So this last week we made a big purchase. We are really trying to NOT add any debt to our lives. We are huge Dave Ramsey fans and just love the idea of just buying what you can afford NOW rather than what you can get credit for and pay off over time. So when we knew Mr. Deals and Steal’s car was on it’s last leg we knew we would buy a replacement cash.
(That is Mr. Deals & Steals striking a pose since his car is oh so cool!)
Once we paid off my car we started putting the money we used to pay our car payment into our ’100% down new to us car fund.’
So the good thing is – my hubby doesn’t give a care what anybody thinks of what he drives. He holds none of his self worth in his car – and that is one of the reasons that I love him. Honestly – if the radiator wasn’t cracked on his 1999 Camry – he probably would have continued to drive it. But alas, it really was time to let it go.
So our goal was to get the best upgrade we could for under $6,000 – out the door. And this would be before we sold the Camry – so we could put that money in the bank. But we would pay for the car with cash – no loan. I know that is probably what most people put down on a car – or maybe even more – but this is what we do now – and it is what is realistic in our little budget right now. Our thoughts are it is silly to add to our debt when we really don’t care what we drive – as long as it is safe and reliable – that is all we care about.
So when you are shopping for a car on that kind of budget – you pretty much shop on Craigslist. He knew he would have some negotiating power with cash. So he searched cars under $7,000 – and this is how it went down.
He found a 2004 Passat (I know that probably doesn’t impress many people – but again – he doesn’t care if it impresses anyone ) with just over 100,000 miles on it – again – probably not impressed – but it is about 150,000 miles less than the car he is driving right now – so that is down right fancy. Listed for $6,500 – which they had already reduced.
Passats are good cars – solid German engineering (I seriously know nothing about cars – but this is what Mr. Deals and Steals tells me and I find him to be trustworthy on most occasions) – nothing fancy -but should last a long time.
We were told it was an awesome car with no issues at all – but on further inspection – Mr. Deals and Steals noticed what he thought was a cracked timing belt – which is about a $1000 problem (his estimate) – Owner “Oh, yeah, we just didn’t want to take care of that, but we can give you a break for what it costs.”
*side note* people are not very honest when they are selling their cars sometimes – had he known nothing about cars – this would have been a major bummer – if you are like me (know nothing) – you could very likely be taken advantage of. So just be careful.
So with very little ‘haggling’ the price went down to $5,400 since we had cash in hand and we were under the impression there was a $800 – $1000 issue – and who knows what else. Deal was done in a matter of minutes and we drove it to the mechanic.
Want to know something awesome? It wasn’t the timing belt that was the issue – it was the serpentine belt (don’t know what that means? Neither do I – but what I do know – the actual cost to fix was only $220 – booyah – don’t feel bad for the seller – they didn’t mention the problem and they could have easily researched it and fixed it or disclosed it)
Total cost for our new fancy shmancy car – $5,620 after purchase and it’s visit to the doctor.
Paid cash. No car payment – LOVE. IT.
Another thing I love – it is a smaller car – so the gas mileage is better – which is awesome considering it is really just for him to drive to work. He works pretty far away from home, so this is a great thing considering gas prices recently!
Then my hubby and son took a trip to CarMax to sell our old car. This is a fun story. My hubby told CarMax upfront that it had a cracked radiator – before they even drove it over – we weren’t even sure if they would take his hunk of junk. They said they would even if we weren’t planning on buying there.
As they got out of the car a worker came up and said to Brother S. “Wow, that is a nice car buddy!” (so nice at CarMax to not make fun of our car )
Brother S. “Thanks, but it has a broken engine.” #fail
Mr. Deals and Steals “It has a cracked radiator buddy, not a broken engine.”
Anyway – their appraiser checked it out and drove it around and took our disclosure into consideration and very quickly wrote us a check for $1,700. It took like 2 hours – if that. I get that is a sad amount for our car – but remember how we had $6000 to buy a new car – we spent $5,620 including repairs AND we got $1,700 back – woot!
Basically we upgraded to a totally decent commuter car that gets better gas mileage AND we put about $2,000 towards our three month emergency fund (which is nearly funded by the way!).
Sometimes I feel like we moving at a snails pace – and sometimes I wish I could just go out and finance a car like most people do – I really want a fancier car. But it sure does feel nice to feel like we are finally getting somewhere in our ‘Baby Steps’ – we both have completely paid for, reliable cars that should last us for several years – and by the time we drive them into the ground we will have saved enough for a new one cash as well. That is the plan anyway.
Anyway, I know it isn’t for everyone – but I don’t think there is a car that I want to drive enough to add several hundred dollars to our monthly bills – just sharing our attempt at debt free living – perhaps it will inspire some, perhaps it will just make you laugh at our silly attempt – I mean really – how far does a teacher and a blog at home mom really think they can get by not racking up credit? We shall see
Enjoy ~ Kate