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Dafuq Is a Down Payment? And Why Do You Need One to Buy Stuff?

Dafuq Is a Down Payment? And Why Do You Need One to Buy Stuff?

“What is a down payment?” In an ideal world, no one would need to ask themselves this question because no one would need one! Expensive things like cars and houses and college educations would be a lot more affordable. Enough so that we could pay for them with the money that we already have. And we’d all have mountains of it.

But unless you have a Scrooge McDuckian money vault at your disposal, buying a car or house or bachelor’s degree in cash is probably impossible. Down payments are necessary because of how our world works. Today we’re going to teach you what they are, when you need them, and how to use them to your advantage.

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Season 2 Episode 10: "Which is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?"

Season 2, Episode 10: “Which Is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?”

The financial lessons we received from our parents are problematic for many reasons.

For one thing, they’re often out of date, as the economic atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s is a far cry from what we’ve experienced in a post-2008 world. We’re long past the quaint advice to pay for college by “getting a summer job” and to start a career by “walking into a business and asking for a job in the mailroom.” Heckin precious.

But there’s also the way an assumption of background knowledge can lead to further confusion. For if you don’t understand basic financial principles, the sweet knowledge nuggets your beloved Boomer dad drops on you might go down like lead balloons. Just as you can’t understand where Beyoncé came from without Destiny’s Child, you can’t talk about getting loans until you understand how interest works!

This week we’re dealing with just this issue. Petey is one of my oldest and strangest friends. I made him walk down the aisle with Kitty at my wedding in the hopes that those two weirdos would have a vulgar joke-off (alas, they conducted themselves with the decorum expected of a bridesmaid and a groomsman and saved the nasty shit for the dance floor).

Petey has his head all in a tizzy over his dad’s vague and incomplete financial advice. So we decided to set the poor boy straight!

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Gird your loins. Don your resting bitch face.

Buying a Car with the Bitches, Part 2: How to Pay for Your Car

Previously, on “Buying a Car with the Bitches”: Part 1.

Before we discuss any part of the car buying process, there is one very important thing you need to remember:

You are a dragon and you breathe fire.

Do not let sellers push you around. Do not let them talk you into anything. Do not feel sorry for them. And do not forgive or excuse them for anything.

If they want your extremely valuable business, they are going to have to earn it by respecting you, your money, and your time. They are going to have to prove themselves with straightforward answers and solid customer service.

Don’t be nice. You can’t afford to be nice. Make those fuckers werk.

While this is good advice for any financial negotiation, it’s especially important for buying a car because the entire car buying industry seems to be predicated on a philosophy of shady sales tactics and manipulation.

And you have too much money at stake to put up with that shit.

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Buying a Car with the Bitches, Part 1: How to Choose Your Car

When I got my first big-kid job, I took most of my savings from over four years of nannying and bought a used car with cash. Seven years of hard commuting later and that car was a thirteen-year-old dinosaur with over 300,000 miles on it begging to be put out of its misery.

When I refused to let the poor thing die with dignity (because I definitely didn’t plan to buy a new car while in the middle of Operation Student Loan Decimation), it made the decision for me and offed itself.

I didn’t have enough cash saved up to buy a new car without a loan because I’d been spending every last shining penny on my student loans at the time. This process had drained all but a minimal emergency fund dry, so buying a new car with cash was out of the question.

And making my forty-mile round trip commute by bus was actually more expensive than driving: four hours and $10 a day, to be exact.

So I needed to buy a new car. Here’s what I learned from the process.

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