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New Car! Part I

September 14th, 2018 at 05:41 am

We ended up pulling the trigger yesterday.

To be clear, we are replacing a 2005 minivan. Though it's the newest car we have ever ditched, we just aren't "big car" people and have been scheming to ditch the van most the years I have blogged here. Early on it had been more of a plan to make a lateral car change (which we have certainly done in the past, no big deal). I'd say last time we almost pulled the trigger I was surprised how "in demand" older used cars were. In the farther past, I've generally been the only contender with private parties. In this case, I laughed (to myself) when some guy tried to say he had lots of interested buyers, but it ended up being the truth! So the cars were just being sold much faster than we wanted to act, and we probably had other reservations too. I think around the 10 year mark of owning the van (2016) we decided we were done and ready to just move on to our next "new-to-us" big car upgrade. We had agreed around that point to not put any big repairs into the van. I share just to be clear this is not a whim purchase.

This is one reason I really like paying cash for cars. (It's never the reasons everyone actually assumes). There's been significant upside and savings to just waiting. We've never paid more than $13,000 for a vehicle before, and those were the "big purchases." (The one we bought a few years ago and the minivan). Everything before that was $500 - $5,000. Way too easy to spend too much money when you start justifying the loans. & I say this age 16-40. At 40+, it was maybe a little too easy to spend the money with cash, but I still had to be comfortable writing the check. If I could only justify it by financing the last few thousand dollars? I knew we'd be stretching way too far.

Mostly where we were at before van had problems this week was that we had settled on buying an electric car and probably a Chevy Volt. The Volt is an electric plug-in but is also a gas powered car. So it's the best of both worlds. I think this is going to be a really good in-between car as to transitioning to full electric. The technology is on such a fast curve right now that we were more envisioning paying $5k-$15k for a used one (and were pretty close to pulling the trigger this past year when we test drove some incredible deals). But in the end, every time it was like, "The van's fine. Let's just wait another year so we can double the electric range and get a car that practically drives itself anyway."

As I share more about the electric car ownership later, I will also have to share a Money Mustache post where I believe he bought a brand new Nissan Leaf (electric only) for $15,000-ish out of pocket. I just want to be clear that this is more along the lines what we were thinking. There are a lot of incentives in our state too, and a healthy supply of very low priced used electric vehicles. It was never our plan to pay MSRP for a brand new hybrid or electric car. Most people will at least get a tax credit to offset the extra cost.

We've personally never considered the "new" route too seriously because we don't have enough income to be able to utilize the credit. For example, you have to have at least $7,500 in income taxes to offset the $7,500 Federal tax credit. As of today, you can get $13,000 off of a new Nissan Leaf in our state with rebates and tax credits (I just saw our electric company is also offering a $3,000 rebate, which was news to me). & Money Mustache had also gotten substantial discounts from the dealer. I think $5,000 off for taking a car loan. I absolutely would have financed a vehicle to save $5,000.

For whatever reason we had zeroed in on the Volt. It's the best of both worlds. It's been my "dream car" for the past several years as to it's appearances alone, and is absolutely the polar opposite of how I would ever buy a car. It just turns out to be an exceptional car also. I would say this was the first time we bought a car as to what we really wanted. Versus always being happy in the past with whatever random deal we come across.

{In the end, used 2018 Toyota Corollas are flooding our market right now and are priced around $13,500. Unbelievable! This is precisely how we have always car shopped in the past: Open to whatever might cross our path. In this case, we looked at a couple but just felt very "meh" about it}.

We looked at a blue 2016 Volt Wednesday, that I think we could probably talk down to $19k (because it's blue). Certified pre-owned and totally immaculate. MH was really leaning towards this car. I was being a little wishy washy. After sleeping on it, I told him that if we were really going to pull the trigger on more of a "Dream car" I Wanted the pearly white.

So yesterday we scheduled to take a look at a few deals out of town. In the end, I was not feeling well and had no desire whatsoever to clean out the van while MH was at work (for trade-in). When MH got home he was really pushing (I was surprised) but I just wasn't feeling well and didn't care at that point. He finally suggested I take a nap. I didn't realize I'd have time for that, or otherwise maybe I would have napped earlier. It did help to lay down for maybe 1/2 hour. I think we had an hour before he had to get kids from school. MH was still really pushing because didn't want to go this weekend. (It would be crowded and we have had so much stuff going on every day this week). I finally caved (lord knows I was excited to look at pearly whites). I figured I was probably in a good mindset for car shopping anyway. I wasn't going to be overly excited about it.

Oh, and I had also talked MH into forgetting about the van. I am guessing we will most likely scrap it. I doubt we'd get more than $200 more in trade-in, and I didn't think it was likely we'd buy car yesterday. Driving the gas guzzlers 100+ miles to look at cars? When it's not in the best condition? Meh.

To be continued...

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