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Posts tagged with: grocery budget

Buying a Car during a Pandemic


Ok, I am not buying a car. But I have been keeping my eyes on the prices and check the classifieds weekly. I plan on sticking to the one car plan for Princess, Beauty and I for the fall. However, if Gymnast moves back, that plan may have to change…maybe. As a result, I’m keeping my eyes open and ears to the ground.

I’ve now got $5,000 saved, tentatively ear marked car, just in case. But I truly do not want to buy another car. Not only because my insurance will go up. But more because the logistics of parking at our house with anything more than 2 cars is a PITA especially with 5 people with varying schedules. And when Sea Cadet gets back, we will have 3 cars until he moves out. So adding another car would…oh, I just don’t want to think about it.

Cars and the Pandemic

But I did hear something today that I had not considered…

While a client was here this weekend as I fixed his computer, we got to talking about kids and driving and so on. It has dawned on me recently that we will double drivers in the next 12 months. Princess just got her license. Gymnast just got his permit. Beauty can get her license in December. So all 6 of us will be driving. That was quick!

Anyways, I was telling him my thoughts on adding another car. And Gymnast was chiming in because he is frustrated that I let Princess take the car when she works and to volleyball, etc. so he doesn’t get to drive as often as he wants. And this client called up a local used dealer he knows just to test the waters.

Limited Cars, Higher Cost

He got the owner on the phone with over 20 years experience in the used car business and what he had to say surprised me. It makes sense but I hadn’t thought of it…the pandemic has caused two types of crisis in the auto industry (I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones he brought up.)

  1. Auto manufacturers have pretty much shut down. Between the quarantines and the loss of income to American workers, there’s just not the demand for car.
  2. Banks suspended repossessions, at least until June or July 1st here in Georgia, which I suppose the used car business relies on.

Between those two factors, the cost of a used car is now that of retail car. Not sure those are the right words…the example he gave is what used to be a $2,000 used car would now sell for $4,900. And for a decent used car, the dealer would now have to pay $10,000 but the bank would come back with a too high if they sold it for $11,500, so no financing available.

I’m not sure I explained that right, but the point of the matter is there is 1) a scarcity of cars to be had (not like the toilet paper issue) and 2) the price of those cars is higher than it should be.

Not a Need

I am so grateful that another car is a want and not a need for us. And I’m doubly grateful that for the first time EVER in my life, I have the money to pay cash for a decent used car. Well, it would have been a decent budget until the virus showed up.

For those that have followed me for a while, yes, the little’s dad has consistent said he was going to provide a car for Princess. And I have called him twice over the summer just seeing if he was still doing that or if he had made any headway. Needless to say, nothing there. This is why I have prepared…just in case.


The Patience to Pay Cash for a Car


Paying Cash for a Car

My in-laws don’t drive flashy cars. They’ve never bought a brand new one, and they don’t mess with car payments. They go for something good and reliable, and they have the patience to pay cash for a car.

I knew this about them, but I hadn’t seen their process in action until recently: they need a new car now, but they’re patiently waiting until they can pay for it without an auto loan.

My mother-in-law drives a beloved minivan (#swaggerwagon) and my father-in-law an old Taurus, but the Taurus is fading. They live in a super remote area, and they can’t keep having their car break down in the middle of nowhere.

My father-in-law retired a few years ago, and they’re living on a fixed, tight income. They’ve been saving for this next car when they can, but it’s been a slow process. But they still won’t consider financing it.

Selling to Save

Last month they asked for my help selling a few things. They live about 90 minutes north of us. They are not tech savvy, so I’ve helped them sell things on Craigslist before. It can be tricky in their area because people have to drive out to the boonies to buy from them. Things like yard sales and Facebook Marketplace don’t work great there.

So they asked me to list two major things: their WaveRunners (with trailer) and their 2007 Taurus.

The WaveRunners sold right away. They live right near a lake, so they bought them used from her sister about 6 years ago. They were 1998s, but they worked and we were all excited to use them when we came to visit. They were great the first summer. But the next year? The nightmare began. They’d act up every time we tried to use them! We all helped to replace spark plugs and batteries, tweaking this and that. It was a battle every summer. Sometimes we couldn’t even get them away from the dock.

My in-laws didn’t want to keep pouring money into repairing them. We tried to use them one last time last summer, but alas they were dead in the water (literally). They then sat in their garage this whole past year.

They sent me the images and info, and I posted the WaveRunners on a Friday. By Saturday morning, I had a short list of people for them to contact. And by Saturday night, some nice people with mechanical skills drove off with them. We were all elated! The nightmare was over, they were out of the garage, and my in-laws had $4,000 to put towards their car.

Making the Patient Purchase

The Taurus… we’re still working on. She’s got some problems, so they won’t make much. But they’re still planning to put whatever they make off it towards their next car.

I think what impresses me most is their patience. They’re down to one car, but they aren’t pressuring themselves into making an impulse purchase.

A few weeks ago I saw that Hertz is selling their cars at a discount because they’re going bankrupt. I know my in-laws had considered buying a car from them, so I sent them an article about it. The deal won’t last forever, but they’re still not feeling rushedthey know they can’t pay cash for a car from them yet.

They are sticking to their goal and making sure they get the car they want without using a car loan. What a good example.

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