Investing in your dream car is an investment in fun. You don’t need it to get around town, but once you own it you will find ways to get out on the road with this dream vehicle. You’ll need to put in some work to make room in your budget and your life for this new vehicle, and the search may require you to look across the country for the perfect buy.
Get Your Savings Started
Your dream car, especially if you want bells and whistles, will probably cost more than what you can borrow or what’s listed in the NADA Blue Book. While that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming, it should help you focus on savings.
Your savings for your dream car can come from several different funding sources. You might pick up a side hustle on the weekends to boost your cash intake. You might invite in a roommate if your living space is big enough. You could consider moving to a smaller space to lower your housing costs if life with a roommate doesn’t appeal.
As you save for that dream car, don’t forget about emergencies. Make sure to keep a paycheck’s worth of funds in your checking account that will cover at least one month of rent, groceries, utilities, and gas or transportation. Then set up a separate savings account in an online bank where you can stash cash for your dream car. Make that online account easy to load and challenging to get money out of so you have time to reconsider any withdrawals.
Keep Your Credit Rating in Good Shape
It may be difficult to convince a lender to give you a second car loan if your income doesn’t justify it, or if your dream car will cost far above the current valuation. In these cases, it’s a good idea to have your current daily driver paid off.
Paying down debts regularly is an excellent way to keep your credit rating in good shape. If you owe a lot on your current car, or if you have a lot of debt in general, it may be time to do a no-spend or a money diet. You can also ground yourself in the financial sense. Rank your debts by total owed, interest rate, and payment size. Pay them down in the order that makes sense for you while you cut back on extra spending to free up borrowing power while you hunt for that dream car.
Connect With Other Enthusiasts
Check out social media for information on these vehicles around the country. Keep an eye on the desert southwest in particular; older cars tend to have a longer shelf life away from moisture, snow, and road salt.
Other enthusiasts can teach you
- how to care for or touch up the paint job
- where to find replacement parts
- options for carpet and upholstery repair
You may also be able to join local car fans and find a mentor who can teach you about maintenance.
Learn Maintenance Skills
Depending on the vintage of your collectible car, you may be able to learn to change your own oil, check all the fluids, care for the tires and handle the weekly wash and wax. Look for classes and check out videos online to build skills that will serve you when your car arrives.
Now is also the time to start collecting tools. If you know that you will need a metric ratchet set, start shopping. You may be able to find one used by a car aficionado or a tinkerer who is downsizing and retiring. Look for moving sales to help you increase your tool selection without breaking your budget. Make sure you also keep an eye out for tool storage, especially if you live in a cold climate. Moisture and condensation will ruin your tools as they will damage your dream car.
Build a Nationwide Search
As you keep an eye out for car shows, build a mental Rolodex of mechanics who have skills in caring for your dream car. Visit car shows on your vacations and get to know folks. When your dream car comes available, you will want to be able to cover the cost required to ship the car across the country as well as a down payment to take ownership of your dream car.
Once you find your dream car, you will need to be able to act quickly. This is why having savings and a strong credit rating are so key to locating and buying the car of your dreams.
Consider Trading Up
You may also be able to find a car that is close to what you want. For example, as you check out car shows, you may find a very popular model that is the dream of a lot of other car aficionados. Keep an eye out for this vehicle locally. If you can get a good deal on this car, you may be able to buy, hold, maintain and learn about this vehicle before selling it to fund your dream car.
Trading up works in many different scenarios. Buying a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house may not be your dream home, but it will bring you closer to a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Someone else’s dream car at a good price may bring in the profit you need to buy your dream vehicle.
Your dream is your dream and you deserve to enjoy it. Once you have the cash in the bank, your search will intensify. Be ready to go where you need to for a test drive. Set a schedule for searching and pay careful attention to color and trim.
Once you find it, enjoy it. Plan trips around your dream drives. If you’ve always dreamed of putting the top down and flying down Route 66, get your dream in for a checkup with a great local mechanic so you’re confident and ready to roll. Have fun!