I take a totally different approach to car payments by acting as my own bank and financing myself.
In 1996, I bought a new Tacoma for just under $10K
cash out the door. Drove is daily as a work truck, and used it as a tool to make money for 17 years. Sold it for $4K
to the first guy who came to look at it, because it was in excellent mechanical condition.
Then I bought a new 2012 for $19k
cash out the door. Applied the $4K
from the old one to the new one, which brought the new price down to just $15k
When you finance or lease a vehicle you are forced to pay for full insurance coverage because the finance company owns your vehicle. But when you own your own vehicle, you enjoy the freedom to choose how much insurance you buy for it. I always get the bare minimum required for vehicle registration, and pay only one time a year. That works out to just $23
Over 17 years, the money I saved on insurance bought me another new truck for free