This will likely be my final day as a Jeep owner--at least for a little while. Frame rot has weakened by 2000 TJ Sport to the point that important parts of the drivetrain are at serious risk of falling off of the undercarriage. Rather than put the driving public at risk, I've decided to park my trusty steed of the past 12-years and purchase another vehicle. I'll let someone else buy her and try to fix her up or just use her for parts.
Fortunately, the weather has been good the past few days and I've been able to have a few final trips around town with the top down, the sun shining upon us and the wind whipping past us. It was 4th of July night that I mentioned to my wife on the way to the fireworks how much I loved that feeling.
Unfortunately, thanks to our recent "best vacation ever" to Hawaii and a series of other "life happens" expenses, I don't have the cash on hand to purchase the next Jeep that I would like--a Rubicon JK (with the rock-crushing 44 Dana front and rear axles, lift kit, tow package and Sunrider soft top)--so I am faced with three choices:
One, I could just head down to the Jeep dealership and apply for a no-money down, 72-month loan for a brand new Rubicon that I mentioned before. I would surely qualify for the lowest interest rate and the maximum amount of capital financed and could order every option I want right from the factory. But as a disciple of the Dave Ramsey Way that would also put me into debt for six years--and even if you pay off the loan as soon as you can, the interest still increases the total purchase price.
Two, I could take the cash we have on hand and buy one of those boring, mid-mileage, mid-size sedans or crossovers that dominate the roads today. It would reliably get me from point A to point B every day for several years. But it would also mean a longer amount of time I would need to save for the Rubicon. Plus, I'll become the guy who has to set off his car alarm with the key fob to figure out which tan four door is his in the parking lot of the grocery store because they all look the same.
Or three, I could buy what Dave Ramsey likes to call a "hoop-dee car". A mechanically-sound vehicle that runs good but looks ugly for the lowest price I can find. It serves as a reminder that a vehicle is simply a machine meant to transport you safely to wherever you have to go. And it will provide me with a head start at saving for the vehicle that I actually want.
And that is the route that I am going to go--purchase what I need now for as little as I can--so that later on I can buy what I want at whatever price I need to. Plus, getting into that hot, slightly-funky smelling interior every day for a couple of years will remind me of those sun-drenched topless days in my Jeep--and make it so much easier to transfer that cash into the money market account every month for my next top-down summer cruising experiences.