Can you never have a car payment?

I’ve never had a car payment, and that was my plan, but my real plan was more complicated and remains unfulfilled.

I thought I’d buy a very inexpensive used car for cash and then each month set aside the amount of a modest car payment. If I could keep the car going several years (which I usually did), then I should have enough money saved up to pay cash for a next car better and newer than the last one. I thought if I did that over and over again, by the time I was 60 or so I could pay cash for a modest new car.

Sadly, any money I set aside for that purpose was either used for something else or was just enough for yet another crappy car. So I never got to the new car level. On the other hand, I had reliable transportation for over thirty years without the financial stress of a car payment. Not having a car payment is really, really great. Every month, that $200 or $300 or whatever was money I could spend on anything else I wanted to, or more often, needed to.

I mention this in case someone with a little higher income than I and a little more self-discipline might be able to actually do it.

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