When I was in high school, our banker said that more people got in financial trouble over cars than anything else.
I made that mistake with my first car after college.
I didn’t learn any better until I met my wife 30 years later.
She always bought a new car — with cash.
She financed her first car (used) for two years, then made those same payments to a “car” savings account for two more years, until she had enough to buy a newer car for the trade-in plus cash. She financed it for two years and repeated the savings for two more years.
After the third car, she always paid cash whenever she wanted a new car and put projected car payments in the “car” account.
She always had the choice when and whether to buy a new car.
Now, in retirement, she owns a Smart car and fills the tank every three months — 8 gallons. She drives it every day.