The main reason I haven’t paid off my car yet

The main reason I haven’t paid off my car yet

I spoke to a friend recently about the long distance travelling my husband and I do on a regular basis.

Last year alone we did two roadtrips – one from Johannesburg to Cape Town (a return trip) and the other from Johannesburg to the West Coast and from there to the Northern Cape, returning to Johannesburg.

The conversation between my friend and I ended something like this:
Friend: You must have a lot of kilometers on your car now.
Me: Yes, I don’t know how many kilometers, but it’s thousands. [I checked today and it’s 88662 km]
Friend: Your car seems very reliable.
Me: It is. I bought it in 2013.
Friend: Wow, so it’s paid off then.
Me: (Pause, because I didn’t expect that)…
Me: Well, I still owe a lot on the car, because when I bought it I chose the lowest installment to pay it off. I had wanted to spend my money elsewhere.

RELATED POST: How to pay off your car in two years

Guys, I kind of felt bad when I realised that my car could’ve been paid off by now.

leslie javan road trip sun set
We stopped just before Richmond to take this photo. (Image: Melissa Javan)

Later I realised that if I paid more I probably would have travelled less. While living in Port Elizabeth, my main concern was to go visit my parents as much as possible in Cape Town.

Then, I started dating my husband so I enjoyed travelling with him, especially to Cape Town.

Whenever I was in Cape Town, I realised that I wanted to see as much family members and friends, so I would drive around in my car to see them. I enjoyed the convenience and at the time I appreciated relationships – I think it’s being in a long distance relationship taught me.

Also moving away from my support system (mainly my parents) did that to me.

RELATED POST: Moving From Home – The Lessons I Learned

Travelling long distance by car makes you do things that other people might not do. So I had to remind myself to stay in my lane. For me, paying a car off was not a priority.

Road trip network
En route Cape Town.

Last year in October, for example, I realised that whenever we come back from a roadtrip, we would come back so broke. Happy, content but broke (financially).

RELATED POSTS: Roadtrip Update: How We Save Money + September Life Update: Our Roadtrip

So when we had a roadtrip in December again, I planned ahead and did things like buy perishables for when we get back. Planning is key, especially when you are intentional about saving money.

Since I shared this post today, I will give you Samantha Dube‘s tips on Tuesday (tomorrow) on how she paid off her car within two years.

For more posts on money mistakes, read more here.

Have you ever delayed paying something for a reason that you do not regret? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!


  1. People have different priorities. It sounds like you made seeing loved ones a priority over paying off your car. I would probably make the same decision!

  2. Brilliant thanks Melissa and such food for thought . Thankfully my now 13 year old year has been paid off for a while but the scarey thing is its almost time to start looking for a new one. The thought alone is a leaving me petrified. Do you drive your car until it’s worth zero or do you sell it for what you can , probably less than 20k and put that towards a new one?

  3. Thank you, everybody, for the comments. Rebecca, you’re giving me a food for thought now. I think I should try paying more on my car now, for if I want to trade it in for a new one or just sell it for a new car. Thank you.

  4. That’s great! Knowing what your priorities are and what’s important can really help with financial decisions and balancing work & life aspects.

  5. “I had to remind myself to stay in my lane. For me, paying a car off was not a priority.” I like that you mention the staying in your lane bit. It’s true, circumstances differ, and we sometimes have to do things differently. And that’s okay, as long as we do get it down eventually. x

  6. I HATE HATE debt and especially on cars as I don’t think of them as assets so I would probably have paid it off as quickly as possible because I know dragging it means paying more on the long run. BUT that said I get your reasoning and if I had to make a choice seeing loved ones would be priority.

    Ps: 88KM is not a bad mileage for that number of years. I got mine in Nov 2012 and I have over 100KM and I’ve only done one “longish” distance travel on it from JHB to Durban and back 🙂

  7. Priorities are different like you say, and as much as it would be nice, and having more money is nice. Family, memories and intangibles are MORE important. Those are the things you can never get back. Thanks for sharing! #lekkerlinky

  8. Our car we bought in 2013 and has 200k on the clock…hubby travelled A LOT!

    I totally get why you did what you did…and the best thing is not having regrets about a decision that you’ve made. Great way to look at things.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *