May 7, 2010Driving Down Car Costs
DRIVING DOWN CAR COSTS
By Cheryl Gochnauer
A few years ago, my husband, Terry, sacrificed his bass boat so I could stayhome with our daughters. I remember thanking him and saying, "Don't worry,Babe. We'll get you another boat someday."
A few months ago, I made good on that promise, and we bought a boat.
A few weeks ago, the only vehicle we had that would pull the boat, our11-year-old minivan, blew its transmission.
A few days ago, I got sick of looking at our dead van and stranded boat. Itwas time to go car shopping.
"FOUR HUNDRED dollars a month? For a USED car?" I sputtered, clutching thedesk at the local dealership. The salesman didn't blink.
Neither did salespeople at the dozen other lots I cruised over the next weekand a half. A grand delusion had swept the dealerships in our city:Everybody else is in hock up their necks; you should be, too. Guilt-freeand zero percent down.
A few hours ago, I decided a $1,500 rebuilt transmission didn't sound so badafter all. Hey - our van may be old, but it still looks good and it'scomfortable. With a little TLC, we'll be able to eke another year out ofthis baby. (At least, that's what the transmission shop guarantees.)
And it's the best financial decision for us at this time. After all, $125a month ($1500 divided by 12 months) for a decent used van beats any deal I've heard this week. In fact, after being floored with $400-plus quotes, Iactually feel like I'm saving money!
It's all in your perception. For instance, I recently spoke with a mom whowanted to come home, but they needed to cut out a car payment first. Theproblem: they were "upside-down" in their loan.
"We owe $10,000, but the car's only worth $8,000."
She thinks they're $10,000 in debt, but take another look. If it were me, I'd consider selling the car for $8,000, immediately reducing the balance to$2,000.
Since the car was collateral for the loan, my finance company will want theremaining $2,000 when the car is sold. So, I would either take the moneyout of savings, get a small home equity loan, or take a cash advance on mycredit card to pay it off.
Better yet, I'd set a goal with my husband of saving the $2,000 differencewhile I was still working, then sell the car. If I needed a replacementcar, I'd concentrate on picking up something we could pay cash for. I'dstart networking with friends and family to find that elusive "little oldlady's car" or similar, inexpensive transportation.
Here are some helpful online resources as you look to trim or control yourbudget:
The Dollar Stretcher:
Crown Financial Ministries:
, or visit her website at
. Her book, "
So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom
," isavailable through
Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner
. Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
Posted by Staff at 1:29 AM