Hello everyone! I hope all my US readers are enjoying Independence Day.
I remember writing my “being grateful” post last year on this subject, and I seriously can’t believe a year has passed already. So much has changed!
Speaking of which, I have some financial news to share with you all.
Should I Be Grateful for a “New” Car?
Yep…that’s right. We finally decided to get a new-to-us car. Specifically, a 2013 Civic. What can I say, I love my 2002 Civic, so it made sense. Plus, I’ve been in my grandma’s 2015 Civic, which is close to the same thing, and liked it.
This has been a decision that has been weighing on us for a while. Long-time readers will remember this post (published in 2013!) where R and I argue about the “need” for a new car.
If you want some background, you can read up on it there. Not much has changed, except…
A few months ago, the check engine light came on, and it was due for inspection last month. We knew it was either make the repairs to get the light to turn off (likely a sensor issue), stay with my car being our only car, or get another car.
After the amount of money R had sunk into the car, he wasn’t eager to spend more. My car is just about at 100k miles, and I’m just expecting something to go (preparing for the worst!).
Even though his car only had 115k miles on it, it had never run well, and we didn’t want to push our luck. It’s been shaking whenever it goes over 50mph, it creaks when it turns, and I wouldn’t trust it to get us anywhere far.
R had been browsing Craigslist to get a feel for the market ever since we moved here, and last weekend, I started digging in.
We knew we were going to go with a newer Civic, Elantra, Accent, or Corolla. They’re all fairly inexpensive and reliable. We also wanted to keep our monthly payments under $200 (with a budget of around $13k). We had money set aside for a down payment.
I may do a separate post on this in the future, but we obviously got the Civic. I still can’t believe we did it, either. Every time we go out to the parking lot, I have to do a double-take.
To be honest, if it were completely up to me, we would have gotten an older car for less. I got an amazing deal on my Civic 5 years ago – $6,000 for ~50k miles, original owner.
We’ve been trying to look for something similar, but to no avail. Most cars under $10,000 had 100k miles or more on them. I get that cars are likely lasting longer nowadays, but R and I aren’t car-savvy enough to inspect it ourselves and didn’t want to risk getting a lemon. (We still don’t have a reputable mechanic here.)
Plus, a lot of cars down here have rebuilt titles, so a dealership seemed like our best option.
I had consulted with my parents before we made the decision. Once we got the car, they congratulated us, and my immediate response was, “For what? Getting into debt?”
Yeah I know, I’m so cynical aren’t I? =)
I don’t want anyone to think R pushed me into making the decision. In the post I referenced above, I was very against getting a newer car, and my stance hadn’t changed as much.
Ultimately, it made sense, and R’s name is the only one on the paperwork in case you’re wondering. We’re not married yet!
Of course, our insurance also went up, but we mitigated that by putting R and the car on my policy. There was about an $80 difference between our quotes!
So Am I Grateful?
Yes and no. We didn’t jump into it, and for our first experience, it actually wasn’t too bad. We had one very pushy salesman, but we were able to walk away each time because we weren’t in a rush.
The car is certified pre-owned, which means it’s covered under a decent warranty. We’re able to get a lot of peace of mind, and considering I’d love to do more weekend and day trips in the future, it’s nice to have a reliable car.
However, we have been operating as a one-car household for the most part since we moved. I don’t usually have to be anywhere during the day, and R took my car to work most of the time.
I won’t lie – that makes us look pretty wasteful. But work can change, and besides taking day trips, I’d also like to be able to drive to my parents (or anywhere) by myself if need be, without worrying about my car breaking down. It’s nice to feel safe, and I like having a backup just in case.
Thankfully, my car isn’t costing us much because it’s paid off and the insurance is around $30/month (hopefully decreasing with less usage).
Bottom line – we can afford it, though I know it seems like a bad decision given our student loan debt. That’s still our #1 priority. We’ll make extra payments on the car after our student loans are gone.
We plan on having this car for as long as it will last, and at 38k miles, and being a Honda, it should do well.
In Other News…
Getting the car has actually motivated me to tackle my student loans more. With my payment, R’s payment, and now the car payment, a bit too much is going out for my liking (my fault, I know).
I read up on my student loan servicer’s policy about directing payments to certain loans, and contacted them to see how it was possible.
They told me they can reapply a payment toward a certain loan, so hopefully it works. I have a $1,400 loan sitting at 6.8% that I’d love to get rid of.
Why have I waited so long? Truthfully, I’ve been wanting to build up my income. I was bringing in close to nothing this time last year, but as of a few months ago, I’ve doubled the income I was earning at my day job.
I also opened a business bank account for myself, so technically, our money is back to kind of being separate. It’s a little weird, but I’ve grown my balance to equal our joint account, and I feel safe paying off this loan while taking tax payments into consideration.
Writing Around the Web
Why Being Too Frugal on Vacation is a Bad Idea on Frugal Rules – I’ve always been honest that I have a problem with spending money. I don’t like doing it (as you can tell from the car purchase). But when that interferes with your vacation, it’s not a good thing.
How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill on Wherewithal – I posted about switching to Republic Wireless over a year ago now, and it’s been saving me about $750 a year. Phone bills can eat up a big part of your budget if you’re not careful!
Why You Need More Than One Source of Income on Young Adult Money – Ever since I began freelancing, I’ve been addicted to diversifying my income and work as much as possible. It pays to have backup plans!
What are you being grateful for this week? What are your plans for this weekend? I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July!