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Monday, February 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Cars

So this might be long and a little very boring, and I have no pictures to go along with it......but this is the story of how we ended up buying not one, but TWO new (to us) cars last week (in the snow, to boot)!

As of last Monday, Scott was driving a paid-in-full 2001 Chevy Blazer that performed poorly in the snow, but was paid off and was his ride of choice for the moment. I might also add here that Scott drives at least 60 miles each day going to work, school, and back again. As of last Monday, I was driving a 2009 Mazda CX-7 that we purchased after we found out I was pregnant. I don't have a long commute each day like Scott does, and I enjoyed having lots of extra space in my "mom mobile".

I think I'll stop here and just say: Scott and I are not savers. Not in the least. This is something I struggle with because I know that we make more money than we need to pay our bills and put food on the table.....but the "extra" just gets frittered away each month. I'm not exactly looking for advice on how to be more responsible with our money (although if you have awesome tips or things that really work well for you, I'd be glad to hear 'em). I pretty much know what we need to do to be better off financially. I've mustered up my own self-discipline to lose 35 pounds, I'm pretty sure I can make myself be disciplined when it comes to money, too. I just have to want it. And, we're getting there. Now, back to the story.......

Scott called me around noon on Thursday to tell me that he was coming home. He was finished with his morning classes, but on a typical day he would have driven to work, then back to school for evening classes before coming home. I knew something was up, and it was not just the light dusting of snow on the ground. He told me that he wasn't able to back his Blazer out of the parking spot; he was certain that the transmission was dunzo. He managed to push his car back enough to drive forward, and the poor Blazer limped the entire 30ish miles home.

Scott wanted to just buy a cheap car to drive, and he wasn't worried about taking on payments. Well, I was. I may not bring home all that much bacon, but I am the one who does our budgeting and paying of all the bills. I just wasn't comfortable with adding much to our already-tight budget. I asked him if we could go down to the Mazda dealership where we had purchased my CX-7 eighteen months ago and just see if there was anything they could do for us. I'm not normally very trusting of dealerships, but we've had really good experiences at this particular one, and I figured it was worth a shot!

Our plan was to trade in Scott's Blazer for whatever they would give us for it. Then, we would wheel and deal until they gave us a fair amount for my CX-7 (which we were either upside down in, or close to it), and we would purchase two decent (but not necessarily new or top-of-the-line) cars for our family. With no money out of pocket.

Now I know that dealerships try to make you feel like you're twisting their arm when you ask them to take a few hundred bucks off of their asking price......but before we even walked in I felt like we were asking a lot of them. So, hours later, when we had picked out two reliable cars and they had offered us fair trade-in for our two SUVs, I walked away feeling satisfied. Scott now drives a 2008 Chevy Cobalt, and Ellie and I have a 2010 Mazda 3. We are paying a small amount more per month for both cars than we were for just my CX-7, and we're going to be saving at least $200/month in gas. And, I know that Scott can make it to work and school everyday with a reliable, gas-efficient car. I miss my SUV a little bit, but my new car is fun to drive, and I will be saving on gas as well.

The lesson in this for me is what I've known for a long time now......I must be more disciplined with my money. We absolutely need to be paying down our debt and putting money into savings. If we had had enough in savings when Scott's transmission died, I would still be driving my CX-7 and we would have still had a Blazer that was paid off.

You live and learn. I feel blessed that we worked with trustworthy people at the Mazda dealership, and that we have great credit to be able to purchase two cars in one day! But, this was a big wake up call for me and my family. It's time to buckle down and really start being accountable for every single dollar!

(Oh, and I do feel pretty lucky to have ended up with the Mazda 3. I love me some Mazda, and this one has some pretty cool features like in-dash bluetooth that make me feel pretty spoiled.)


1 comment:

Ashley said...

We are in the same boat as you and Scott...we are not savers either. I take care of all the bills/budgeting in our house as well...and with 2 kids and me not working...we NEED to get better at putting money away.

I am going to be blogging about some "self-help" books on money that I have been reading, which might be helpful...

Congrats on 2 new to you cars!!! It is much better that you do not have to worry about Scott getting around now!