A TikToker is urging folks who have their cars already paid off to be grateful they don't have a car payment and that they should keep it that way.
Jes Gragg Hampton (@jesgragghampton) uploaded her bit of financial advice in a viral TikTok that's garnered over 1.5 million views on the popular social media application.
She begins her clip by looking directly into the camera, prefacing her blunt message with: "This video is for all my friends out there who have a paid-off car, so if you don't have a paid-off car just keep scrolling cause this is clearly not for you, you already you already made your bed. Okay, my friend, you have a paid-off car and I know you're seeing all your friends driving their nice new cars, their 2022s, 2023s, listen."
She then began to delineate the specific financial position that folks with a paid-off car are in and that seeing their friends in shiny, nice, new whips is not all that it's cracked up to be: "I know you see it. I know you're watching them take their photos and post them on Facebook about...got my nice new car waving their keys in the air thanking the whatever people are that sell cars, car salesmen, whatever."
The TikToker encourages folks who own their vehicles outright to not succumb to social media envy with folks boasting about their new wheels online: "You might be driving a car that's 10 or 15 years old, it might be an old beater, you might have a bunch of stains on your seats. It might smell a little funny when you turn the heat on."
Resist the temptation to upgrade, she says, despite not packing some features that have been standard in even entry-level trim vehicles for the past few years: "You probably don't have a backup camera but like, who needs that anyway? I just want to encourage you and remind you: you don't need a new car."
She doubled down, reminding folks that even though they may not have the newest car, they have something much more valuable — another monthly financial burden: "You don't have a car payment. You don't need a new car. You don't have a car payment."
Jes went on to say that getting jealous of people in their life who have a brand spanking new vehicle is no reason to go out and get themselves a new car payment: "Don't let your friends fool you. They're paying $500 a month for their new car, okay? And you're sitting here with no payments. So just, just keep that in your brain."
Throngs of TikTokers who saw her video agreed with her advice. One person wrote: "You don’t need a car payment!! Say it louder"
Another said that they enjoyed paying their car off more than that first feeling of getting a new whip: "the feeling of having a paid off car is far more exciting than i’ve ever felt getting a new car."
One TikToker said that they would rather pay the maintenance costs for a vehicle they don't owe money on every single year as it ultimately costs less than a new car payment: "Truth! I’d rather pay $1k-2k a year to maintain my paid off car then $500 a month for a new car plus extra insurance for a financed car"
For someone else, however, these maintenance and repair bills for an older car is way too costly: "'You don't have a car payment' you have a mechanic payment, a tow payment, a repair payment"
Depending on which vehicle you own, either of the aforementioned TikTokers could be correct as there are some manufacturers and models that age better than others.
Land Rovers, for instance, carry notoriously hefty repair costs and a slew of out of warranty problems. And while it might be tempting to get a used BMW that's surpassed its threshold for the manufacturer's warranty, after all, it's a beamer! You're probably better off staying away from it as repairs for these whips can easily climb into the thousands of dollars whenever you bring it in.
And if you're thinking of going the electric route, unless the battery has been recently replaced or is covered under a decent enough number of miles so you could at least drive it for a few years before plunking down on repairs, you'll probably want to stay away from any used EV.
A Tesla battery, for instance, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 to replace or repair. If you absolutely want to purchase a used EV, again, see how long the warranty is available for your battery or get yourself a used Chevy Bolt EV or EUV — many have had their batteries swapped out allowing drivers to make the most out of its 8-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty.
And while Jes makes a point about not having a car payment, if your vehicle is one of those Toyotas or Hondas that just won't die, but you don't want to miss out on fancy new features, you're actually in luck.
If you have an older vehicle with a simple radio setup, you can often easily install a third-party Android Auto/Apple Car Play car set up, with an adjustable back up camera and bluetooth microphone rigged up to your vehicle, all for less than it would probably cost you for two months of a new car payment.
Have a little extra money to spend and want to make the cabin in your vehicle quieter? You can also get sound dampening panels and maybe even upgrade the sound system while you're at it.
New floor mats and high quality seat covers, or a good cleaning of the interior and using a bit of elbow grease to remove the oxidation from your headlights will get your car feeling like a brand new ride — without having to finance an entirely new vehicle.
The best part is you can do the upgrades piecemeal and whenever you have the money for it.
Again though, that's considering your car is getting you to where you need to go. Do you agree with Jes' advice? Or do you think that sometimes getting a new car is simply unavoidable?