Yeah, yeah, I know. I usually come across as a cheapskate skinflint curmudgeon when it comes to buying anything. Here’s the thing, though. It’s not about never spending money or being cheap all the time. It’s about being intentional about the money I do spend.
Before I buy a thing, or even begin saving for it, I always ask myself why do I want this thing? In this case, I want a Jeep Wrangler because it will give me access to a couple of life experiences I want: top-down cruising in the cooler months, and off-road camping/hiking opportunities. The 4WD feature will also be useful for winter trips to northern Arizona, which my wife and I enjoy a great deal.
I don’t love Jeeps, and I certainly have no love of Chrysler products. All three Chrysler products I’ve owned have had major problems, from electrical systems to rear axles. But the Wrangler is basically the only “convertible” 4WD out there with reasonable price and availability on the used market. Since my future Jeep will basically be an adult toy, the anticipated repair downtime and cost is acceptable. I’m not going to miss work if it doesn’t start one day. At worst, I just won’t be able to go camping that weekend.
But what I’m buying with a Jeep is the experiences I listed above, not a particular hunk of rolling metal and plastic and rubber. I don’t care about the thing itself, only the experiences it can help give me.
Obviously I’m not going to buy a brand-new Wrangler, and I’ll take my time saving (I won’t start looking in earnest until late summer) and finding a good bargain. I’ll be looking for a used Jeep, and my budget is not more than $7000. Yes, this will confine me to an older Wrangler, probably made in the late 1990s or very early 2000s. That’s fine with me, since I certainly don’t need the latest and greatest technology for a vehicle that will see occasional recreational use. And obviously I’ll pay for it with cash – or not buy it at all.
I am a deplorable consumer.