Grateful Dad #23: Getting Our First Family Car

May 04, 2022

We recently bought our first family car and we couldn't be happier with our decision.

We finally got our very first family car a little more than a month ago. It took us close to five years of planning, saving, and realigning priorities before we ultimately had the courage to go for it. In the end, we were really happy with our decision to get a car.

Grateful for our first family car

Grateful Dad #23: Getting Our First Family Car

Looking back, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that somehow encouraged us to buy a car. While health and safety protocols are already in place, we are still not yet comfortable taking public transportation especially if there is the need to take the kids with us, such as during their regular checkups.

We also enrolled Miguel in a face-to-face program earlier this year. I always book GrabCar to and from his school; it’s the safest option since we can request drivers who are already fully vaccinated for a small additional fee. But still, GrabCar is public transportation so we can’t help but worry a little whenever we take it.

Another strong enough reason for us to buy a car is that we wanted to take our kids out to large open spaces such as parks where they can freely run and play. We also reckoned that having our own car will afford us the freedom to go to our dream family adventures like taking the kids to the beach whenever we felt like it. As a matter of fact, we already went to Pico de Loro last April and it was one of our best family getaways since the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

How we chose our first family car

Some of the things that you have to consider when getting your first family car are your budget, the type of transmission that you are comfortable with, and the size of your family. I think this is already a good guide in helping you decide on what to get.

The interiors of our first family car, a second-hand 2020 Toyota Innova 2.8E

For us, we bought a second-hand 2020 Toyota Innova model. We can only afford a second-hand vehicle and we decided to pay for it in cash because that would free us from any financial commitment.

It’s also manual transmission and diesel-powered. What’s more, this model is large enough for our family. If you have little kids, you know that their things take up a majority of space anywhere, whether in the house or in vehicles.

I’m used to driving manual transmission cars and diesel was previously more affordable than gasoline (I just hope fuel prices normalize soon). While I do know how to drive since I was 23 or 24 years old, I had to get accustomed to driving again because I never really owned a car. I don’t know how to drive through Metro Manila traffic and my knowledge of routes is limited to Commonwealth Avenue, EDSA, and Ayala Avenue.

As such, I just drove around the highway outside our subdivision, took the kids out for a quick ride, and asked a relative to accompany me to Makati to pick up Mommy Khris after work. After a week or two of doing that, I was able to build my confidence in driving again.

Some important takeaways

While I do admit that I’m proud of this achievement that’s why I thought of sharing it, I thought there are also some key takeaways that I can share regarding this experience. Here they are:

Having a car can be considered a practical investment. However, you should keep in mind that maintaining one will cost you money. You have to get insurance, buy fuel, you have to have the damages fixed so that it wouldn’t get worse, pay for toll, and so forth. As such, you should really ask yourself if having a car is what you need.

In my previous companies, I never took advantage of the car plan offered to me for the very reasons I listed above. Before starting my own family, I was living on my own and I only had myself to take care of. During that time, taking public transportation was the most practical option for me.

You don’t need to decide if you are not yet ready to maintain a car. If you are seeing your friends getting a car, you don’t have to be pressured to get one, too. Relating it to my own experience, I am already 40 years old when I finally had my own car. Well, it’s not even mine alone because it’s our family car.

What I’m just pointing out is that buying a car is not a raise; it’s not even a financial investment like buying a property or putting your funds in a financial instrument.

Speaking of payments, I would also suggest that you pay in cash, especially during this pandemic. Getting a loan and having to pay monthly amortizations can take its toll on your finances so be very careful when borrowing money.

In terms of driving, always be defensive and settle on the safe side when you are on the road. I believe that’s a lot wiser instead of being a speedster.

If you can, choose to be a gentleman and let others get ahead of you so long as it’s not causing you any harm.

How about you, what are your thoughts on buying a vehicle? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

For the last three editions of Grateful Dad, you may read the following posts:

For all the past entries, please click here.
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