First, a little philosophy. Cars are not worth being attached to. They’re just plastic, aluminum, iron, some rubber, and some oil: they’re just a “thing.” They get old, they wear out, and even worse, they can be destroyed at any time. You can park your car on the side of the road on a Friday or Saturday night and find out that somebody ran into it at 2 a.m., and it’s been totaled. If you’re emotionally attached to it and it’s been destroyed, you’ll probably be devastated. Why go through that?
There’s another good reason not to get emotionally involved with a car — when it comes to buying a vehicle, salespeople can tell if you’re emotionally involved. Like sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away, salespeople can smell emotional involvement. They’ll use it against you; they’ll tell you that somebody else is going to come and buy the car you want if you don’t buy it today, right now. They’ll tell you that this is the best price you’ll find on that car …it’s a really nice car and people love it: anything to reinforce the image you have in your head that the car you want is the best in the world.
It’s also important to know that when people get emotionally involved, they often make bad financial decisions. These emotions can get so strong that a person might decide that even though they’ve set a budget of $350 a month, they really really want to buy a particular car. They’ll “cut back” here and there in order to be able to afford a higher monthly payment, just so they can get the color they wanted, or a special feature or two. I’ve found that people make these decisions because they think it will make them happy (because they’re emotionally involved) but they end up putting themselves in a difficult situation financially.
Emotions don’t just apply to the car you’re buying either — they often can apply to the car your trading in. While it’s normal to have a special place in your heart for your trade-in, don’t let that keep you from getting a good deal. If you take a step back and look at your trade-in objectively, you’ll usually have a better idea of what it’s worth.