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Teen Driver

August 3rd, 2019 at 01:42 pm

So much going on, will try to pop out a few posts today.

MM(16) got his driver's license. Phew!

So. Much. Time. This frees up for us adults.

MM(16) is as charmed as always. The in-laws came up a week before his birthday, to celebrate DL's birthday. We took two cars out to eat and I said, "MM, why don't you drive?" His car was already in the street, so was just the easiest. We had a lovely dinner, but when we came out, the coolant had emptied out into the parking lot. UGH! MIL had told us when she gave us the car, she'd pay for any repairs before MM's birthday. Which was just a few days away at this point. That is clearly ridiculous. I wasn't going to have them pay for repairs on a FREE car. But, when I saw the coolant, my first thought was, "Yeah, maybe they could pay for that." It clearly wasn't going to be cheap. It's moot because they were there and they clearly insisted on paying for it.

So that is MM's luck. His first major car repair is with *4* adults and a second car. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a huge PITA. But it certainly could have been much worse. That, and he gets a free repair.

I mentioned in my last post that we got MM a new stereo system with bluetooth. In our teens/20s we bought older cars, but always upgraded the stereo. I guess that's what is important to us. But yeah, I am also remembering all my friends and family who like rubberband their cell phone to their visor. Um, NOPE. New teen driver can have a proper bluetooth setup; will keep his hands on the wheel.

MM(16) passed his driver's test a few days after his birthday, and all is well. I gassed up the car and ran it through the car wash before officially handing it over.

I did also get a credit card for MM(16). We had planned to get him a secured card at our credit union. But as his birthday approached and I started thinking about it more, it sounded like an extraordinary PITA. So I veered at the last minute and just applied for some new card (in my name) and made him an authorized user. We settled on the Chase Freedom. It just hit all the marks. He gets 5% back on gas (this quarter). 1% back on everything else? $150 sign up bonus. I suppose this also helps his credit (if reported to the credit bureaus) but at this point "convenience" is our primary motivation. He has all of college (age 18+) to start building up his credit. He will be the only one using that card.

{Side Tangent: & that reminds me, I of course lowered the credit limit, because it started at some ridiculous $30k or something like that. This is just a side tangent, but most of what I saw online was NEVER lower your credit limit *sigh* I lowered it significantly, but still room to keep a good utilization ratio. Is better than being on the hook for $30k down the road, in some bizarrely unforeseeable circumstance. People get a little crazed in their "one size fits all" credit score advice. This is not the first time I've ignored the advice}.

I've only been getting cash (ever) for MM's gymnastics, so I told him he could be in charge of his own cash from now on. One more thing to make my life easier. (I will just reimburse him if he ever goes to the ATM; we still intend to pay).

MM(16) was telling me yesterday he needed some deoderant and shampoo, something like that. I told him I did too, so will go this weekend. But he made a comment at some point, "I guess I can take myself." Good point!

I was thinking about it today and thinking it would be easier to just put him on my Target card so that I didn't have to keep track of "his versus ours" expenses (of course I will pay for his shampoo and deoderant) and he could still get the 5% off. So I went ahead and added him to our Target card today.

I did also add him to our AAA account. & got him insured on his car. I am not sure how that will shake out. I think the bill is sitting in our mailbox right now. Will figure it out tonight. I had told him it would be around $1k per year, and is totally his responsibility. But I already paid $250 in June (for 6 months) and he gets a $150 bonus with this credit card. So I told him it would probably be more like $100, the balance due, for 6 months. I think the bill I got was $250 (sitting in mailbox), so seems rather spot on. I presume that's for another 6 months (July - January). I will see the dates when I get the paperwork. So after prepping for a $500 bill, we knocked it down to around $100. I asked MH if he was okay with just giving him credit for what we already paid. He was fine with that. Is just easier that way, and less accounting.

MM(16) did just wrap up work at my job, school starts next week. He's got about $3,500 cash I believe. He should be good for a while. The car is his only expense at this point. (He doesn't spend money, very much like his father). I do not believe he will work at all the rest of the year. Cross country is 2 hours every day, plus weekends. (He quit before because it was too time consuming, but seems to be going for it this year). Will see how he feels when practice resumes mid-day in the middle of summer. But he's been falling asleep every time I drive him home from work (he's been working with me). He is somewhat super human, but I think he has a very full plate. Especially if he wants to run 2 hours every day AND do gymnastics. MH was kind of, "What about a job?" Ahem. MH, who made bank only working summers. All through college. I told MM that it may be a seasonal job will be more his thing. He will probably want to work more hours next summer, finding something more seasonal but full-time. I also mentioned there is a lot of seasonal work around the Holidays. He's clearly got enough money to last through next summer.

All that reminds me, back to the car. So, we learned our lesson. The in-laws had the car all fixed up and checked out and detailed and everything, before they handed it over in December. It's always been very loud and rattly, but we recently replaced two old and rattly cars that our mechanics said were just old and loud. So we didn't think too much about it. (Our 2001 & 2005. This other car is a 2004). So... We had the car towed to the shop and the second they turned it on they said, "That's the water pump." The car is VERY quiet now. Lesson learned. Always get a second opinion. Yeesh! The coolant was unrelated. Looks like a rock or something hit the coolant tank and caused the leak. So it was two repairs. The mechanic just raved on and on about the car, but I think they were just impressed we found an old car in such good condition. I don't know that we are that impressed, because that's how we buy cars. It's an old car with 200k miles. Yeah sure, we know our parents take good care of their cars. (Admittedly, I've never bought or kept a car with that many miles. I'd expect any car to last that long, with our mild weather and driving habits, but we just don't drive that much. It would take us 20 years to get to 200k miles). It may be the odometer they were mostly impressed with, I don't know. If it's not a "rattly" car, I suppose that impresses me too. So while I am a little bit perplexed why on earth their mechanic couldn't diagnose the very loud water pump (that ours could diagnose with just the sound alone), it sounds like they otherwise knew what they were doing. I think they also had been using our mechanic (back home, AMAZING) who passed away a few years ago. He maybe gets most the credit for the good repair of this car.

2 Responses to “Teen Driver”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    I've never bought a car with 200K miles, but I sure have taken them that far! Sounds like MM(16) had an awesome birthday and that he will be responsible with his new adult privileges. Good work, Mom!

  2. rob62521 Says:

    It sounds like MM(16) scored quite a deal on that car and you've been busy keeping things moving and going and getting him prepared for the real world.

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