I was 23 when I bought an '05 WRX. Had been out of college and working for all of 3 months. I went from a $280/month car payment and $600/yr insurance to a $423/month car payment and $1400/yr insurance. As much as I loved that car and wish I still owned it I would have been better off NOT buying it. In addition to the much higher cost of ownership I also put money into modifications and fun. It cost me close to $12k more just to own the WRX for 5 years over keeping the previous car. Add in the money wasted on modifications, premium fuel, tires, autocrossing, etc. and I probably wasted another $30k over 5 years.
Soooooo...the cost of that WRX for 5 years would have paid off my college loans as well as the previous car. I'd be sitting here with an extra $1000 a month not being spent on random payments. For $1000 a month there are some really nice things I could own, cars or otherwise. But having owned that WRX and then two Forsters I'm a big Subaru fan and would probably dump part of that $1000 a month on a brand new STi.