OK, we have all done it. We see a new vehicle in a commercial, and we must have it! A couple of years later another one comes out and suddenly that one we had to have is no longer good enough. It is old news and we NEED a new one. Actually we don't need one, we just want one: big difference.
What we need to do is reconsider the way we look at our cars, trucks and SUVs. Perhaps we should see them as what they are: ASSETS. An asset is defined as property that has monetary value. A quick visit to the local dealership will remind you how much they value vehicles. A car or truck is most likely the second largest asset you have.
Now let's say that your car is just paid off, out of warranty and your repair bills are going up slightly. Take advantage of this magic time! This period lasts for several years between the final payoff and the day the repair bills become too weighty. Regular maintenance will extend this period and keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket that would normally be going to the bank for monthly payments. Put this money away for future repairs or a down payment on your next car. When the repairs are regularly becoming more than you would be spending on that hot new model, by all means trade it in!
Parents of teenage drivers would be smart to teach this principal early. You should also stress the importance of regular maintenance to hold the value of their largest asset. Young drivers are dying to have the hot new car of the moment as well. Sit down with a calculator and show them how much those payments can add up to, even short term, and see if it would be better spent another way.