Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It Feels Great to Pay Cash!

My husband and I have been married for over 7 years.  When we got married, he had his wrecked S10 sitting in Missouri, and a Dodge Ram that was financed.  I had a Chevy Cavalier that was also financed.  When I was about 5 months pregnant with Elliott we decided we needed a 4 door car to make it easier to get him in and out.  We also had 2 dogs and knew we were getting ready to take possession of a cat that our neighbors didn't want anymore.  With all the traveling we do, we decided that the single cab Ram and the Cavalier would neither one work, so off we went to the dealership.  We traded in the truck (and were upside down by over $5,000!) on a brand new Malibu Maxx.  We gave my sister a small sum of money to make up the difference in what we owed and what the Cavalier was worth and she took over payments (the car and loan were both primary in my dad's name anyway, and he didn't want to do all the paperwork to just get a new loan anyway).  We just used the one car since we lived on base and both worked on base.  It was no big deal for one of us to get rides from someone else if we needed, and my husband even rode his bike a lot of times.

Fast forward to last year.  We had traded in the Malibu Maxx (which we still regret) on an Uplander to make traveling with three dogs, a child, two adults and a cat easier. We still only had one car, and my husband's unreliable truck, but knew that with Elliott starting school, we needed a second car.  We live approximately 17 miles from his school.  The bus is an option, but not one I wanted to use.  It was just too much time away, and since he really needs a lot of sleep, it would have cut too much into our family time.  So we bought a 2005 Impala, but still ended up financing part of it.

We've had that car for about 1.5 years now, and the Uplander for 4.5 years.  The Impala has started showing signs of a possible transmission problems, especially when it's hot out, so we decided to look around at cars.  After checking out dealerships, and seeing what the new cars were like, and what their prices were like, we decided to look at much older cars instead.  We had about $2200 saved for car repairs, because we knew that the transmission is a pretty regular problem on the Impala we have, and it hasn't been replaced yet (it's got around 120K miles on it).

After looking at a few different trucks under $3000 (we decided we could use part of our savings if we needed to), we were about to give up on getting my husband a truck like he wanted, and started looking at cars.  Then we found a 1998 Toyota Tacoma.  It has 232,000 miles on it, but it runs great and has been well taken care of.  We paid $1700 for it.  And really, even if it doesn't last that long, it's still a better investment than any other car we've ever bought.  We've ended up losing quite a bit more than $1700 on every other car we've had (like I said, on the Ram, we lost $5000 on it, not counting the year and a half that my husband had paid over $500 a month).  My husband has done just a few things to the Tacoma since he bought it, like changing spark plugs, and fixing the bumper.  He's also replaced the radio, but that's all been pretty cheap (he used the radio out of his S10).  He really likes it, and it feels great to not have a car payment on it!

My husband's "new" truck!


JRFrugalMom and Family said...

Congratulations on the new truck! I am all for paying cash for cars, and I refuse to let my husband do anything other than that:)

Every time he starts dreaming about a new car, I remind him that he has made too many dents in our family minivan/his work van to be able to get a decent he better keep driving it until it gives up.

BTW, I completely understand your lack of desire to take the bus...I hate taking the bus!!!

Carla said...

We will probably end up financing one more car. All of ours are pretty high mileage and we do a lot of driving. We need something reliable since it's not uncommon for me to not see a single car for over 12 miles of my journey to and from the school everyday. And I don't even have cell reception in a lot of that area. Add in the fact that it gets down to -40 degrees here, and I want something reliable that is very unlikely to break down anytime Elliott is in the car. Plus we make cross country trips at least once a year, and usually a second time as well.

I would love to be able to pay cash for something newer and lower mileage, and that's our ultimate goal. I have a feeling we're going to have to at least partially finance the next newer car we get, though. I don't know, though, we should have both of our current ones paid off next summer/fall!

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