Great! Yep, all one has to do is postpone the purchase of that first car
and make every payment to themselves faithfully thereafter. It's not that
easy with a house, of course, but I only borrowed money against the first
one, invested some energy, made a nice profit and paid cash for every one
I understand the wisdom & workings of this - but.... how does one postpone
the purchase of a first car? If living in a metropolitan area that has good
public transport, yes, possible. But otherwise... ?
When I read the first post, re: having had no car loans & saving faithfully
for each car, I thought: "Okay, but how about the very first one - there's a
huge sticking point." Starting out w/job & making small salary, maybe
paying off student loans.... an accomplishment to pay the rent, groceries, &
utilities - no available lump sum big enough to purchase a car sans a loan.
We went through a long period when the tax man thought we were rich but we
could barely afford to feed our family - $65 for a month's groceries for a
family of 4 is tough. There is no way to go through a period like that with
the "pay yourself" plan - we couldn't afford to operate a car, much less
make payments. We had been married ten years before we made car payments at
For me it was a combination of life choices. Enlisting in the military made
a car unnecessary while saving money. The subsequent college years were the
toughest financially but postponing marriage and children got me through
I don't think there was ever a time we would have been ready for our first
child. He had a constellation of medical problems, but the asthma was the
most troublesome. The out-of-pocket expenses consumed a quarter of our gross
income (more than our house payment and food budget combined; only taxes
were a bigger part of our expenses) until I got a second job and changed my
first to a better paying job. When he was 12 he spent 5 months in a hospital
in Denver, and seeing the bill with my name at the top and $200K at the
bottom was an unpleasant experience. Paul Harvey quotes somebody whose name
I didn't recognize: "Having children makes us all hostages to Fate."
Too bad we didn't follow the lead of every other modern nation on the
planet. National health care would have spread those costs across our
society. Yes, some of us would have paid a little more, but in a great
society the poorest should have food, clothing, housing and health care.
If he had been under national health care he would not have been approved
for the hospital stay and would have died a few years later when the effects
caught up with him - 100% certainty, according to the doctor, who convinced
us we had to do what we had to do. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
That is why my insurance company (BCBS) only preapproved 3 days and approved
day by day, then cut off coverage after 8 days. He wasn't critically ill but
was on no fewer than 17 medications, managed by the best allergy practice in
Phoenix. The doctor knew most of the medications weren't helping and some
were probably hurting but couldn't back off in an outpatient setting. Within
the first month in the hospital he was down to about a half dozen meds and
was off prednisone for the first time in 6 years. At the end of is stay he
was down to something like 4 or 5 meds and only inhaled steroids. More
important, his asthma could be considered managed for the first time in his
life. That is what managed health care, either HMOs or socialized medicine,
do worst of all.
About ten years ago he moved to Washington state with his fiancee. While
there the back pain he had been fighting for a couple years became
disabling, so he turned to Medicaid. So few options were approved for his
treatment that he deteriorated, was put on morphine and switched to
methadone. When he returned here 3 years ago he was in pain, addicted to
methadone and had been unemployed for 5 years. We spent $2K from our own
pockets in the first few months to pursue effective treatment - something
Medicaid never did. Finally a single appointment with a physical therapist
got him the first accurate diagnosis and the first effective treatment he
had ever had: a pinched nerve in his middle back caused by the effects of
prednisone while he was growing. A couple chiropractor sessions and some
prescribed exercises worked the miracle he was hoping for. He has been
working in an eyeglass lab for two years now and has not yet missed a day of
work because of back pain. It took two years to wean from methadone, but he
has completely recovered now from the mess Medicaid made. God only knows how
much money the state of Washington wasted doing nothing good at all. Now he
is a taxpayer instead of a dependent of the state.
I know this whole subject is completely off-topic, but the hoax of public
health care hits too close to home for me.
No - the public health care system in Washington state (as mandated by
federal Medicaid regulations) did serious damage to my son. To think it
would be better when the orders come from the other side of the continent
defies credulity. In contrast, when I could choose what treatment he would
have because I was paying, the underlying problem was corrected quickly. Why
anybody would choose to throw away all control of their health care is
When I had to pay for his treatment myself I was poor. So I did what I had
to - I got a second job that I worked for 11 years and left my job that had
topped out at $10/hr for one that started at $14/hr and increased rapidly
with experience. The tradeoff is that I sell more hours of my life - I am on
call even when on vacation and worked until midnight one night when I was
supposed to be on bereavement leave following the death of my mother. It
hasn't been easy and there were no guarantees except for harder work and
more responsibilities. Such was my lot in life and I rose to the challenge,
and I am a better man for it.
I used to work with a man who is still a Swedish citizen. We were talking
about the health care system in Sweden, and he said it was adequate for most
people if you weren't in a hurry or misdiagnosed. It seems initial diagnoses
are carved in stone - if you have "an allergic reaction" and it is really
leukemia, you aren't likely to live long enough to get a second opinion. In
addition, emergency room waits for conditions that aren't getting worse -
like fractures - are often 12 hours or more.
Please don't get me wrong, Mike, because I don't question your son's
experience nor your friends comments. I have a Canadian friend who loves
their healthcare system. Individual experiences don't provide the overall
picture, however. Remember the old saying "analysis without synthesis
reduces all to the chaos of multiplicity"?
At the link below you will find the conclusion of a comprehensive and
uncontested study of health care in the U.S. as compared to the national
health care systems in every other modern nation. The U.S. stands with
South Africa as the only modern nations that don't have a system for
national health care. You will discover that we pay about twice what these
nations pay for better care.
My primary health care provider is the U.S. Veteran's Administration. I can
afford private care but the V.A. is so much better than private providers
I've used as to make the V.A. an easy choice. In fact, they ranked ahead of
private U.S. providers in a recent, well publicized study. I wasn't the
least bit surprised by the results of that study.
Maybe he meant postpone the purchase of the second car?
No sticking point. Follow my lead: I borrowed for my first new car,
paid it off as quickly as I could, then began saving for my next car
(what we have referred to as making car payments to oneself.) I kept
the first car until I had enough money to pay cash for its replacement;
in fact I had more than enough by the time I was ready to change cars,
so I was able to buy something a little better than I might otherwise
have gotten. The thing about this technique is that you don't need to
have started with your first car. You can start now.
As soon as the second one is bought for cash it gets easier because
/all/ of the "payments" go to savings and nothing is lost to interest.
If one is not wealthy this means keeping your cars longer than your
neighbours do. So what? Many of mine are a bit smug about getting a new
car every two-three years, but who's the smart one!? What they don't
realize is that I'm spending less on cars + interest than they are
/and/ I'm driving nicer cars -- cars that don't /need/ to be replaced
every two years. The most laughable of all is the guy who drives
nothing but Cadillacs. (No chance he'll see this!) He changes them like
I change socks. He'll drive his two-year-old Caddy down the street and
it'll be making all kinds of expensive noises. Pretty soon he's got a
new one and is proud of himself for being smart enough to drive a
Caddy. Doesn't understand what's happened to GM or why it has happened.
Nope, from another post he meant the first car, but turns out what he was
doing at that point in his life allowed for him to save & he didn't need a
car right then.
No, I meant it'd be a sticking point if one paid cash for *all* cars, incl.
the first one.
Ha! Right now I'm making extra payments on my mortgage's principal, plus
dumping as much as I can into my TDA, since retirement's on the horizon. I
*could* save even a little more, but am not willing to go back & live on the
super-strict budget I lived on for umpteen years in the past. As it is, I'm
going to up my TDA contributions even more next year, but as of now will be
making the same salary as this year & last (lack of overdue contract
settlement at this point).
I keep my cars approx. 6 years each.
Many of mine are a bit smug about getting a new
I've been driving Japanese cars since '76. Had a Plymouth Duster as my
first car & it had a great engine, but the body really rusted... By that
point the American car makers were paying no attention to the writing on the
wall, & I said forget it - I'm going to go for best quality for the least
outlay. Which led me away from American made cars...
No criticism. That wouldn't make sense for me, though. Recent cars:
1991 Toyota pickup: 13 years, still good, got bored, gave it to a
friend. Honda Accord: 10 years, donated to needy person. 1992 Mazda
Miata: 14 years/low mileage (still have it) and will give it to my
niece four years from now when she turns 16, providing her parents
approve. 2004 Nissan Titan: Two years, traded for Prius
I explained why I keep them for ~6 years in another post. 1) I can drive
them for 2 - 3 years loan-free, and 2) at 6 years they've hit the point
where I need to either sell them & get a decent price to put toward my the
down-payment of my next car, or else keep it & run it into the ground. It's
the point before the resale/trade-in price is going to really start to drop
Plus - I don't know where you live, but I'm in the NE, & body rust and its
upkeep tends to become a problem after that. The car may run well, but the
body starts to need constant attention.
either you are zero emisions or you arn't, the back up beep can be turned
off, I have an 06, the 07 will have an updated nav software package,
distronic parking, height adjustment for the front seats, 16 " wheels but no
one knows when, it's already in circulation in the eu, australia, etc.
it's more fun to drive than my A4 avant with sport package, get's twice the
mpg, has understeer, which means on a dirt road when you turn for a corner
the front end turns in, it's great, most cars have oversteer, you turn and
they don't, handels very well, has lots of pep and is going up in value
the 2006 already has an updated display and nav software, there'll be
the 2004-current Prius has always had 16" wheels outside of North
America, while the North American version has had 15" wheels. The
Prius outside of North America have always had 4 wheel disc brakes, but
that's never made it to the North American model either. Then again,
outside of North America they've never gotten our bladder fuel tank or
the CHHS from the current Prius (thermos for coolant)...
The only guess I could make is that perhaps the IPA (Integrated Parking
Assist) may eventually make it to North America. It was an option on
the 2004 Prius in Japan, and has just been made available as an option
on the 2006 Prius in Europe/UK...
Note that the Prius tends to hold its value much better than a
conventional car... (For a while used Prius were selling for more than
2005 was about the same as the 2004.
2006 had several changed since 2005. Besides what's below, some colors
were removed, and there is now some "hybrid" badges on the side of the
car. Quoting from a Toyota USA dealer memo dated Nov. 4, 2005:
The Prius receives updated front headlamps and rear taillamps, and a
new front spoiler. A chrome finish is applied to the front
grille�~@~Ys center bar, and freshened rear combination lamp is
added to enhance its appearance.
In addition, four new exterior colors update the color palette:
�~@� Classic Silver Metallic
�~@� Barcelona Red Metallic
�~@� Silver Pine Mica
�~@� Magnetic Gray (available May 2006)
On the inside, the instrument panel receives a new black organic
textured grain in place of the burgundy or brown colors available last
year. The rear seat bottom cushion has been lowered slightly for better
head clearance and enhanced riding comfort. Also new for 2006 are the
luxurious options of Leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel,
available in both Gray and Bisque, and a Rear Backup Camera to help the
driver see objects behind the vehicle when in reverse.
The standard audio system is AM/FM CD with 6 speakers. An optional
mid-grade audio also includes MP3/WMA playback capability and an
auxiliary audio input miniplug. The optional JBL audio features several
updates for 2006:
�~@� JBL AM/FM 6-disc CD changer with 9 speakers in 7
deck is no longer available)
�~@� MP3/WMA playback capability and an auxiliary audio input
the center console
�~@� Hands-free phone capability via Bluetooth wireless
The optional voice-activated DVD GPS (Global Positioning System)
Navigation system is the most sophisticated yet. It offers increased
map quality, over 32,000 colors, an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)
display, a route tracer function, voice recognition street address
search functions that allow you to enter a destination while driving,
and can now be set to operate in English, French, or Spanish languages.
In addition to standard ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution
(EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Traction Control (TRAC), several safety
features are now standard equipment:
�~@� A Tire Pressure Monitoring System directly measures the
pressure of each tire with a sensor and signals the driver in the event
of a drop in tire pressure
�~@� Standard Driver and Front Passenger Advanced Airbags
(SRS) now feature a passenger occupant classification sensor that
determines not only whether the seat is occupied, but also whether an
occupant meets the weight requirement for airbag deployment. The
passenger front airbags are deployed only when the sensor detects an
adult passenger in the front seat.
The complimentary roadside assistance program has been discontinued for
the 2006 Prius.
Toyota's not saying. (The last time they did that (announce the 2004
redesigned Prius in spring of 2003), people stopped buying the older
2003 Prius and just waited for the new one to come out... People who
bought 2003s were treated to bargain prices as they were sitting on
Prius in North America have auto-off headlights. Turn on your
headlights. as long as you shut your car off AND open the driver's
door, the headlights automatically go out. Start the car again and the
headlights come back on.
The US Federal hybrid vehicle income tax deduction is beginning to
phase out for purchases of hybrid Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles. Q1-Q3
2006 sales (through Sept. 30, 2006) get $3150, Q4 2006 and Q1 2007 get
$15.75, Q2-Q3 2007 get $787.50, and sales from Oct. 1, 2007 (start of
Q4 2007) get $0 credit.
The Prius has been in monthly allotments since late 2002. That doesn't
mean that there dealer trades haven't been done, even with the long
wait times - you just need to find a dealer (or more specifically a
salesperson) that is willing to do the work to get you the car that you
want. (My dealer would trade with another dealership based on the
allotment off of the boat, before it was loaded onto the truck.)
Depending on your flexibility and the color/option package that you
want, and the dealer you choose, you could walk off the lot with a car,
or you could be waiting a few months.
Check the archives for the monthly sales figures. Prius sales are
still down compared to last year, since production is down thanks to
parts being diverted for the hybrid Camry production (and not because
of waning interest!). Prius is now being built in 2 plants in Japan.
Well, I haven't heard as many people complaining about the "market
availability" premium/markup of $1000 - $5000 that some dealers were
putting on the Prius because it's in such demand. I do still hear of
dealers forcing accessory packages and dealer profit items (like
"fabric treatment/paint protection" or "upgraded wheels") onto buyers.
There's little wiggle room down from MSRP.
Currently in the US the Prius comes with:
Goodyear Integrity (Standard Load)
44psi max. cold pressure
My husband thought that they were fine for their first MA winter, but
the 2nd winter was brutal. 3rd winter we switched to Nokian A.W.P.2 WR
tires (the only all-season tire that is also rated as a snow tire
(snowflake on mountain symbol on it)). We'll be switching to them
full-time shortly, as the Integritys are about worn.
Some people hate the Integrity model so badly that they don't leave the
dealership without new tires put on it...
The reverse beeper is only heard on the INSIDE. Even with windows
open, you pretty much have to be right at the car window to hear it.
It is there to remind the driver that you are in reverse (gear shift
joystick returns to a central position), along with the blinking box
around the "R" on the PRNDB display. Yes, it'd be far too noisy, and
ineffective (small children may go towards the beep, animals and
objects and often most inattentive people will just ignore it), if the
beep was on the outside. On North American Prius there is a procedure
that you can do to disable the reverse beep if you don't like it.
Outside of North America the procedure doesn't work (a wire to cut has
been identified to get rid of the beep, but no one has been daring
enough to try it).
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