& just like that, we are a 3-car family.
Where in the heck did the time go??? How on earth is that wee little baby old enough to learn how to drive!?
I will back up. The in-laws told us 2+ years ago they wanted to give their old car to MM(15) for Christmas. He turns 15.5 next month and will be getting his learner's permit. Our ideal world would have been buying a very used car from a friend or a relative, someone we knew who took good care of their cars.
I don't know that we would have thought at all about getting him a car before he turned 16, but I guess it works out because we have two new-ish cars and aren't really thrilled with the idea of him learning to drive on our cars. This is maybe extra so after having much older cars most of our lives.
So, the in-laws starting telling us this about 2 years ago. We were skeptical. We were just kind of, "Will see if you still have your car in 2 years." You know, anything can happen. I believe they had recently replaced their other car because it had been totaled in an accident, when they first brought it up.
It came up again in the last 2-3 months, and I guess MH and I were more ready to start making concrete plans. We made very clear that we were able and willing to buy the car from them, and did not expect them to just hand it to us (or to our child). They insist, but we just wanted to make sure we made it very clear that they don't have to give us a car. The other thing is they have *4* grandchildren, and I think they were jumping the gun significantly and probably hadn't thought it through too much (particularly when they brought it up years ago). So we wanted to make sure at this point they had thought it through. MIL keeps telling me that her daughter and her kids are "too good" for her old car and don't want it. I don't know if it's actually been discussed or if this is a presumption. But, whatever. I say, "whatever" because I can't control that. As long as they think they have discussed it, whatever. Last we brought it up, she told us the car was for BOTH of our kids. I think it just works out about as well as it can. It gives MM(15) two years to save up for a car, maybe 6+ years if he doesn't need a car for college. My kids are exactly two years apart, so should give them both a car to drive their last two years of high school.
I think MM(15) was somewhat aware, because some adults have slipped up in front of him. & I know I change the subject any time we get on this topic. He knows we are planners and he knows it's weird we have not discussed this at all. Beyond, "You should be saving up for a car."
He was definitely not expecting a car *right now*, and so I think it worked out pretty well as to surprising him. MIL/FIL put a bow on the car and hid it in their garage. After doing Christmas stuff at SIL's house Sunday, we drove over there and they opened up the garage door. He is very surprised and happy.
We drove the car home, Sunday night. I will need to get insurance on it. We were paying around $500 per year for our 2005 minivan, and this should only be cheaper. Is higher miles and is a small sedan, so should be cheaper to insure.
The year has been so chaotic and in-laws have never had any details when I asked in the past. I thought it was maybe a 2003 or a 2005? (Just subconsciously remembering that they bought it when the kids were born?) I guess in the end it is a 2004 and has 188,000 miles.
The car is worth about $2,500. Is probably about just exactly what we would be buying our kids anyway (private party) except we'd probably be looking for a $2,500 car with 130k or 150k miles. For a free car that we just want to last for 4 years, it should be more than ample.
I am guessing we will be paying $250-ish for liability insurance on the car for the next 6 months, and then we will get MM insured on the car when he turns 16 this summer.
When he turns 16 he will probably bear all of the costs of the car. I've already been quoted $1,000 per year for a teen male driver (roughly). I was happily surprised because I know that is less money than I paid as a teen driver. Will see what the real numbers end up being. But everyone makes it sound so scary and awful, especially with a teen boy. I did discuss numbers with my insurance agent at some point, because I did realize a year or two ago that probably most people are more price sensitive than we are and maybe it won't be quite so bad as I was imagining. We do not plan to let him drive our cars, which is where it can get really expensive. Apparently we don't have to insure him to learn on our cars though, which is nice. Practically, he will have to be practicing in our cars once in a while.
Because the car was gifted by a family member, we also don't have to pay any kind of transfer tax on the car. I suppose if we have to pay any license or registration fees though, we will cover them, this first year. We just think it's important for our kids to learn about all the costs of owning a car. If they end up with some large car repair because the car has almost 200k miles, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I could see helping with any major repairs.
Merry Christmas to us, because that's a can we can kick down the road. Phew! I don't think saving the $2,500 is particularly life altering, but I just feel like we'd be taking a lot more risk on the private party market, otherwise. I feel extraordinarily blessed to have found a (well cared for) hand-me-down. I know we are probably saving a lot more than $2,500, given the circumstances.
Three Car Family
& just like that, we are a 3-car family.