Buying a Car using GTD

Buying a car is an interesting process but one where GTD can be a very useful framework.  Buying a car is definitely a project where it's critical to utilize the five step method for project planning, defining purpose, envisioning outcome, brainstorming, organizing and finally identifying the next action.

In defining the purpose and principles it's a good time to ask why you are embarking on this journey.   Is it because the old car is shot and repair costs are getting to be too much?  Does the old car not meet your needs anymore?  Owning a car is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make so understanding your needs is critical.  It's helpful at this time to list the reasons or purpose for buying a car.   
Depending on the car you choose and how long you keep it, you can spend a great deal of money without realizing it.  Due to the great depreciation costs buying a car is not an investment.  Most new cars can lose over half their value in the first 3 years.  It pays to go into this process fully aware of the costs involved.  In addition to depreciation, taxes, title, inspection, insurance and license can be very expensive running thousands of dollars depending on the car you choose.   At this time it's helpful to list some key principles to guide you through this process.  What is most important, reliability, luxury, roominess, sportiness, safety or value?   It could be helpful to list these in order of priority.  If you have a spouse or other that will share the car consider getting them to list these as well.  Where do you see differences?   Where are you aligned?   It could be very helpful to discuss these differences and consider how to compromise.  These factors will be the principles for the car you choose and will determine the expense you will have to live with when all is aid and done. 
It has been said that the cheapest car is the one you already have.  Because of the massive media and materialism attached to the cars we drive, we often drive cars for reasons we have trouble explaining.  Why are you buying a car, status or real need?  If deep down, you reason is status, you may want to consider that driving a flashy car will not change who you are.   However, that is a different topic for another post.  At this point one of your key principles is your budget.  How much do you have for a down payment?  Will you finance the car?  How much of a monthly payment can you afford?  What kind of interest rate can you qualify for?
Now that you have determined your key purpose and and clarified your principles you now have a guide for the long journey ahead.  The purpose you have outlined will be revisited over and over as you venture through this arduous process.  You'll wonder if it's worth the trouble and understanding the why is very helpful. The principles will be a great help in planning for successful outcome.  Which is the topic if our next post. 

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