That's good advice Shark. I actually got sent on business trips and would test drive various vehicles on the company budget. And my wife and I are about 2/3rds of the way to saving for that shiny new vehicle Our tax return should put us over the top.
You and your wife are awesome! If more people would do this, we all wouldn't have to be (to borrow a phrase from a former Seahawks kicker) a slave to the businessman (or bank).
You can continue to sock away that "car payment" and when you get the car... take the extra after you negotiate down further and put what you WOULD HAVE spent on the stupid "dealer warranty" and put it in a secondary savings account. You'll then have that money at your disposal and it will be in place of their warranty. I did that on a vehicle. They tried to sell me a warranty for 2 grand (haha... bumper to bumper, everything no-deductible for 100,000 miles). I told the finance d-bag that I put the money aside and then have it if I have a car issue. He said, "Yeah, lots of people say that. Nobody does it." I said, "Wait, you've never heard of a SAVINGS ACCOUNT?" He said, "Uh yeah, but not for your car. I mean if the transmission goes, that's $2500. You can't afford that on a teacher's salary." I said, "Wait, I guess we better cancel the deal. I mean if it's such a piece of garbage that you don't feel good about me driving it off of your lot without spending an extra 2 grand to protect the shoddy transmission, then I don't want it." Back pedal central. It was hilarious back and forth, and I got him to knock another $185 off the final price for wasting more of my time on my day off by the time we were through. I did put the money in an account just to prove him wrong. At the time I sold the car then I took that $2000 and took my family to Disneyland. They loved it.
In future deals I've taken all money I had budgeted, but did not spend and put it into a stock portfolio I didn't start until 3 years ago. I've gotten it to produce about $8000 in "free money" just off of the $4000 I have put in over little dinks and dunks over the middle (football playcalling comparo).
Do what works for you. It sounds like you guys have great brains and are using them well. You make me proud.
When you are ready to buy, let me know and I'll help you out on getting a deal. I've helped about 15 people get a screaming deal through little tricks I've picked up over the years. Nothing is in it for me, but to see a friend get a deal. I have thoroughly enjoyed it every time. My brother keeps encouraging me to write a book, but I think I'll just make a website and make it free. I'd honestly feel bad in telling people how to save money and then CHARGING THEM MONEY for doing it. Kind of defeats the purpose I feel.