lexus rx-350 grill

Ever wondered what type of cars us financial bloggers drive? If so, you’re in for a treat today 🙂

My man MP from just collected data from over 20 different bloggers on what they’re riding these days, and why, and was kind enough to let us debut it on Rockstar Finance yesterday. Check it out when you get a chance!

The Cars of Personal Finance Bloggers

Some of the bloggers featured are Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist, Brandon from Mad Fientist, Justin from Root of Good, Jesse from YNAB (his car was my favorite surprise, especially considering he founded a budgeting company! ;)), the Financial Samurai, Mr 1500 Days, Paula from Afford Anything, The Frugalwoods, Physician on Fire, and Jason Fieber from Free At 33 – formerly Dividend Mantra.

You may be surprised what frugal people rock 😉

And if you haven’t been reading this blog for more than 9 months, you may be surprised what I drive too. In a nutshell, I went from this:

frankencaddy(1993 “Frankencaddy” – 90,000 miles, fully paid off, side hustle king!)

To this:

lexus rx350[2008 Lexus RX-350, 80,000 miles, car loan]

All in a span of a couple of weeks and totally unplanned, haha… I wrote about the whole thing in depth here (Bye Bye Frankencaddy, Hello Car Payments!), but the short version is that I needed a bigger, more reliable, car as I was taking over responsibility of driving my little nuggets around every day, and out of all the cars we looked at this was the only one that *excited me* enough to want to spend any money. I don’t really care about labels or how fancy/expensive things are, but stuff I consume DOES need to make me happy. And as long as I can afford it, it’s fair game.

The beauty of personal finance, eh?

Anyways, it came down to picking up a used minivan or a used luxury car (both around the same price, interestingly enough) and, well, for once I splurged and picked up the fancier one. I did wish I had more time to search for a cheaper and privately owned model vs snatching it from Carmax, but outside of that I’ve surprisingly had little regrets. In fact, I’m actually MORE in love with it than the day I took it home!

It’s been about 9 months now since owning it, so today I thought I’d share my thoughts so far. While hopefully not losing any more of you in the process 🙂

(The day I blogged about this purchase broke the record for the most unsubscribes ever here! HAH!)

We’ll start with the items that shocked me the most…

#1. A luxury car feels damn good to be in!

I know everyone (including myself) likes to say “a car is just a car and it gets me from point a to point b”, but the truth of the matter is that some just feel nicer to be in! You may not need or want a luxurious ride, but they’re definitely not all made the same. And never again will I assume people are buying them simply for “status.” I know many are, but there’s something to be said about the quality too. I’m just hoping I haven’t screwed myself from ever owning a hoopty again, haha…

#2. I’ve got more swagger than usual.

I don’t know if this will shock you as much as it did me, but I actually feel more confident riding around in this thing. I don’t know why that is, and I know I probably shouldn’t, but in all honesty I do. I just feel GOOD driving it around town, and even more so when I step into it for the first time of the day! Now granted, I also felt pretty pimp’ish rolling out in my Caddy too, but there’s a nuanced difference in the type of swaggership going on here, haha… How do you put a cost on that when factoring stuff in? 😉

#3. My charitable giving has skyrocketed

Tell me the truth: if you see a fancy car rolling up to a street corner and a homeless man is there asking for money and the driver turns a blind eye, what’s the first thought that goes through your mind? Be honest! Mine? “What an a-hole!” “You can afford that car but can’t afford to dish out a few dollars? Come on now….”  Haha… Now what if this same car that rolled up was a beater? 😉

Obviously there are a TON of factors as to why someone does or doesn’t give out money, and I’m clearly in no position to judge, but for me personally, I just find it MUCH harder to *not* give when I’m sitting in a car that’s not at all a necessity. And if I had to guess, I’d say my charitable giving has at least tripled since buying this car. Whether on the street corners or in life in general. Who would have guessed that??

In fact, this same period of ownership has also seen me finally get our philanthropy project up and running too after all these years!! Which has already helped give out over $5,000! Now perhaps it’s purely coincidental, but then again who knows… All I do know is that I’ve become much more charitable since picking up this ride and it’s nice.

#4. Expensive $hit still breaks 🙂

Going down to the not-so-shocking list, no matter what car you drive – old, new, expensive, cheap, fancy, boring – all cars require maintenance. Now some are more quality made and will last longer than others, but at the end of the day no car stays alive without some good ol’ TLC.  And not surprisingly, TLC costs a lot more on luxury cars vs standard ones.

I’ve already had to do oil changes, regular scheduled maintenance, and lately all new tires due to some bare threads I knew about when first picking it up, as well as a nice tire popping when some asshat left razor blades in the middle of the road, ugh. All things that come with the territory of car ownership, but all things that cost more typically with a luxury car than not. This area I don’t like so much 😉

(Also – as VIP as they treat you at the Lexus dealerships, and they def. treat you well!, it’s definitely not worth the mark up as I found trying to experience it for the first time… yikes)

#5. Expensive $hit has too many fancy buttons!

If I gave you a dollar for how many times my dang tire pressure light comes on, you’d have $15 already. I’m all for smart technology and keeping me in the loop, but my goodness does it seem a bit too much at times. Anytime the temperature changes drastically that tire gauge goes bananas over here… It even goes off when my *spare* tire needs air! Haha…

I miss the days where I just chalked it up to the car “being old” and carrying about my business 😉 Though that’s probably not the smartest route to take either, and leads us to the next thought…

#6. I’m taking MUCH better care of this car than any others.

I’ve only owned one newish car before – a new-to-me Toyota Highlander back in the day, with chrome rims and all! – but even then I only did the bare minimum and was stressed any dang time new car repairs needed to be done. Which actually tells you something good right there – if you can’t afford the repairs, you can’t afford the car!!

But in this more-mature phase of mine, over 8 years since owning that car, I’m quick to act like an adult now and actually face the music anytime something needs attention. I still cringe every time and don’t enjoy it, but these days the precious cargo I drive around are much more important than the cash. So I suck it up and get stuff taken care of in a more timely manner. I’ve also since learned that I require a mechanic who I can ask a billion and one dumb questions to and not get laughed at! 😉 I hate not knowing if I’m getting ripped off or not!

#7. Lots of you reading this right now also have a Lexus RX 🙂

The last thing I’ve learned was that, despite oodles of people hating me for this and leaving my site,  many others shared that they HAVE THE EXACT SAME CAR!! Which is fantastic! And I appreciate all of you who reached out to tell me so during the apocalypse too. (Though more of you emailed me on the side vs publicly stating it ;))

I started a tally so I could share the total numbers, but it seems I lost it all and could only find one of the messages I saved which coincidentally also came from a $$ blogger! Per Grant from Millennial Money:

“I have a 2007 and I love it. Best car ever. I bought mine off someones lease and it only has 61,200 miles on it. I live in the city and only drive like 1,200 miles a year, so I plan on driving it for at least the next 20+ years! One of my life goals is to never get rid of that car”

BOOM! So frugal or not, it always feels good knowing you’re not alone, haha…

And that’s where we stand at least now with the Lexus experience 🙂 Will I regret it later and come back singing a different tune? Perhaps. But so far so good, and I look forward to seeing how many miles I can rack up on this thing before it runs into the ground…

I’m going for 218,000 so I can bet out the attendees of Camp Mustache! (Nice find, Gwen!)

camp mustache cars

What car you rollin’ in these days?

PS: Here’s that list of bloggers’ cars again if I haven’t scared you away yet: What 21 financial bloggers drive. They’re def. more in line with what you could expect, haha…