October 21, 2009

A Car for the Kitchen

Filed under: budgets,debt,family,money — by elysianconfusion @ 5:35 pm

We had three cars.We live in rural(ish) middle Massachusetts, so there’s no public transportation to speak of, and in my little town there are almost no sidewalks, and basically nowhere to walk to either.  I can walk to the farm behind my house, but they’re conventionally grown everything, so I prefer not to. Sometimes local outweighs organic, but a lot of the produce we grow in our garden at home, without pesticides.

Anyway, I know we need two cars. But three, three has been driving me crazy for 18 months. Our old 4Runner had a run of costly repairs, and gas prices were insanely high, and we bought a new Corolla. I didn’t mean to buy a new one… I wanted to get a used one — but the used ones, the prices were so high, and the interest rates were higher for used than for new, so we did buy a new Corolla. The plan was to trade in the 4Runner, which would have been a pretty bad trade, but it was in the shop at the time. And my husband really loves that truck. He promised he’d sell it.

Well, he didn’t. I would have sold our Sienna or our Corolla and just kept the 4Runner, but I couldn’t. Car values depreciate so quickly that I couldn’t have sold either car for what I owed on it. So I’d have to basically, well, it felt like I’d have to go into MORE debt to get rid of a good car and have a car that had almost 200k on it that needed more repairs.

At last, this past weekend, my husband sold his 4Runner to his brother for $1,000. His brother is broke and needed a car.  So my husband got to keep it in the family, help his brother out, and make a little bit of money. Not much.  His brother drove up, 2.5-3 hours, with his wife, to pick up this car. His wife stood in our driveway and glared at us the entire time they were here. She didn’t come in to use the bathroom, or have a drink of water, coffee, tea, a snack, lunch. I also gave her a bunch of winter clothing for her youngest child and a few books and games.

They got a great car that will likely last another 100 – 200k miles, they got a great price. My husband took great care of it. Maybe she didn’t want the car.

Anyway, and maybe this is the wrong thing to do, I plan to use the 1k to make some moderate home repairs.  It’s sort of “found” money, and maybe… maybe it would be best to apply it to the debt. But it’s hard to put all your money towards debt, and I can’t legitimately pull money monthly to do home repairs. The many debt calculators I’ve looked at confirmed that the most important thing for paying down debt is a significant snowball. The EVERY month payment is the most important.

What do you think? I haven’t spent it yet, and I plan to do it as frugally as possible.


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