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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Frugal Friday: Cash (Without the Clunker) for a Vehicle

The Cash for Clunkers program has ended, and around here we're glad. We're certainly not mad at anyone who took advantage of the program, but we did find that it made our most recent vehicle purchase VERY difficult. Let me explain....

We've been driving a minivan (which we love) and what I lovingly refer to as our "little old man" car. I can call it that because it belonged to my grandpa before he passed away. The car is a 1993 Mercury Topaz, and it's "little old man" blue. Perfect if you're my grandpa. Not so if you're my 37-year old husband. And really not perfect if you're four-and-a-half and trying to climb into your booster seat in the back seat of this car. I didn't take a picture of it before we gave it to my uncle, but here's one I found online. It's pretty darn close.

The trunk leaked, the passenger window wouldn't roll down, the locks didn't work, the engine hesitated (and actually died in the Kmart parking lot an hour from home!), the A/C didn't work.... But did I mention that it's a 1993 with only 60,000 miles on it?

It was our getting-out-of-debt-mobile.

And it served its purpose.

Because we were driving this car and not paying a car payment, we were able to stash away enough cash to buy another vehicle. We did this with the van we're currently driving, and we're determined to never have a car payment again!

When the time came to buy our next vehicle, my husband had his heart set on an SUV. (Our area can get pretty rough in the wintertime!) He called around to let local lots know what he was looking for and what he had to spend. He got the same reply many times. The lots had many SUVs similar to what we wanted, but they were all Cash for Clunkers trade-ins. They weren't sellable.

God truly did bless us with a great vehicle though. A friend from church was able to get a vehicle (which was marked $3000 more than our budget) down to exactly what we had to spend. We are so thankful for him (Thanks, Bob!) and for the vehicle. Emma loves her "truck" and wants to ride in it all the time. No... Seriously.... She cried when we got out of it the first night.

So here's what our cash got us.

It's a far cry from our "little old man" car, and it was worth the sacrifice of driving that car to not have a payment now.

If you don't think that you could survive without a car payment, I challenge you to watch this video.

Well... That's our plan, and we're sticking to it. At this time last year, we owned cars worth a combined $2000. Now, through savings and having the cash to snag good deals, our current vehicles are worth almost $14,000. These vehicles should last us through paying off our last two debts next year. Then we can continue saving and replacing our vehicles with the ultimate goal of driving free for the rest of our lives!

For more frugal living ideas, stop by Frugal Friday hosted by Life As MOM.


Christian Frugal Mama said...

Congrats! I'm so happy for you, that you got away from the lies of car debt! Keep up the great work!!

PoorMom said...

my dad has been doing this for years , lol . I guess when you grew up at the tail end of the Great Depression so poor you got ricketts you learn about streatching a buck. We are so over indulged as a society we no longer see the forest for the trees and want new , now !

Pio the Meyers and Jenell the Human said...

Hola! My parents NEVER made car payments. Except this one time they had to lease but never again. they always buy their cars with cash. And drive them until they die. This is the best way, and then you only buy what you can afford. SO MANY people have cars that are way too expensive and are spending their money on car payments. My husband and I share a car, a 1996 Honda Accord, it works fine, everything is great at it gets over 25 mpg city.

Mary Ann said...

So happy for you guys! We're currently saving up to pay cash for our next car. We don't need another one yet, but want to be prepared when the time comes. :-)

Debbie J @ Homemaking Dreams said...

I am driving what I refer to as my Old Lady car. An 01 Buick La Sabre. BUT.... No car payment.... hurray! I hate car payments.

I would hate to ever again buy a new car.

Good post!