Want to know what we’re doing so much better this time around than last time? Buying a car.
Justin’s car broke down about a month ago. It was sometime between July 6th and 10th, but I can’t remember exactly when because I was on “vacation” and not going anywhere so why did I care what day of the week it was? But we got a mechanic to look at it and he declared it dead and we’ve been working around it ever since. While I was on furlough, Justin just took my car to work. And after I needed it back so I could get back to work again, he’s been catching a ride with a coworker or working from home. Despite all my efforts to reach out to people at my office, I haven’t found anyone willing to help me carpool. It’s really stupid.
Anyway, we’ve been trying to figure out what we’re going to do about it. And, because we CAN be taught!, we’re being much smarter about it than we were when my car died last year. I don’t really want to talk about that experience, so let’s just say we made some not very wise decisions at that time.
So this time we’re doing better. This time we’re doing research. This time we’re being more forceful. This time we’re actually being SMART.
And we’ve so far gone to one dealership twice and another dealership once and we still have NO car. Because the first time, we wanted to check out what we would get if we didn’t have to worry about money and then look at what that would look like to our finances. Here’s a hint: It didn’t look good. We decided not to do that. (See?! Smart!!)
Today, we went to another dealership, a small, used-car lot, one recommended by a friend from church, and we did some recon. What we learned: We could buy one of those cars with money we had in our accounts, but we’d prefer to do a little research into the car before driving off with it. And that the guy we worked with could help us with our problem.
And then we went back to the dealer where we went in the first place, a name-brand dealer, and asked what the best deal they could give us was. And it was pretty sad. The guy we spoke with did as best as he could to try to get us into a car, but we were solid on the amount that we were willing to go into debt with and we did not budge from that number.
So we’re back at home, still with no car, but with more and more knowledge. Justin’s going to look into the type of car we looked at today, but more likely, we’re going to call up the small-dealership guy we spoke with today and work something out. If it works, I’ll tell you about it later. Mostly, this is just to tell you what we did NOT do.
We did not go onto the lot and fall in love with a car and buy it at what they offered because it’s beautiful and we MUST HAVE IT.
We did not let ourselves get suckered into a price range where we were not comfortable.
We did not let our niceness turn us into doormats for the nice men we worked with.
We did not walk in without researching what we could afford.
We did not let the salespeople intimidate us.
We did not walk off with a car because we could afford it because we prefer to do research before jumping into the pool.
We did not lie.
We did not let our anxieties about money, debt, and car-less-ness drive us into a decision.
We did not go into the situation without very clearly communicating with each other what our expectations and priorities were.
We did not try to read each others minds but instead asked for a little bit of time alone to talk about what we thought about what was going on.
I guess what it all boils down to so far is a handful of key things:
- We didn’t buy a car we couldn’t afford just because it was beautiful
- We didn’t buy a car we could afford just because it was there
- We didn’t let salespeople influence our decisions
- We communicated clearly between each other and stuck together as a team
And, yeah, it means that Justin will still have to catch a ride with his coworker on Monday. But we haven’t dug ourselves further into debt. We haven’t driven home a car we weren’t totally sure about. And we’re learning more and more how to communicate with each other about important, difficult things and presenting a unified front.
And all those things are so much better than having another car sitting in front of our house.