Driving a BMW and dealing with temptation

By glblguy

BMW 135i
Photo by: Taekwonweirdo

I’ve wanted a BMW for years. I’ve always admired the looks, the performance, the style, and the quality. Being a car nut, there are many other makes and models I like, but BMW has always been at the top of my car short list. My all time favorite being the BMW M3 Coupe. Of course unless I was a multi-millionaire, I would never buy one and even if I was a multi-millionaire I still might have issues with purchasing one due to the extreme cost. Recently though, BMW has released a new model that is reasonable priced as BMWs go, looks awesome, and performs well: The BMW 135i. Believe it or not, I have only ridden in a BMW once in my life, and hadn’t driven one until two weekends ago.

I’ve been reading pretty much every article on the 135i I could get my hands on for the past year. I watched the early announcements, read the industry “leaks”, looked at the spy pictures before it was formally announced, and kept up with it’s development by reading various auto blogs. But I hadn’t seen one first hand, until a few weeks back. I finally succumbed to the temptation and not only did I go see one at the dealership, I…well let me explain.

A visit to the dealership

The only BMW dealership that I know of in our area is a good distance from our house, which is a good thing. The dealership is fairly close to my in-laws house though. We were down that way a few weeks back to borrow a tool I needed from my father in-law. My mother in-law offered to watch the kids for my wife and I if we wanted to get out and do something without the kiddos. Having read that the 135i’s were arriving in dealerships, I mentioned to my wife that I’d like to go see one. Knowing how much I like the cars and being the wonderful wife she is, she agreed. So off to the BMW dealership we went.

It was a pretty cold day and walking around the dealership we couldn’t readily find one. To my sincere joy though, we parked right next to a brand new flame red BMW M3. Wow, what a car….Anyway, we walked around the dealership lot for a bit, looking at the various cars and were finally approached by a salesman.

The salesman was extremely friendly and I informed him that I wanted to see the new 135i. He quickly said, “Come with me.” Turns out, they had one, literally one. It was parked towards the back of the lot, and was jet black. It looked even better in person than in pictures. He opened the doors and let us see the inside. The interior was black leather, with red leather trim. My wife didn’t like it, I on the other hand LOVED it. I hadn’t seen any good interior pictures, and was amazed at the detail and quality. The smell of the new leather was intoxicating. The only thing I was a bit disappointed with was the rear seat room. While the 135 has rear seats, there is very little room. That might propose a problem for my kids.


The salesman then asked the question I knew he would ask and the one that would tempt me the most: “Do you want to drive it?“. My heart rate immediately kicked up two notches. The one marshmellow kid inside immediately shouted “YES! YES!“, but the frugal side of me shouted “No! No!“. I looked at my wife who just smiled, and I  thought about it for a good 15 seconds and I said “Absolutely. But I want to be clear, I am not going to buy one today. I can’t afford this car right now, and I am just an enthusiast. I don’t want to waste your time and I would fully understand if you want to change your mind.” To my surprise, he didn’t. He appreciated me being honest and said “Let me go grab a tag and the keys.

Wow, I was finally going to get to drive one. As my grandfather used to say, I was “happier than a ‘coon in a cornfield“. My wife was awesome too, she just smiled, knowing this was a dream for me. We took the car out on a short spin. It drove and performed far greater than I had imagined. The car handled and cornered better than any car I’ve ever driven. The engine made sounds that were just plain music to my ears, and it was frankly a complete blast to drive. We pulled back into the dealership, parked it and got out. We found the salesman, and handed over the keys and he said “What else can I do for you? Want to take it home?“. Did I want to take it home….who’s he kidding, I would LOVE to take it home! Temptation at it’s best!

The Trip home

We left the dealership a few minutes later, riding in my good old 2001 Nissan Sentra. No, I didn’t buy the BMW. I could have. I can make the payments. Why didn’t I? For many reasons actually:

  • We still owe debt – When you already have debt, getting further in debt in just crazy. I don’t have the cash to buy a BMW, and if I did I’d payoff my debt with it, not buy a BMW. I’d rather sacrifice in the short-term and gain in the long. I’ll get a BMW one day, just not now.
  • My family’s goals are more important than my own – We want a home with some land and would also like to return to RV camping someday. All of these things are more important to me and my family than purchasing a BMW.
  • I won’t sacrifice my children’s future – I want my 6 children to attend college. While I don’t expect to be able to pay for their education, I would love to be able to or at the very least pay for some of it. By spending money purchasing a BMW, I am limiting my ability to do that.
  • I just don’t want to pay that much for a car – A BMW 135i runs around $40,000. Is it worth it? Maybe, but it just doesn’t feel right to me to dish out $40,000 for a car, regardless of how nice it is. $40,000 invested in a decent mutual fund would provide me with far more money down the road.
  • I don’t make large purchase decisions on a whim – One of the things I’ve learned, is never make large purchases on a whim. When considering a large purchase it’s far better to wait some period of time. Go home, sleep on it, and think it over. Chances are you’ll talk yourself out of it. I did.

I am proud of myself. In the past, I’ve been a complete sucker for temptation, always having a hard time resisting it and paying the price as a result. This time though, I didn’t. Not only did I not succumb, I didn’t succumb to one of the material things I most want, a BMW. I’ll get one someday, but only when I can afford it. I told my wife on the way home that the only way I will ever buy one is if I don’t even have to think twice about it.

What is your biggest temptation? Have you had a recent encounter with it or them? How did you do? Have tips for overcoming financial temptations? Add a comment!

22 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Driving a BMW and dealing with temptation”

  1. Matt Keegan Says:

    BMW is a beautiful car. I write extensively about some of the most amazing vehicles made today and can understand the temptation. The reasons you cited are very good — I just don’t think I would be a good steward of my money if I bought a vehicle that was beyond my needs.

    I stumbled this page.

  2. Lynnae Says:

    My husband used to work for a BMW dealership, and he LOVED taking the cars on test drives. Not being a car person, I never understood his enthusiasm about the BMW. It was definitely there, though.

    Great job resisting temptation.

    And I think my biggest temptation is houses. I’d love to own a home, and my dad recently offered to pay closing costs if we bought now, since prices are falling. I keep repeating to myself, “Now is not the right time.”

  3. Berry Says:

    BMW is a nice car but I haven’t drive 135i,now I still drive 2001 Mercedez C240 and my wife has 2001 Audi A4.I think I must push the brake of temptation to buy another cars,I would rather use it to expand my business.

  4. Shek Says:

    I did some similar math recently. In 2006, I splurged on a very comfortable and powerful sedan. Leather seats and wthe works. I was younger and a little careless with my money.

    I did some math last month and compared owning my $24,500 sedan to a cheap hatchback (under $16,000 before tax). The difference was a little over $2000 a year, meaning I was paying $2000 for a 3.5L V6 with 224 hp, leather seats, attractive interiors, large car ‘status’ and highway driving comfort. I dont think these ‘luxuries’ were worth $2000 a year.

    I will be downsizing to a smaller hatchback some time in the next month. I like driving nice cars and sporty cars. Me a car nut too! I have been in a 2004 M3, so I know what you feel. I have made a 5 year resolution to buy a true sports car and I am saving for it starting now.

    I can share my excel sheets if you like.

  5. Llama Money Says:

    The 135i is an impressive beast. I’ve ridden in it, and driven a few of it’s bigger brothers. I’m also looking forward to being a BMW owner ONE DAY, just not anytime soon. I’ll be waiting impatiently :)

    Congrats on resisting the urge though – it’s NOT easy after driving one.

  6. Kristen Says:

    Good for you that you had so much restraint. The first car I bought out of college was a “fun” car and too much money for my budget back then. But, I really wanted it. It turned out to be one of the worst financial mistakes of my life for various reasons. When I bought my last car I was much more practical, did a lot of research and decided on a car within my price range and that would carry me through the next phase of my life. Not that I wasn’t tempted to buy a more expensive and fun car …

  7. M3 Says:

    Thanks for the story. My temptations are the everyday variety, not the huge ones. For our family, these are the temptations we struggle with. Thanks for sharing your reasons for saying “no”. They were all worthwhile and applicable to small temptations, too.

  8. Nicole J. Says:

    We owned a BMW a few years ago (before kids) and I can relate to how awesome they are to drive. I think and talk about that car all the time. I am not a car nut by any means, but that car was amazing. The most comfortable car I have ever driven. I’m under 5’2″, so it is difficult for me to get the right seat adjustment, but that car was made for me.

    So, excellent job on passing by the temptation. My temptations are of the smaller variety, like shoes and food. But we have our big goals to work towards, like a house with some land and a comfortable retirement.

    This is my first time here. I’ll be back.

  9. Becky@FamilyandFinances Says:

    I’m a Mustang lover myself. I definitely understand the “new” car lust when you’re a car nut!

    I’m actually glad I bought my Mustang when I did (in 2001). I was single, and I bought it used and paid it off in 2 years. I’ve been driving it and loving it ever since. The reason I’m glad I bought when I did is that I’ll probably need to become a minivan driver in another 2 or 3 years. I’ll miss the Mustang, but I can’t wait to be a mom :)

  10. Moneyblogga Says:

    I, too, am a BMW lover. Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that my dream car is the 7 series Beemer. I tried to race one, once, on the way to Vegas and that thang left me in the dust ;) Performance all the way. BIG price tag though. I have resisted the temptation to lease (fleece) one for some time but I’ve made a promise to myself that I WILL own one before I leave this earth.

    My other temptation is plasma screens in every living and bed room in the house. I haven’t done it yet and I wont for at least 2 years. I don’t plan on buying big-ticket anything for however long it takes for me to get my financial house in order, my emotions in order, and for me to know that the time is “right”. I’m pretty sure that wont happen for at least 2 years so, for the time being, it’s budget-wise all the way.

  11. Mrs. Micah Says:

    We have a Nissan Sentra too! :) So does half the population of DC, it seems.

    Way to deal with temptation. I expect it’s particularly hard if you could actually afford the payments.

  12. HarryLou Says:

    My ex-husband never met a car he could resist. If he walked into a “dealership,” he came out with a new car. After I divorced, my own car reached 18+ years — a real hoopty, poured money into it. Kinda was afraid to buy a car…

  13. Greener Pastures: Responsible Personal Finance Says:

    Everyone has a weakness! Great that you are not letting it take advantage of you. Mine is books. Sounds small, but believe me, you can spend a lot of money on books if you get going. More than could possibly be read by any one person!



  14. Leeann Says:

    This is my first time to read your blog. Thumbs up on a great entry and a great decision!

    We are also getting “our financial house” in order.

    Today we took my two older children for an orthodontist consultation. Yeah, that pretty much slapped me into reality! ;-)


  15. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    I think you showed great integrity with your response and I am sure that the sales person respected you for that. I also fully admire your list, especially “my family’s goals are more important than my own”

  16. Marty Says:

    Car salesmen know all the tricks…and they know that people get emotionally attached to a car after they’ve driven it.
    As a result, car salesmen will normally try their hardest to get you into the office after a test drive to “talk to the manager” and see what kind of “deal” he can do for you….
    They know that if you walk out of the yard, and go home to think about it, you’re likely to come to your senses and won’t purchase the car.

  17. Adrian Xenon Says:

    Even though BMW’s are true driving machines I don’t think it is wise to pass out paying your mortgage just to be able to drive one. If you can’t easily afford the car I do not think it’s worth owning.

  18. scantool Says:

    BMW is an aggrasive car, it gives you what you really dream in you car, but in the other hand, it has too many issues when it gets a little bit old, it will be annoying car