Purchasing a Car #1: Do You Really Need One?

July 11, 2022

Purchasing a car is a major investment. It's unlike buying the most expensive gadget, like a phone or laptop -- your expenses do not end in placing your payment for the retail price, it's a continuous outflow of cash as you budget for the insurance, maintenance, gas, and accessories for your new car.

Owning a car is a luxury. You pay a hefty price in exchange for the convenience of going around places. I never thought I would actually get to own a car. I have been a hard-core commuter all my life. I'm used to commuting from the south to QC during my college days, transferring to at least 5 vehicles one-way. I've done a shoulder-to-shoulder commute on the bus and on the MRT. I have experienced going to Divisoria with my mom to buy stuff for our sari-sari store, going home carrying 3 large bags each, asking fellow commuters to assist us when riding the jeepney on our way home. And if we can't really ride the jeepney, we'd pay the tricycle special fare to drop us to our house from the wet market.

Pre-pandemic, my daily commute to the office heavily relied on the UV express shuttle vans. My office is 12 kilometers away from home. Thankfully, there's the Skyway so my commute time is usually around 30 minutes. It's really more convenient and less expensive to just ride the UV express. That's why even though my colleagues would introduce me to the idea of getting a car, I didn't budge, because I knew better.

Well, everything changed when the pandemic happened.

Suddenly, there weren't shuttles operating anymore. Even jeepneys were banned. Luckily, my sister had a car so that was what we used to get our essentials. Also, I would feel uncomfortable to have my senior parents commute. Because of these factors and my experiences during the pandemic, I slowly realized the essence of having a car.

I really had to think about this decision, so I wrote down the benefits and disadvantages of owning a car.

What are the pros and cons of owning a car?

- It will be more convenient (and safer!) to go around the city for errands (i.e. buy groceries, medicines)
- It will be easier to visit my siblings and also go to the province 
- I will improve my driving skills (I have learned to drive ages ago btw lol but I only drive sporadically, so I'm still not that confident doing long drives)
- I will learn more about the world of cars (and become more familiar with it)
- I will be able to explore new places!
- I will be able to bring my parents to places for necessity or for leisure

- Large expenses (πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ), which I might not be able to afford
- Change in lifestyle, to accommodate the additional expenses

Most of the cons that I have listed, I realized later on, are rooted from the fear of the unknown. To deal with that fear, I understood that I needed to do a lot of research and planning. 

There are a ton of sites that specifically discuss these topics (especially those things to consider before buying a car) so it really helps to search and get more information online.

My Car-buying Criteria
There are thousands of choices for car-buying and it is overwhelming to go through all the options, most especially if you are a first-time car owner. But if you know beforehand what your minimum requirements are, then the process of choosing a car would become way easier.

The ultimate question that I needed to answer first and foremost: 


This was a question that Dad and I debated for sometime. He preferred a brand new car, while I wanted a second-hand car. My biggest reason was the price, while his reason was the peace of mind a new car brings. So again, I had to list down the pros and cons of each.

Brand New Car
- peace of mind that the car doesn't have issues because it is brand new
- peace of mind that the legal papers are accurate

- expensive

Second Hand Car
- cheap

- possibility of having car issues that need to be repaired (which means additional expenses πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ)
- more paperwork in terms of processing legal papers (ownership, deed of sale, etc)

Used Car vs New Car
(+ more car-buying tips on

Through the list above, I realized that getting a new car is the better option.

With that in mind, I further filtered my options by considering these other criteria:

  1. Budget
    With just this criteria, your options would extremely be trimmed down. Don't just look at the suggested retail price (SRP) of the unit. Have a budget range that is still flexible because you will still need some leg room for other car expenses like the car insurance. Based on my budget plan (thanks to YNAB by the way!), I got to determine the budget range that I can afford to buy a car.
  2. Type of Car
    It was clear as day that I didn't want a sedan. I want my car to be midrange in size. My dream car is actually a Ford Ecosport. But it was beyond my budget range so I knew this cannot be in my options. I also didn't need a 7-seater because I would mostly just use it for going to the office or around the city (sometimes province) with my parents. If my siblings would come along, well they can just use their own cars. 😁
  3. Features
    I want an automatic transmission car (mostly for the convenience of my knees πŸ˜‰) I want my car also to have high ground clearance (because that was the cons of a sedan, from what I have learned from using my sister's car). Also, I want a wide trunk space so that my parents can conveniently load their groceries and wet market essentials or other stuff from the province when we visit.

Now that I have locked in my decision to buy a car, my next step is to do my research on the car options that I have based on the criteria that I have set. It was a grueling process but I'm excited to share all my learnings with you. Stay tuned!πŸš—πŸ’“

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