Driving Me Crazy

Navigating the post pandemic world of automobiles.

I drive a lot.  Granted, I live in California where car culture is king.  But it seems I drive more than most.  Part of being a personalized party planner is that I "bring the party to you".  Meaning I come to your house or event space - often in a van filled to the brim with supplies and decor.  Since the inception of my business I have driven everything from hatchbacks, to a pickup truck, small van, full size van, on up to 16 and 25 foot box trucks.  With the exception of the large box trucks, I have owned all of these vehicles.

I recently relocated my office and find myself a further distance away from a good deal of my work.  I also recently had to say goodbye to my beloved "Bitty", a Ford hatchback that served me valiantly for 15+ years.  It seemed I might need to think about purchasing a vehicle.  If you have been following me you know a byproduct of the pandemic for my business is that I no longer have a large staff.  I still have wonderful assistants but my management team is, well, not a team.  It's me.  If there is a business decision to be made I am the one making it.

Do I need a new car?  Is it crazy to buy one after all that I have heard about post-pandemic shortages?  How much is it going to cost?  Do I make payments?  Ugh....

Having recently discovered online calculators for other aspects of my business and personal finances, I decided to look around and see if there was one that might help me make my next four-wheeled decision.  Of course there is.  In fact, there is an entire site dedicated to answering all of your questions about affording, buying, leasing, and driving you next car. 

It is called carpaymentcalculator.net.

Don't let the name fool you.  This is much more than a calculator for determining monthly payments.  Of course it does that.  It very simply and cleanly calculates what your payments would be for a given price, term, interest rate, etc.  What is really cool though is when you have completed your calculation it creates a link that enables you to save your info.  This way you can create tabs and compare your numbers, rather than having to remember all the variables:

While knowing what your car payment will be and/or how much car you can afford is vital, I was really looking more at the big picture.  What are my costs going to be? How much more do I need to add to my invoices to cover my automobile expenses?  Any vehicle I own was going to be used primarily for business so I really needed to get a sense of what it cost every time I turned the key (or pushed the button - somebody told me new cars don't have keys anymore!)

This is where I found this site to be hugely helpful.  There is an entire Operating Costs menu comprised of 8 different calculators which help you determine overall costs such as gas and mpg.

What ultimately hooked me and lead me to my "bookmark this tab" menu was two things:  First, the final link in the Operating Costs menu is something that says "Car Parts".  This I thought would be a tool that would help you determine the cost of parts for your vehicle.  But no, it is an article called Car Parts for Kids.  Well, let me tell you - they should change that title to Kids and Adults - or at least Kids and Sophie!  Because that article was awesome!  How brakes work, how the engine works, all about wheels...I loved it. And learned a lot.

Add to that fabulous article an Arcade with some fun driving games (I had to step away after one too many virtual crashes) and you have a site that has something for everyone.  It certainly had everything I was looking for and more. 

No matter where you are on the road to a new vehicle, carpaymentcalculator.net is a stop you have to make.