Free Ride Project – Edmunds Style

Good ideas have legs. The Dave Ramsey “Drive Free for Life” has been duplicated by and of The idea has been sited in Australia as I posted previously. The name of the Edmunds duo’s article is “The Debt-Free Car Project“.

1996 Lexus ES 300 – Model of the Edmunds Duo


I think the Edmunds Duo did a great service by writing the article. They have a knowledge of cars which would help anyone trying to work the Dave Ramsey plan. There is a little bit of reflecting I would like to take from their project which relates to mine.
It seems Edmunds followed the same steps I did to find a car:
  1. Choose a reliable car
  2. Set a budget for the car and stick to it
  3. Have a repair budgeted in with the purchase
  4. Plan on preventive maintenance
  5. Prioritize repairs / maintenance
  6. Look for savings by DIY where you can

There were other considerations for me that weigh more on my project than theirs like MPG and cost of replacement parts. That is one of the reasons I focused in on a 1993-1997 Honda Accord 4 cylinder. If I really wanted to push better mileage the Honda Civic of the same age would have been the optimal choice.

Below is my breakdown of the comparison of the two projects. Note my project is only 9 months long so far and I estimated the mileage for the rest of the 12 months to the 9 month average. This way there was some working numbers.

WAVE-B – Edmunds Comparison
Dave Ramsey’s starter car was added in as an illustration of where some details needed to be addressed (and where by the Edmunds Duo). The risk of over bearing repairs could make a project like this a money pit. (although usually not as much as financing)
One of the most interesting part of the article by Edmunds is the importance of purchasing well. (reliability, negotiating , and avoiding scamers) How you buy is a big factor if you have a successful project for yourself. Negotiating well is often overlooked when purchasing but, directly effects the bottom line. It reminded me of a podcast on NPRs Planet Money : An FBI Hostage Negotiator Buys A Car.

Ronald Montoya was very detailed with why and how they thought about any decision they made with their project car. He even does a little tip of the hat to Dave Ramsey at the end of his article. It was one of the best real world articles on car purchasing I’ve read and I encourage you to read it as well.


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