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New car advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK, it's late and I'm not feeling great so I am probably going to be fuzzy on some numbers and details.

Two summers ago ('08) my husband spilled a can of gas in the back of our van. It would have cost a lot to get it usable again and we ended up buying a new van. It was an '05 (??) Town and Country and I think it was around $12,000. I never liked it. I felt like it was too expensive, it didn't have rear vents, and there's no trunk room. Obviously, we still owe a bit of money on it.

Fast forward to now-- we recently found out we're having twins. The Town and Country only seats 7, and we'll be a family of 8, so we really need to get a new car.

My husband wants to deal with the people we bought the last 2 vans from, even though they're 3 hours away because (a) his dad works with them and (b) he went to high school with one of the guys in charge. I personally don't feel like either of these facts got us a particularly good deal, but that could be because I felt kind of pushed into a van I didn't like last time. We got a Ford Windstar from them before, and I really loved it.

He has an 8 passenger Ford People Mover he's holding for us and he's talking about applying for a loan. I'm just really fuzzy about how this all works when we still owe so much on the Town and Country. And I'm also not sure if this would be the best car for us.
post #2 of 13
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! I haven't been spending as much time on mdc as I used to before I went back to school last year, so this is news to me. I'm so happy for you!

About the van. If you aren't sure if it is what you want, then just pass on it. You don't need it tomorrow. Take time to research and find what you want. You will likely have this vehicle for a long time, so it will pay off to get something you are happy to own. There are way more cars than buyers, so don't let anyone push you into anything you aren't sure about...there will always be another "great deal"!

When you still owe money on a car, the dealership will essentially buy it from you and roll whatever you owe into a new loan. The numbers can get confusing but basically figure out the difference between the current value and the current loan balance. If the loan balance is higher than the value, it will be tacked onto a new loan. If it's the other way around, you can use it as part of your down payment on the new car.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you! That makes sense. My brain is fuzzy lately, LOL!

I want as little debt as possible. I'm also worried that a full size van vs an SUV or minivan that seats 8 (if there is such a thing) will cost more to run and maintain.

I'm excited about the babies, but financially, this is really going to crush us. We had just paid off most of our consumer debt, and then we had two miscarriages/D&Cs to pay for. And now with the babies, there are medical bills (obviously, although thankfully, it's all in one year so once the deductible is taken care of it won't be too bad) and we really need to look for a new house. Our house now is only 1400 square feet and one bathroom. It's too small for the 6 of us already and I don't know how we could possible add two more people to it.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh, and thanks for the congrats! I'm still reeling from all of this.
post #5 of 13
Congratulations!

I agree slow down and research what you want to get.
post #6 of 13
annettemarie, I'm not in your shoes obviously, so take this only for what it's worth. If I were newly pregnant with a zillion what-ifs running through my head I'd be feeling pretty darned overwhelmed too, especially big what-ifs like new cars and new house.

My suggestion is to slow down and think creatively. For now, 2 more little bodies aren't going to take up any huge heap of room. I'd say make it work for now unless you can move and either a) come out ahead or b) stay at least where you are financially now. I'm not sure what your real estate market is like, but don't forget that additions, fixing basements or attics, or renting your current place out might also be an option.

As for your vehicle, do you have only one vehile now? Do you use/need it often? What I'm getting at, is do you NEED another bigger vehicle while you still owe on your current one or can you get creative by taking 2 cars when needed, dividing people up into 2 trips or only taking half the gang, calling a cab or taking public transit with half?

I'd wait until the twins are born before making any life-changing bank-breaking decisions. Between now and then, things just might iron themselves out and seem a little less huge and urgent.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
We really do need another car. Our family is 3 hours away, and we often go on trips to see them. With homeschooling, we have co-op once a week and day trips. I'm a SAHM and my oldest is only 11, so when someone has to go somewhere, we all have to pile in the car and take them. My husband has a '94 Saturn that isn't going to pass inspection, and we still don't know what we're going to do about that. We could probably get along with one car during the week, but on Sundays he needs to be at church at 7 and we don't need to be there until 9:30.

As far as the house, the way we're situated (in the middle of a city block) an addition would be out of the question. When a tree fell, they had to close off the block and lift it over the house with a ginormous crane. There's no way to get a bulldozer or anything else behind the house. The basement is leaky (all the basements around here are; we live near a river) and it would be $4000 just to waterproof it. That's not even counting making it useable space. There are only 6 rooms and it really is too small even for the family we have now. My mom was going to give us $2500 to go to Disney but will give it to us to fix up the house instead so we can hopefully sell it. To be honest, we would have an easier time getting a mortgage than getting a home improvement loan. You're right in that the house is less pressing than the car issue, but it really is too small.

I don't want it to seem like I am dismissing everything you're saying, and you're right that I am very overwhelmed right now. But there really are things we need to do to stay sane as a family.
post #8 of 13
Both Honda and Toyota make 8 person minivans. I don't know about gm.... I would think a minivan would get better milage than a full size van. But I have a tahoe and really it it gets about the same as alot of minivans. test drive a bunch and see what you like.
post #9 of 13
We have a full size ford econoline that seats 8. The great thing about it is there is so much extra room to actually move around in there a bit. We never feel crowded and can fit lots of people and things. It gets 17-20 miles a gallon and was reasonably priced. Also, it is a safe vehicle.
Good luck. I agree, don't feel pressured to buy right now. Do some research as to what you really want and test drive some options.
COngratulations!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks!

I actually have 2 other questions-- Do we have to buy the new car from the same place we bought the old one? Does that affect our loan? Also, I think a big issue is that the place we're used to dealing with only sells Fords/Chryslers. Which was great when I got the Windstar I wanted, but there are other cars I want to look at as well.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Thanks!

I actually have 2 other questions-- Do we have to buy the new car from the same place we bought the old one? Does that affect our loan? Also, I think a big issue is that the place we're used to dealing with only sells Fords/Chryslers. Which was great when I got the Windstar I wanted, but there are other cars I want to look at as well.
No, no need to stay with the same dealer. You can trade in your vehicle at any dealer really, or the better option is to sell it yourself, get a small loan to cover the gap (if there is any) and get a car at the dealer.

Is there any reason why you don't want to do private seller? I'm thinking that you might get the best deal that way when buying the van. If you want a good idea on the vans/mini-vans, I think edmunds.com is a good research tool to use.

Now, I don't know if this has crossed your mind, but are these babies definitely the last babies you will have? Because, well, if not (meaning you aren't going to do anything extreme) it might be better to go a bit past the 8 passenger mini-vans and just go full size. You can also drive around your kids' friends, your friends, etc in a bigger car. I only mention this because well, it's been my experience that when I plan a bit too 'tightly' something always comes up that makes it now impossible.

Ami
post #12 of 13
I propose yet another theory. I don't think I would worry about it much until after babies five and six arrive.

Honestly, I have a hard time visualizing most people making it too many homeschool coops or trips to visit family with twin newborns in a cold climate in the winter. For church you could have an older kid or two ready to go early and have them volunteer or do something else productive and supervised while you got yourself and the other kids ready. Anyway a bigger vehicle might really not be necessary until almost a year from now.

I think then you could rent a bigger van or whatever to check it out when you are ready to make your first big road trip.

I have friend with six (ranging from 3 to about 16) who also homeschools . Her and her DH have one regular seden and then they have a small school bus (think small special education bus) that they use for whole group outings. They bought it used for just a couple thousand dollars. It has regular shoulder seat belts and they can use forward facing seats/boosters without difficulty. It's cheap to insure. I'm sure its a beast to park and has other liabilities, but it might be something to consider?
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post

Is there any reason why you don't want to do private seller? I'm thinking that you might get the best deal that way when buying the van. If you want a good idea on the vans/mini-vans, I think edmunds.com is a good research tool to use.
We just never have. And I think DH feels "safer" this way.

Which is another issue-- he's really stepping up and taking charge on this one, and part of me hates to stick my oar in when he's being so proactive.
Quote:
Now, I don't know if this has crossed your mind, but are these babies definitely the last babies you will have?
I can't guarantee that. We seem to be ridiculously fertile, and I probably have a few more childbearing years and we don't use artificial birth control.
Quote:
Because, well, if not (meaning you aren't going to do anything extreme) it might be better to go a bit past the 8 passenger mini-vans and just go full size. You can also drive around your kids' friends, your friends, etc in a bigger car. I only mention this because well, it's been my experience that when I plan a bit too 'tightly' something always comes up that makes it now impossible.
Good point.

As far as going places with the babies-- yeah, I can guarantee we will. Like I said, we have family a couple hours away, the older kids are all involved in various and sundry activities that I am not going to make them give up, the co-op is extremely important, and we have lots of church obligations. The older two go to public school for orchestra, there's piano and dance lessons, and when we go on vacation together, we drive. I know it might seem weird, but I would really rather take care of this now than when the babies are here.
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