By on July 22, 2007

saturdaymorning2.jpgWhen you’re young, free and single, buying a new car is easy. You match the maximum amount of available cash/credit to the maximum amount of cool you can afford and sign your life away. When you’re married, buying a new car is a pain in the ass, right from the git-go. Which car do we sell? Who gets the new car? Who gets the old car? How practical should it be? How stylish? Whose style? How much car can WE afford? Post-nuptial new car negotiations can present anything from a small bump in the marital road to a VERY expensive write-off.

Not to stereotype, but many a husband wants more car than the couple can afford (without sacrificing that big screen TV), while plenty of wives wants a cute car with less power than a lawn mower (without sacrificing new carpets and curtains). In other words, men are from Mopar, women are from… some planet where the color of a car is more important than the vehicle underneath the paint job.

Unless you’re a perfectly compatible couple, such deliberations ultimately boil down to a simple power struggle— one of many that all couples face over years/months of marriage.

Usually, couples hammer out some kind of compromise. The guy gets the car he wants, or the woman gets the car she wants, and then one, the other or both live with simmering resentment.

Thankfully, the rise of the two income family has removed a great deal of the animus from the process– which is a bit like saying nuclear weapons have made the world a safer place. But then couples argue over money more than anything else. Cars are a couple’s second largest purchase after their home. Do the math. And then duck.

As the years roll by, a couple’s vehicular needs change: from two-seaters to five-seaters to minivans to college cars back to sedans to two seaters. But the power struggle remains. As a grizzled veteran of two world wars marriages (let’s just call the exit from the first an “honorable discharge”), I’ve experienced a fair amount of car-centric combat discord. If there’s one piece of advice I can give men facing this strife it’s this: surrender.

Let’s be honest: what guy wouldn’t like to go out and buy a new car paying scant attention to such trivial matters as cash flow? Upside-down on your current car? Heck, just go out and get a “refi” and use the equity in your house to buy that shiny-new object of your innermost automotive desire. I don’t know about you, but my spending habits are based on the simple idea that there’s no tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my [second] wife saves money like a four-handed, amphetamine-crazed squirrel preparing for The Mother of All Winters. With all my nuts safely stashed (so to speak), income stays put, while outgo is as rare as a Tiffany lamp in Wal-Mart.

After many a skirmish, I’ve come to appreciate the resolute focus my “spousal unit” has placed upon saving for the future. It took a long time, but I now understand why she thinks fast cars are a needless extravagance. Or, if you prefer, I look at homeless people of a certain age and wonder which Ferrari they used to own before cocaine turned to whiskey turned to malt liquor.

I repeat: listen to the Mrs. Cars are depreciating assets. There’s absolutely no sense in the act of taking cash out of an appreciating asset (your humble abode) to burn on something that will devalue over time (new kitchen counter tops don’t count, apparently).

It may be a quick burn, say, like the value of a Chrysler Sebring. Or, it may be a slower burn, like a Honda-something. Unless you’re buying stratospherically-priced “investment grade” sheet metal, the value of your whip will prove Newton’s theory of gravity– without the “going up” bit.

That’s not to say there is no joy in Mudville. If you both agree there’s room for a new toy in the budget, providing there actually is, life can be sweet. You can go out and enjoy the fruits of your (joint) labor. OK, you’ll probably be so old by then that you no longer have the eyesight and hand-eye coordination to fully enjoy your fire-breathing SRT-8mobile or MX-5 whippet. But financially speaking, you won’t be the loser you look like.

Of course, all this advice is predicated on the assumption that you’re not amongst those fortunate pistonheads who can afford to indulge their automotive appetites without the slightest regard to the money they’re pissing away on an endless succession of four-wheeled paramours. If that’s the case, go ahead, laugh. But here’s a message from those of us whose financial safety demands we let our better halves curb our enthusiasm: you go boy! You go!

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41 Comments on “Marriage and Cars...”

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    You can pretty much buy any type of vehicle you want these days with minimal depreciation. The only thing is, you can’t get a new version of it. That’s no problem with me. After all, 99.9% of the car is still there.

    Back in 1999, my wife and I were married. We used a silver 1983 Lincoln Mark VI as a getaway limo (as well as her everyday transportation for downtown Atlanta). Her first order of business, car wise that is, was to finally have a car that was actually from the same decade.

    A month later I bought her a 1997 Ford Escort LX at a dealer auction with AM/FM cassette, automatic, a/c, and power nothing for $5000. At that time, I was just getting my feet wet in the auction business, and she was working as a production assistant at a TV station. That car gave her four years and 60,000 miles of care free motoring. We sold it for $3,000 and to date, that’s the most depreciation we ever had on a car.

    By 2002, kid number two was on the way. We bought a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan at a public auction I did my bid calling at for $2950. It had 102k miles and virtually ran like a Cadillac as far as she was concerned. Three years later I sold it with 147k for $2750, and that was with a nice crease in the medal which we were given $2800 for.

    Since then she’s had about 60 daily drivers. Volvo wagons, minivans of every shape and brand, Subaru’s, and even a few Mercedes diesels that she not so lovingly refers to as ’stinkys’. I would say her most expensive ride was a 2002 Infiniti Q45, and the least expensive… um… maybe I shouldn’t tell everyone that one.

    There was one year where we were actually down to one car because I literally sold everything that I had in my inventory. Typically I keep about 10 to 20 vehicles and sell anywhere between two to five of them a week. It’s enough of a side interest to keep the income flowing and keep my inspection and appraisal skills sharp.

    To me cars have been a solid investment. But if I weren’t in the business, I would still be using a 1994 Subaru Impreza that I bought for $25 at a public ‘inop’ auction back in 2002. One battery, and the removal of a shift overide pin, and it ran without a hitch. Literally.

  • avatar

    Who gets the new car? My wife. She’s less capable of dealing with mechanical breakdown. Not that I’m anything but a second rate shade tree mechanic. If the ECM goes bad all I can do is put on a skirt and call AAA. But at least I know what the temp. guage is for, and I actually look at it now and again. So for us, no question who’s driving the most reliable ride.

    We’ve reached a comfortable zone now – dual income empty nesters with a paid off house. That means every few years we can take turns buying a new whip. And that means no more crawling under cars in February trying to figure out what’s wrong and fixing it in the driveway. Those days are gone – thank my lucky stars.

    It makes great sense to keep telling yourself “this is a depreciating asset” when car shopping. We avoid status symbols and racy/sporty cars. It makes sense to go for value, reliability, and economy. There are better things to spend money on.

  • avatar

    Yes, but… no man thinks “I’m so happy I bought a used Honda and saved my money for my 401(k)/RRSP.” on his death bed.

  • avatar

    I’ve been through this part of the marriage fun a few times…luckily, the type of car is usually left to me ad things like color are her domain. The real struggle (before we sign the paperwork, anyway) is always the same: stick or automatic.

    Given the choice, I would not own an automatic transmission – just because I enjoy driving a manual more. My wife prefers the auto, even though she’s perfectly capable of driving a manual.

    So the same thing happens every time – we pick out the car and then have the battle of wills to see which transmission we get. She usually wins…go figure.

    So I’m looking forward to trying out a DSG. Maybe we’ll finally find somethign to agree on.

  • avatar

    I find that if you’re smart and can hold off your pistonhead urges, you can have your cake and eat it too. An example, Last year I got my dad into a 2003 camry with 17k miles on it. It cost 16.5k before trade in. Had it been purchased new, it would have cost over 22k out the door. Now, that is a 5.5 k difference for 17k miles from new. That is a reliable daily driver with room for a used miata. Have fun. Besides, I’ve decided all of my fun cars need to be decently used. I just don’t have the heart to take a brand new WRX onto a gravel road or a race track and go crazy, I will do that with a depreciated one though. Some of my friends don’t have this particular problem, so I ride in their new WRXs.

    You’re all welcome to discount this as I’m not married, but in my family the person who has the most used car gets the new ride. They also get majority choice (within reason) of the new vehicle. Is it always best to trade in or sell everything for a new or new-used vehicle? No. However, it keeps the peace.

  • avatar

    Samir: I’m with you-–it’s fun to dream of what we’d buy–especially when on our own.

    However if there’s one thing I’ve learned from by beautiful (yet fiscally-responsible) wife of the last 18 years is, there needs to be some balance in our lives.

    Things like paying off the house, and yes, saving for retirement will go a long way towards perhaps having the ability to take European delivery on a new Bimmer, say, after we retire. At the moment, given that we work full time, our “mundane” cars fit the bill.

    Sure, I dream of piloting a fun, sexy and expensive car–all the time.

    Yet action must take precedence over dreams:
    Appearing to have it all, right now, is best left for others.

    Now I wonder where my wife hid that 335i brochure I picked up a few weeks ago? ;-)

  • avatar

    I am in the complete opposite situation. My wife wants a BMW and I like putting some saving away for the eventual day of retirement. Of course when I was I was single and young I had the Porsche 911 and quickly learned that getting from A to B is much more enjoyable and pleasant in a nice cruiser. My wife on the other hand is a control freak and ever since she had a BMW in the 70’s claims that none of the other cars we have owned have ever come close to the feeling she had when driving that 2002. Next year I promised we would take a look at the 1 series that will be in the showrooms, although I am not looking forward to dealing with those pretentious people at the BMW Center (dealership).

  • avatar

    “Investment grade” autos need not be million dollar supercars. There are lots of machines out there, starting at the four-figure mark that appreciate in value.

    This is where “hobby” or “Collector” cars come into their own. My wife always gets the new car. I get to blow the occasional surplus bucks on the “family heirloom”… a mid-60s British Sports Car out in the barn. Unlike modern machinery it actually appreciates in value every year. While it is not a high-dollar Speed Channel Auction vehicle, it provides tons of fun because I can actually DRIVE it. Something I do to the tune of 3k to 4k miles per year. Local car club rallies with my sons, sunday drives, and at least one road trip of major vintage rally per year. I can’t imagine selling it, but I do take comfort in the fact that its value rises as it ages. Provided of course I keep it maintained. Something which also supplies me with enjoyment. At the moment I’m rebuilding the steering rack in preparation for a rally.

    Just like any market, investment is about picking the right purchase at the right time.


  • avatar

    I guess that am quite fortunate that my wife and I are both near equal income earners. She let’s me buy whatever car I want because I will be the primary driver of said vehicle. Likewise, she buys whatever car she likes because she is the primary driver of that vehicle. We have a 2 year old daughter and both our cars are capable to transporting her.

    I also have a project car – a 1972 240z – where I spend quite a bit of my time and money.

    I would say, however, that surrender for the rest of you is not the way to go. A marriage is a partnership based on trust and understanding. If she is not trusting and understanding enough to let you buy, within reason, a car of your ‘own’, then maybe she needs to do some thinking. That puts the responsibility on you, the guy, to buy a car that fits within your budget and familial needs.

  • avatar

    Over the years I have been very lucky in the wife & car process. My wife has always loved to drive a stick, so the big thing was what car would come with a stick. Te best part it took the domestic crud out of the selection process. We started with a Volvo 244 sedan, then a 740 turbo wagon She loved blowing way young guys and while having the kids in the car seats have good bye. Would have gotten another V-car except at that time they had gone FWD and the turbo cars only had automatics. I was able to get her to look at BMW’s that time and she is now sold on the 5 series (two cars over 300k mi). We are on our second 5 series (these were both bought lightly used). When buying the second one finding a stick in the proper color was the biggest problem. She even went to the track last year to learn her a bit more. As long she has her good car, I can drive what ever treasure I have fallen in love with lately.

  • avatar

    If I hadn’t let my wife(at the time my fiance) pick the car she wanted we would be driveing 2 5-speed Subaru’s instead of driving 1 Subaru everywhere while the Cadillac she liked so much barely runs no matter how much money or time we put into it.

    At least I know it wont be a power struggle anymore, she now thinks like I do as far as driving and cars(only took 7 years, nothing compared to some couples).

  • avatar

    So I take it my bizarre love of estate cars / station wagons won’t be an issue when I get married?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    No it won’t. Trust me.

  • avatar

    chuckgoolsbee: “Investment grade” autos need not be million dollar supercars. There are lots of machines out there, starting at the four-figure mark that appreciate in value.

    This is where “hobby” or “Collector” cars come into their own…I get to blow the occasional surplus bucks on the “family heirloom”… a mid-60s British Sports Car out in the barn.

    Chuck: Sounds like lots of fun!
    (We talking the likes of MG’s here, or?)

    Tyler D: So I take it my bizarre love of estate cars / station wagons won’t be an issue when I get married?

    I’m thinking you’ll do just fine, Tyler. :-)

  • avatar
    jd arms

    About 18 months ago my wife and I had our biggest/toughest negotiation ever. It was not over a car or house; it was the choice of whether to have another child. We have one. I always wanted at least two; she had known this for years, so when she balked at number two, this decision/negotiation was difficult and I carried some serious resentment. Ultimately, her body is her body, so she had the final say. But there was a compromise: only one kid, but I get 12.5% of my monthly net plus any additional pay I earn through overtime or extra duty placed in a separate account to be spent as I choose no questions asked: walking around money to be pissed away on golf, poker and booze if I so desire (not that I would).

    How does this apply to buying a car?

    I don’t need a new car, but when I do or if I just have to have a new one, I can get it. I know what we spent on her FX35. Whatever I spend on my car past the price of the FX comes out of my 12.5%. Moreover, since my car is paid off, if I want something as impractical as a used Lotus Elise to be my little 3rd car/weekend plaything, I can make it happen pretty quickly. Or, if I want something more practical, but a little beyond my reach – like a used M45 or used 5 series, I can apply the 12.5% there. Further, I also get heavy influence (I would almost say veto power) on her choice of car – just as she might have influence on an interior design decision by me. Now I would not have vetoed a Murano, or an MDX, but a RX330 – that just wasn’t going to happen. I’m lucky – my wife enjoys driving and chose to drive a stick until we had a kid; she then switched to an automatic. As a result, she appreciates fun cars and doesn’t view a car as an appliance. Since she likes fast cars, persuading her to get the FX35 as her mommy mobile rather than a Murano was as simple as getting her to test drive the sportier vehicle.

    With all that said, at the end of the day, I would gladly give up that 12.5%, have a minivan and a beater Camcord (I’d even take the minivan as my daily driver), but also have 2 kids. Another round of little league games, bike-riding lessons, ballet recitals – even changing diapers at 3 a.m. has much more meaning to me than having a choice of 2-3 nice cars in the family stable.

  • avatar

    live like there is no tomorrow. the juvenile hormones of flooring that bank account versus the composed soap opera boring mathematics of savings bookkeeping for whatever imagined bungalow or shrine near some Lochness a man can dream of.these juvenile hormones have brought usa to the biggest external debt in history- over 10 trillion dollars( has more zeroes than Paris Hilton`s math test score).with their british royal pals running their foggy Albion in a 8.2 trillion hazy debt. while gold reserves remain mind -blowingly tiny 69 billion, compared to china`s well over 1 trillion reserve and Japan`s 835 billion reserve. live for today, die…already tomorrow.
    p.s.- next time write a column ` marriage WITH cars,please:))

  • avatar

    Both myself and my wife are happy with the “focus on the future” approach to joint spending. We do however recognise the need for a reward every now and again so come Christmas there is a family present to outrselves – and thats where the new TV, kitchen upgrades, aniversary presents and so forth come in.

    The exception is with cars. If you were to discuss cars with Mrs T&C she would probably give you the impression that she fits into the “caring about how long a car will last” variety, perhaps also focussing on comfort and safety whereas I go for the fast ones.

    So when we replaced her car it was left to me to pursuade her into the 140hp version although slightly thirstier instead of the 105hp version. I suggested it would be safer for the kind of back roads that exist in Northern parts of Scotland where she drives. Safer overtaking that is. She argued against but we got a good deal which made the difference in price go away.

    And she wanted leather. Must have leather.

    And bum warmers.

    Must have them because of the leather being cold in the morning.

    So the new car came and she said it was just “ok”.

    Except. I suspect the power has become corrupting. How do I know this ?

    Well, When I drove her car the last time I got the average MPG to over 60. She rarely gets it over 45.

    And then came the admission – she has been testing out the top speed.

    And now she really cares about beating other cars off the line.

    Its kind of a racer’s red mist. And its not all good.

    The other week the local people who check speed decided to write us a nice letter about how they had observed the car registered to Mrs T&C exceeding the speed limit. Unfortunately unlike the Italian police they were not writing to congratulate her but to ask for a penalty and award some points. Points in this case do not mean prizes.

    Thankfully this observation did not coincide with the V-max test.

    The plan is to change her car in 2 years and then in another 4 when she is planning to retire.

    And now when checking cars (and she does, this is another change) she looks at the safety bit second after the performance stats.

    Oh and the top speed ?

    Apparently it said 136 on the speedo.

  • avatar

    A car is not a sound investment so drive a used beater and maybe buy a sports car to have fun with 4-5 weekends a year while your wife gets the new camcordamina? To that I would say NO.

    You spend a serious amount of your life in a car. Sure, alot of it is in traffic and on highways, but its alot nicer to be in a nice car during those times. Maybe I can’t tap the power of my ride on my daily commute but I can goose the gas and snap my head back in the seat from time to time or send the tires screaching on an exit/entrance ramp. I don’t need to go into bankruptcy to get the 996 TT, but I fully intend to daily drive the best used hoonmobile I can afford forever and if times get good a side of fun convertible weekend car + race car.

  • avatar

    So I take it my bizarre love of estate cars / station wagons won’t be an issue when I get married?

    Hah, depends on the woman. My better half still doesn’t understand why in the world I insisted on a wagon when I bought an Audi. I think it makes her feel old…

  • avatar

    As long as it’s in the budget (i.e. You are saving for retirement, kids college, etc) and you enjoy cars/driving it shouldn’t be an issue. Now if you are tight on money then you need to get what will be the best value until you can afford something more.

    The car each person in the marriage purchases shouldn’t be much of a negotiation. Two people and two cars so what’s the problem? As long as the vehicle you choose can do the duty required.

    I have two very small children and my wife has a mini-van (which she choose and I didn’t want but hey it’s her car). She is the primary kid-hauler while I handle drop offs. I normally don’t have the kids in my car a lot. So as long as it has four-seats that can fit boosters or child seats it’s a familiar car to me. Coupes would be pushing it at this stage (or when I bought my 06) but everything else is on the table.

    It also is important to found a spouse with similar values. If one is frugal and another a spend-thrift then you are going to have issues. Also its about priorities, Some smoke a pack a day, drink a two $3 lattes a day, eat out a lot and go on huge vacations abroad. Me? I like cars and that’s where my spending money goes.

    Moderation, everything in moderation.

  • avatar

    Not a problem for us – my wife likes to drive as much as I do. She gets it from her dad whose hobby and passion was motor racing. When we got married she traded her 240SX for a Mini Cooper S but has since recanted and declared he undying love for RWD cars so I guess I’m saving for a 1 series. Fortunately we have good jobs and I couldn’t be happier that cars are not a point of contention but a shared passion in our relationship.

  • avatar

    Good article, thanks.
    I guess the main point is that getting a fun/nice car, above your average daily commuter, should be considered a hobby expense, and treated as such in the household budget.
    I don’t want to be broke when I’ll retire…
    As, on the other hand, I don’t want to drive a crappy car either, my wife and I are going for fun little cars: we currently own a VW Golf, and will probably replace it with an Impreza, Audi A3, GTi, or mazda3. While none of those cars is as impressive as a porsche, you get 80% of the fun for 15% of the price. Good enough for us!

  • avatar

    Taking into account ALL factors (reliability, cost, speed, power, economy, extras, etc). The best car on the market which will see you through your single life and “later” life, is the VW Golf GTi. In single life, you can hoon around and in “sensible” life (please note ALL the inverted commas!) it serves as a good quality, reliable workhorse. There’s even no need to trade it in when rugrats come, because there’s more than enough room for three of them in the back! All comes with a 5 star Euro NCAP rating (safest in class).

    What more do you want? A Toyota badge……?

  • avatar

    Mr Swanson, I think Ill take your advice (as wussy as it sounds). The first time I rode shotgun with my other half, the light turned green and she launched the car, planting the accelerator to the floor, pinning my head to the headrest, glancing at me and said (with a big grin), “Sometimes you just gotta get up on your ride!” …yeah, I pretty much knew right then.

  • avatar

    socsndaisy: Mr Swanson, I think Ill take your advice (as wussy as it sounds).

    Wussy or not, wealth comes in many forms.
    It’s not only the car one drives that makes the man.

    That said, if I was single, I’d no doubt have an expensive, go-fast car.
    But come retirement time, I’d likely end up living in it.

    If the choice is between being automotively “well-off” in the present vs. having a financially-secure retirement, I’ll go with the latter. :-)

  • avatar

    I have a girlfriend that I forsee marrying, but from what I’ve heard, I shouldn’t count on conversations from our present relationship having any bearing in the future =p.

    We make about the same. She’s absorbed a little bit of my car knowledge, even learned enough stickshift driving for emergencies. I’ve made it clear I’ll be driving stick for a while, and she seems to be okay with that. Either way, I’d be willing to compromise – she can have the new Acura or Audi, I’ll just buy an old $5,000 Miata.

    I’m not ready to even think about kids yet, but I’ve dropped that I’d like a couple, which is more than she’s thinking about. I bet I end up driving the family hauler. I know this is stupid, but if I were stuck with a minivan (only if I somehow have 3+ kids of similar age), I’d install a sway bar, look for coilovers, and give it some nice rims. Whether it’s infantile escapism or genuine dynamic improvements, I won’t go quietly!

  • avatar

    Tyler D:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    So I take it my bizarre love of estate cars / station wagons won’t be an issue when I get married?

    If you married my wife, you’d be screwed (not in the GOOD way).

    My wife just HATES any kind of wagon.

    Doesn’t matter how fast, doesn’t matter how expensive.

    She likes two doors with fast rooflines…

    and automatic transmissions.

  • avatar

    There is a book called `Delicous and Healthy Food`. And there are 2 chapters in it- 1. Delicous food, 2. Healthy food….. ditto with the cars.

  • avatar

    I’ve got the same issue with Wagons…I love ’em and my wife is more lukewarm about them. when we’ve got a couple of kids, I will exercise veto power if it comes to a wagon vs. mini van.

    For the time being I don’t mind driving the beater…My car is so old and banged up that it’s got a personality of its own at this point. Additionally, I feel more comfortable sending myself out into traffic with it, then my wife…let her drive the car with airbags and ABS and stuff like that…I’ll take my chances with the tin box on wheels.
    Plus I’m not always the nicest on my vehicles…I can drive very sanely, but sometimes it gets boring…if I’m going to pseudohoon, I’d rather do it in a car that isn’t worth more than a couple of tanks of gas.

  • avatar

    We have a very simple process:

    1) Buy a car.
    2) Drive it for 10 years.
    3) Sell Car.
    4) See #1.

    We also have two play cars: A 1990 Alfa Spider, and a 1972 M-B 280SE 4.5 Sedan. The Alfa was my wife’s first car out of college, and the benz was her grandmother’s car. She sold it to me when she turned 91.

    We’re looking to dump the Alfa and the Benz and buy a “driver” convertible, like a 69-72 Olds Cutlass, or something like that. We have two kids, and want a 4 seat convertible (No room in the Alfa, and the Benz is a hardtop).

    Our daily drivers depreciate, but we hold them for a long time. Our play cars are fairly stable in value at this point, and if we sell, we’ll definitely get our money’s worth.

    Our daily drivers are for Point A to Point B driving, and so have to be reliable. Hence, two Honda products.

    Actually, my wife is driving the search for an old convertible, as she wants to be able to take the kids. I’d be happy with the Alfa and Benz for a while, but hey, if she wants a new ride…

  • avatar

    I’ve been married for four months now, and couldn’t help laughing at your excellent article. You should’ve written this five months ago!

  • avatar

    seldomawake: July 24th; I’ve been married for four months now, and couldn’t help laughing at your excellent article. You should’ve written this five months ago!

    Enjoy the glow of your newly-wedded bliss–while it lasts. ;-) Seriously, congrats on the new partnership.

    Glad you enjoyed the article. And even if it comes five months too late, you’ve still got many years of married life ahead to practice the fine arts of marital negotiations. :-)

    All the best to you both.

  • avatar

    I’ve been married for 31 years and never had an issue with what car to buy. When I buy a car for my wife she asks what we can afford. I tell her, she then tells me what to get, since she will not deal with the salespeople. Blue, stick, 4 door, good gas mileage meaning over 30 mpg. Anything else is unneccsary. I determine make, model, etc. She does not use A/C. “That’s why the windows roll down”
    So you can imagine the dealer’s face when I tell him I want a basic car for my wife and give him the requirements. He has asked me if this were part of a divorce settlement. I say no unless he can’t get me the car she wants.
    She has fun with the car.

  • avatar

    I think we came to a happy medium on this one. Her car is fairly new and in outstanding shape with only 54,000 miles on the clock.
    Mine is old, plenty of miles, but has a new engine. It’s a blast to drive and tweak with and it’s paid for. This solution is keeping us both happy and we’ll repeat it every few years for a long time to come.

  • avatar

    “Meanwhile, my [second] wife saves money like a four-handed, amphetamine-crazed squirrel preparing for The Mother of All Winters.”
    What vividly imaginative language. Nice work. Got me to actually snort into my screen.

  • avatar

    My wife loves her minivan.
    My daily driver is an seriously esthetically challenged yet surprisingly resiliant beater with 168,000 miles.
    At her encouragement, I recently did the sub $5000 weekend Miata. Looked for the right car/deal for about a year.
    Bought my Miata on e-bay from a bricks and mortar auction house south of SF. Flew into Oakland, picked up the car then drove it back down to LA on PCH during a picture perfect sunny Sunday. I got full value for my dollar in the first 500 miles.

  • avatar

    Mullholland: What vividly imaginative language. Nice work. Got me to actually snort into my screen.
    At her encouragement, I recently did the sub $5000 weekend Miata. I got full value for my dollar in the first 500 miles.

    Thank you for the kind words. :-)
    (I’d be remiss not to mention the help from fine editors here at TTAC.)

    This takes impressive patience:
    Looked for the right car/deal for about a year.

    Anyway, the wife and the Miata sound like keepers to me! Good finds both.

    Enjoy the fun car.

  • avatar



    She drives a ~15 year old Geo Prism that’s taken all we can throw at it; we’ll be replacing it soon, methinks. It should be interesting :)

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’m very lucky in that my wife has always told me to get what’ll make me happy, as long as we can afford it. The shared logic between us is that we spend too much time driving to settle for crappy cars. And since even the less expensive new cars today aren’t exactly what you can call “cheap,” we’re both prepared to spend a few more thousand to get what we want. Fortunately for the both us (and despite my life-long auto enthusiasm) neither of us has much interest in cars over 30K. Maybe even 25K. And we drive them for 8-10 years before trading them in. So no Audis, BMW’s, Lexi, Infinitis, etc. But bring on the Subaru Imprezas, Mazda 3s and Civic Sis. And I might take a look at the Altima Coupe this fall.

  • avatar

    I guess I’m lucky in this respect. My wife and I barely had any disagreements when I decided that I needed a new car. I ended up in a Mazda6s not the RX8 I was originally shooting for or a dream car Corvette, but at least its a sport sedan. Given my salary I probably would have a Corvette right now if I were still single. Of course I woud be living in a house worth about half what our current house is worth with maybe two months pay in the bank. I’m not totally fiscally irresponsible, but I do spend whatever money I earn. My wife on the other hand is a CFO of a medium sized local business (200-300 employees). While she likes cars that go fast, she also appreciates 401Ks and saving for retirement. Thats how I ended up with an end of the model year, last on the lot, Mazda6s.

    The funny thing is, my wife currently owns a Cobra Mustang, which followed a 69 Porsche 911T, which follwoed an 84 Mustang. She makes fun of my responsible car and talks about the new Mustang she’s going to get.:-) This is why I am lucky. My wife loves cars and only mildly rebuffs me when I talk about getting her an RX8 or a Porsche Boxster for her next car. The other reason I am lucky. My wife refuses to buy an auto. She has never owned an auto, and if she has any say in it, never will.

    While we’ll never own anything ridiculously expensive, we both like to dream about it, and at the end of the day both of us come to our senses and get the (mostly) sensible car.

  • avatar

    Lumbergh21: My wife refuses to buy an auto. She has never owned an auto, and if she has any say in it, never will.

    Same here: My wife drives a manual, as do I. :-)

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