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Another Car – Need?


We’ve been a one car family for several months now. It’s really not been too bad.

You  can read about when Sea Cadet totaled his car the day I picked up our new to us car. We were a two car family again for about 1 hour.

Sea Cadet in his fanny pack t-shirt my sister sent him for Christmas.

Since then, I’ve had to drive him everywhere and lost my help/backup for getting the younger kids to their sports.  But I’ve saved a lot on no extra gas for him.  After the wreck, he got a part time job within walking distance and as December he is paying $25 per week towards our car insurance. (I tried to cancel his insurance, but as long as he has a license he must remain on the policy.)

He’s had a GREAT attitude about all he’s had to give up as a result of the car loss. Really great! And I would really like him to have a car again. Not just to take some of the pressure off me, but to give him some freedom again.

Cadet’s Responsibility

This is my thoughts, I am really interested in your feedback on this.

  1. Cadet get a job he can walk to and work steady hours – check!
  2. He must pay $25 per week towards car insurance (his went up after the wreck and he’s being insured against a much newer car which also affects the rate) – check!
  3. Sea Cadet saves $2,500 towards a new car.

When he has the $2,500 saved. All but $500 will come to me to put towards the purchase of another car. The $500 will remain untouchable to cover car expenses/maintenance starting out.

Purchasing Another Car

At that point, I would do one of two things:

  1. Pay the $2,000 towards our current car, which would leave us with less than 1/2 the original balance. I would then “give” him our current car (2012 Chevy Impala) to drive. And I would purchase another car for me.  The reason this is my first choice is that our current car does not get the greatest gas mileage and I drive A LOT. I would have to either dip into my savings a bit or finance about the same as this car cost me, but I think my interest rate would be lower now (or rather by then.)
  2. Take the $2,000 and find another used car for him, older, cheaper insurance. I bought his 1996 Honda Accord for $1,900 so I assume I could get a slightly newer one for $2,000.  We’ve put $1-2,000 in it over the last several years. (I bought it when the twins were 15.)  Thinking of the cost of the car, probably maintenance over the next couple of years, this car would cost just about 1/2 of option #1 in my mind. But would be cheaper insurance wise.

There are lots of other considerations, cost of insurance, etc. but these are the basics.

But then I go back to, is this a need or a want? Right now, it’s probably a want. We can make it work with one car. It’s not always comfortable for either of us…

  • He must stay at school all day 7am-9pm instead of getting to go home after classes;
  • Just call me chauffeur, I drive to all his activities and the kids activities rather than him taking on some of that;
  • I pick him up from work when he works late because it’s very cold and for safety and so on.

I must caveat this with, I anticipate saving $2,500 will take a minimum of 3-4 months if he is super diligent. This is not something I am taking on now. Just thinking down the road.

Tell me your thoughts?

Plan #4: Kids Expenses


I have struggled with this next plan. I know focusing on my kids expenses flies in the face of all the personal finance recommendations. But I have to go with my priorities and thinking of my long term plan.

Several recommended after the computers were paid off that I tackle the credit card. Here’s why I’m not doing that…I roll the credit card every month. To me, this means, I am paying it off every month and then reusing it. It’s never paid off at one time, but I am paying no to very little interest because I pay so much toward it and then reuse it. Does that make sense?  This puts it at a lower priority to me.

With that being said, the debt that is weighing on me is twofold: 1) ex-husbands debt with a minimum payment of $246 per month and 2) the kids activities and camp payments. I know #2 is completely by choice. But the kids, if you have been reading me for long, are my #1 priority, always!

The Costs

Currently, percentage wise, the kids costs overwhelm my budget, and I’m really starting to recognize that. Well, maybe not recognize, I have known that. But I’m starting to feel the weight of repercussions of that. (Some of us do have to learn the hard way, don’t we?) I am ready to get some of that weight off.

These are the debts/monthly costs I am ready to get rid of:

  • Camp costs (6 weeks of camp) – balance $3,375
  • Volleyball (season ends April) – balance $350
  • Gymnastics (training through April) – $960

The Plan

  • Gymnastics – typically I pay $240 per month for training. If I pay for this “semester” at one time, I get a 10% discount. That would save me almost $100, making the total $864. And I won’t have to think about it again until May when the costs will go down as we train less over the summer months.  My goal is to pay this next week, and breathe a small sigh of relief.
  • Volleyball – I am on a payment plan to pay $175 per month until paid in full, but I’m ready to be done with it. My goal is to pay the remaining balance on Feb. 9th (when the next payment is due) and be done with it. Another sigh of relief. (Princess dad did contribute $350 to the $1000 overall price tag.) I don’t think we will be doing this again. I believe she will opt to play a school sport after this now that that it an option.
  • Camp – ugh! I am so excited for them to go to camp this summer. They are so excited. But the cost!!! This will be the LAST summer for summer camp for us. However, with my job situation, I hesitate to pay anymore towards this until I know my financial situation after February. But this will be my next priority. I want to pay it off and be done with it. Grateful that I can do it for them, but super relieved that we will be done with camp. (I do know that when I have grandkids, summer camp money is what I’m going to give every year! I can’t think of a better gift both for my grandkids and my kids.)

This plan will get me into February.  I am continuing to pay the minimum on everything else, not acquiring any more debt and really focusing on not spending any money that is not absolutely necessary!

Do you have a financial plan in place for the new year?  I would love to hear what you have prioritized this year.