OK, so you don't want to buy a new car now. But you have to. Maybe the old heap finally died. Or maybe a tree fell on it. Rather than fight reality, why not look at this as a golden opportunity?
Opportunity? For what? To get taken to the cleaners by opportunistic salespeople?
No. This is a good chance to prove one of the oft-quoted verses in the good book, "Seek and ye shall find." Don't worry. I'm not going to start preaching. But I have noticed that there is a mysterious, and sometimes wonderful, aspect to the shopping process. And that even applies to the seemingly mundane task of car shopping.
I had a friend in high school who had a supernatural ability to find things. We were walking along a trail in the woods one day when he dropped to his knees and began digging with his bare hands. He came up with a wallet someone had buried. His collection of found articles was astounding.
I emulated my friend and soon things came mysteriously into my life. We're not talking hundred dollar bills here. Everyone would like a hundred bucks. We're talking about something far more specific — and wonderful.
For example, I once decided I wanted one of those wool caps that British sports car drivers are known to wear. It was one of those affectations you go through when you're young, like smoking cigars. I thought I'd look good in one of those caps. The next day, one blew down the street toward me and wound up at my feet. My size, too. I still have it today.
Later, I was given an old Peugeot 403, and I was crazy enough to get it running and begin driving it. Do you think it's easy to find parts for an old Peugeot? Non! Parts were virtually nonexistent on this side of the Atlantic. But one day, I found an entire Peugeot engine in the town dump. Just lying there like it was waiting for me. I took the whole thing home and cannibalized its parts for years.
So what does this have to do with car shopping? I'm finally getting to that part. But first, back to that "seek and ye shall find" concept.
There's a Zen expression that goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." This means, when you open your mind to change, you'll find a way to learn and grow. I might adapt this expression to car buying: "When your old junker finally craps out on you, you'll find a pretty good used car to replace it."