No more car payments

Just over 2 years ago, Mrs FmC and I found ourselves in the local Jeep dealership one Sunday morning. We were considering replacing our ageing Ford Focus (which we had suffered a long-running issue with – perhaps that is what made us lose interest in it, looking back), and wanted to look at the new Jeep Renegade.

I am not one for visiting car showrooms on a regular basis, but have to admit that once over the threshold, the lure of shiny new vehicles is very tempting!

Immediately we were drawn to a carbon black model sitting at the front of the showroom, with a giant cardboard cut-out of Batman & Superman standing next to it. On closer inspection we discovered it was a Dawn of Justice special edition – based on the film of the same name. It looked gorgeous! Blacked out windows, black alloy wheels, custom upholstery and a Batman v Superman badge on the back! My inner child presented itself immediately 🙂

What’s more the price seemed reasonable for such a cool looking car – around £20K. There was apparently only 500 made for the UK market – 250 with diesel engines and 250 with petrol.

Mrs FmC loved the Batmobile too (always dangerous when you assign a fond name to something you don’t yet own!) and was encouraging me to buy it.

So, before you could sing “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Batman!” we were sat in front of a salesman discussing a deal and various PCP intricacies.

To keep things brief (because this is not actually the point of the post, would you believe) we bought the car. We managed to get an excellent deal: a dealer contribution of £2,250, a trade-in against our Focus of £3,000, 0% interest free credit on a 2 year PCP contract, a free boot shelf, a set of premium Jeep car mats and the cardboard Batman & Superman cardboard cut-out1 to boot! All for a monthly payment of £169. Result!

We enjoyed the car very much over the first few months. It was our first experience of owning a brand new car. We felt proud. We enjoyed the more commanding seat position compared to the old hatchback. The speaker system was better. It had built-in TomTom sat-nav. People would notice it was the ‘car from the Batman v Superman film’. But the novelty soon wore off.

As the months passed, I hadn’t realised the effect of not actually owning the car would have on us. We were more cautious where we parked it. Due to the low annual mileage we had been ‘recommended’ to agree by the salesman, we started to worry about how much we would have to pay if (when!) we exceeded it. We didn’t even seem to wash it as much as I would have expected. As it wasn’t ours, it seemed we didn’t have as much pride in it.

Towards the end of 2017 we knew our time with Batty (as it was then named) was coming to an end. Jeep had been in touch by then too. We definitely didn’t want to buy it outright. And unlike the day we first stood in the showroom and signed on the dotted line, we had changed our mind about trading it in for another new model (which is why we only signed up for a 2 year agreement – it seemed like a great idea at the time to have a new car every 2 years).

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The end of the tax year

It’s the last day of the 2017/18 tax year and I’ve achieved my goal. Hoorah! 🙂

I’ve managed to squirrel away £20K in both Mrs FmC and my own ISA accounts.

Due to some cashflow problems (i.e. peer-to-peer loans that didn’t get paid back on time!) I even had to borrow £9K from my parents. I wasn’t happy doing this (and neither was Mrs FmC, for fears of strings being attached) – but needs must. I’ve promised I will pay it back within 3 months (and I am a man of my word!).

I am going to have to tread very carefully over the next few weeks, as I have hardly any cash on hand whatsoever. So I will be deferring as much to next month’s credit card bill as I can. Thank goodness I get paid fortnightly, that’s all I can say! 😉

My plan is to try and contribute the full annual allowance into both ISAs each of the next 4-5 years, until I reach FI. They will then serve as a buffer between when I quit my job and when my main SIPP becomes accessible, 5 years later.

How have you got on making use of your tax free allowances?