We held out for quite a while because the taxes on car ownership in Singapore make cars prohibitively expensive here (just one of these taxes is 150% of the value of the car). But because we live so far from the city's center, we found ourselves taking taxis into town three, four, five times a week. A couple months ago we ran the numbers and realized that if we bought used, our car payments (taxes included) would add up to about what we were paying each month in taxi fares. Of course there are other costs like parking and "petrol," but it wasn't that much more considering the tremendous convenience we would get in return. There were other advantages, too, of course. Jonathan is less than an inch from growing out of his infant car seat, and there is NO WAY I could haul a toddler seat with me as I ran errands around town. We live out of town, so a lot of our taxi time is spent on the freeway at higher speeds which makes traveling sans car seat a lot more scary, especially since Fabio has already been in one taxi accident this year.
Fabio was completely sold on getting a car and ready to move forward, but I am a slow adopter and quite the cheapo at times so it took longer for me to jump into the idea with both feet. I was almost convinced, so we started shopping around online. We found a few we liked and decided to go see them in person. On the way to the car lot I wondered, "Are we doing the right thing by buying a car right now?" Just moments later our taxi driver literally fell asleep at the wheel, veered into the next lane and almost drove off the road. And the decision was made.
We didn't see any we liked at that car lot, but we stopped at one more on our way home and saw exactly what we were looking for: the right price, the right mileage, the right size, the right number of years left on the COE (essentially the car's permission to be driven in Singapore). Fabio put his haggling skills to use and eventually the car was ours.
It has been heavenly to buckle J's car seat in, drive to the mall, run in to get one thing (leaving everything else in the car), and come right home. No waiting in lines, no desperately hoping it doesn't rain (at which point getting a taxi becomes humanly impossible). I can give people a ride to a doctor's appointment. I can run to the grocery store on my way home from somewhere without wondering how I'll get the rest of the way home. We don't have to be ready to leave 15-20 minutes early just in case when we finally do get a cab booked the driver is still at home when he takes the job. Oh, joyful sigh!
Our first fill up.
I cannot put into words what a happy day this was.
As we drove to church the first Sunday after we picked the car up, my eyes literally welled with tears I was so happy. I asked Fabio if it was awful for a thing to bring me so much happiness. He said I was just grateful. And grateful we are! It has made our Singapore experience immeasurably more enjoyable. Now my only regret is that we didn't get one sooner.
I never thought I'd say it, but thank goodness that taxi driver didn't get enough sleep the night before and almost killed us!