colleges) which will have a low limit, but will help you build your credit score over the YEARS. You still won't have a good credit installment like apartment rent or a large purchase that will make you get those 5% or lower APR. You will be looking at least at a 20% APR which will make the payment $1072 a month with 40128 loan amount (38k after your down pmt and $2128 for the AZ sales tax).

The other reason is DTI (debt to income ratio). You have no debts at the moment, but when adding your car with insurance you will be paying $1500-1600 which is what you make per month. Even with added income I don't see someone giving you a loan with a 80% dti.

As for life philosophy, how will you enjoy your car if you work so much you don't have time to drive it, gas to drive it, and money to spend at places that you drive to? Also, if you damage it at all or if something breaks that is not covered by the warranty you won't have the money to fix it.

If you REALLY want the car and you have no morals:

If your parent have money, see if they will buy you a car with cash in your name. Once you get the title, use the car as a trade in and use your combined savings and the money from the car to lower the loan amount enough to get a high APR loan. Parents will hate you, but you aren't breaking the law.

4

Personally I wouldn't buy it if I had the cash in front of me. However this is about you not me.

If you want to afford that car by the time you are 18. Your only options are becoming a coke dealer, robbing a bank, or winning the lottery. I don't recommend any of these. Focus on getting a job that pays you more money. Consider working on the oil rigs. You can make some solid money doing it but it is tough dangerous work.

If you want to make the money I recommend investing that money into a low cost index fund (S&P 500, NASDAQ, DOW). Keep at it until you have enough equity to sell off and buy the car in cash, or at least until you get a job that pays enough for you to actually make the payments.


Now there is definitely risk in buying stocks. If you buy into an index, then at anytime you could lose 50%. If that happens don't sell and buy more on the way down. Don't say I didn't warn you.


This strategy does a few things for you. The first is to teach you the value of money. When you actually save $40k you don't want to spend it. If you save that much, and still want to buy the car, consider a used model. The second you drive a new car off the lot it will lose 20% of its value. Why buy a $45k jeep when you could buy one a year older for $35k

The third is that by the time you have enough money to actually afford the car you will be old enough that your insurance will be more affordable. Young male drivers pay the most for insurance, especially on new vehicles.

3

Becoming an authorized user on a parent's account (in good standing with long history) is the one shortcut to building credit that's actually worthwhile. You don't even have to have access to the card, they can add you as an authorized user and never give you the card, and yet you benefit from the history of the account.

Beyond credit score, it's income history and amount they will look at, they want sufficient income and a work-history that suggests you're likely to keep working and being able to pay. One primary metric is debt to income ratio (DTI). They'll look at your income compared to expenses if they gave you the loan, and if the ratio is above a certain threshold they won't extend a loan. The max DTI tends to be 40%, so to get approved for an $800/month loan, you'd likely need at least $2,000/month in income, and have no other debts. The more you put down, the less you'll need to borrow and therefore the less you'd need to earn monthly to get approved.

It's also unlikely that you'd qualify for any advertised interest rate on your first car loan with limited credit history, they often advertise the low-end rates but only a small percentage of people qualify for the advertised rate.

Remember to factor all the other expenses that come with a car, insurance, maintenance, registration fees, ownership tax, fuel, etc.

All the other answers that harp on it being a bad idea to borrow so much for a luxury car in your position are correct. But the answer to your question:

What can get me to qualify asap as soon as I turn 18?

Become an authorized user on a parent's credit card if they are willing. Ramp up your income significantly. Save like a fiend and cut spending to a minimum so you have a much larger down payment.

  • to get approved for an $800/month loan, you'd likely need at least $2,000/month in income, and have no other debts - this statement makes me want to open a new question myself tonight when I get home because it's closer to my situation. – Patrick Gregorio Sep 7 '18 at 14:59
3

As with most of the other answers, I would suggest that you skip the idea of purchasing that car, since from the financial information provided, it's apparent that you can't afford it, both on an initial capital basis as well as on an operational cost basis.

You will be spending almost all your income for 60 months to pay for the car expenses, you have other priorities for sure which you will need the money for.

Even if we factor that your monthly income will increase to double what you are earning now, still it is not a lucrative or good idea to spend half of your income just for the car.

From experience, all cars (More or less) are quite the same, they are means of transport, i.e. getting you from point A to point B. The passion & content one experiences with a new car usually fades within the first 6 months and it becomes just a normal car for them.

If you really badly need that car, save some money & rent it for a couple of months. This way, you get to drive the car you dream of, enjoy the ride for 2-3 months and then return it back. Renting for a long term will also reduce the rental cost (Talking about average daily rent cost), so you will manage to save on that if you rent for a long term.

I personally make $150k a year and I drive a $24k car which I bought outright 6 years ago. Cars are really a very bad depreciating liability.

2

I'm going to suggest what I suggested to a coworker awhile back: figure out the total monthly cost of buying the car. Include insurance, gas, mortgage, tolls, etc. Try to be as realistic as possible with the numbers. This last point is actually really important, especially at your age - when I was 17, I didn't have a clear idea of how much those things actually cost. Hint: it's a lot more than you think. Even if you think you know how much those things cost, it still costs more than you think. Again, it's really important that you include the actual total cost of car ownership - if you can afford the payment and insurance but it leaves you without money for gas, your car won't be going anywhere.

Don't forget, too, to include saving money for routine maintenance like oil changes. In a 9 month period, you will likely need 1 - 3 oil changes, depending on how much you drive.

Once you figure out the actual total cost, start saving that amount every month without fail - as in, move it out of checking and into a savings account on the same day every month and don't touch the money under any circumstance whatever. Do this for a minimum of 9 months (and preferably 12). If you come up short even one month for some reason, "dip into" the money in savings, or find that you can't keep up with it, keep in mind that that would've been your car payment you missed had you actually gotten the loan. If you find that

  • You don't really mind not being able to spend all that money
  • You made all of the "payments" on time
  • You never dipped into the savings

then you have evidence that you'll be able to make the payments. And, as an added bonus, you'll now have more money for a down payment.

Note that the "9 months" part is important. Yes, this means waiting until after you turn 18, but as the other answers have indicated, it's not feasible to get it that soon anyway no matter what you do. Besides, if you really want it as much as you say you do, you'll presumably still want it in 9 months.

One more thing I'd like to point to: the Stanford marshmallow experiment. In this study, preschool children were given a marshmallow (or a cookie) and were told that if they still had it when the researcher returned in 15 minutes they'd give them another one. The children who had a second one ended up being vastly more successful later in life - better education, more healthy higher SAT scores, etc. In fact, whether they ate the cookie before the researcher returned evidently predicted their BMI 30 years later. Point being that delayed gratification is one of the most important skills to learn. With that, to turn to the (now-edited-out) statement:

I desperately need this one...

Some of the other answers have touched on this, but I'd recommend distinguishing between a "want" and a "need." Think objectively about the actual consequences of not having this particular car. Does not having it mean that you'll die? Will you not be able to live a happy, fulfilled life if you don't have that particular car?

The first thing to understand is the role of your beliefs here. As the Roman philosopher Epictetus said in his Enchiridion:

Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.

People don't react to things or events - they react to their beliefs about the things and events. Albert Ellis taught the "ABCs" of how we actually react to things:

Activating Event -> Beliefs (your interpretation of the event) -> Consequences (your reaction)

Everyone approaches life with a set of expectations and preferences. These can be broadly categorized into expectations and preferences about ourselves, expectations and preferences about others, and expectations and preferences about general world conditions. There's nothing wrong with having expectations and preferences - the problem is when you demand that they always be met. This results in people overreacting when things don't go their way. And guess what? It won't. People will do things you don't like all the time. You will be treated badly at times, and people will let you down. World conditions can be terribly unfair at times. You'll even let yourself down at times.

While we have a lot of power to improve our circumstances, there's actually a lot of stuff that we have no control over whatever. Again quoting Epictetus:

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

In other words, ultimately, the only thing you can control is yourself. Point being that your preferences and expectations will be violated eventually - in fact, they'll probably be violated quite often, and often in ways that you can't prevent or control in the least.

Going back to the issue of going from a preference/expectation to an inflexible, rigid demands, you go from "I really want this car" to "I absolutely must have it - I need it." The first statement isn't a problem, but the second statement is.

I'd strongly recommend reading A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis for a lot more on this point.

TL;DR

  • You don't need the car, you really want it.
  • It's important to avoid letting our preferences and expectations become rigid demands. Letting a preference or expectation become a rigid demand can cause you to do irrational things and to overreact when stuff that you don't like happens.
  • Save the equivalent of the total cost (the actual total cost - not just some wishful thinking about what the cost is) every month for 9 months to see what it would be like to actually pay that. If you miss even one, that means that you would have missed the car (or insurance) payment if you had it, which would indicate that you overextended yourself financially.

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