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A reader's husband wants a new car. She wants a used car. Who should win this argument?

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Question: We need a new car. Our 1999 Camry finally perished in the parking lot at the grocery store. My husband wants to buy a new car from a dealer in town because he says he got a great deal on a loan. I want to buy a used car and not add to our debt, which is more than $5,000 on our credit cards; and that doesn’t include our mortgage.

What can I tell my husband to convince him to stay away from shiny new objects?

— Pat in Rhode Island

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

You want me to persuade a guy to not like hot new cars? To paraphrase from Star Trek, I’m a CPA, not a miracle worker.

However, I can give you concrete proof that a car loan is seldom as sweet as the car dealer tells you it is. Obviously, the dealer is thinking about himself more than he’s thinking of you. As I wrote in my second book, Power Up…

If a loan sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Understand one thing, though; The purchase price the salesperson gives you will not be the total price you pay in the end. The annual percentage rate (APR) and other fees will balloon the price over the period that you have decided to take the loan.

Even a four-year loan can add thousands of dollars in interest to the original sticker price of the vehicle.

Now, if you have excellent credit and a steady income, there’s no reason you can’t negotiate a low APR on a modest loan and enjoy that new-car smell. However, many personal finance experts drive cars they paid for in cash. That’s why our first tip is to “buy used.”

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Even Stacy Johnson, the founder of Money Talks News and a partner with, has written an articled called Why I Don’t Buy New Cars. Even though he owns a boat, he’s never bought a new car in his life. Why? As he says, “Paying interest to finance a depreciating asset is not how you get rich.”

If that’s not enough evidence to sway your husband, Pat, sit down with him and review those credit card bills. Until you pay those off, adding new debt isn’t healthy. Check out our section called Does Consolidating Debt Help Your Credit Score? If your husband still has doubts, you can both call our certified credit counselors at 1-800-810-0989 for a free debt analysis. While an auto dealer can put you in a new car today, we can put you on the path of financial freedom forever.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched I’m glad you’re here.

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