Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shopping for a New Car, Part 1

Two years ago at the end of this month, my 1996 Chrysler Sebring (aka Sylvia Sebring) took her last extended road trip. Well, attempted road trip - a shredded tire changed those plans for me. Last December my parents moved to Spooner, WI, a mere 2 hour drive away. I did make a couple of trips to see them, but even those trips came to a halt as it became apparent my car would not be around much longer. The most obvious issue was the hole in the muffler - obvious by the sound of the car, not that you can see the hole... :)

Anyone who reads my blog or talks to me for any length of time knows that I have two concerns: getting out of debt and buying a new car. Thankfully last year I was able to get out of the dumb-debt (aka credit card) and this year I'm working on eliminating the smart-debt (aka school loan); however, the need for a new car has been weighing on me even more than the last of my smart-debt. (I'm not saying that I'm comfortable with my smart-debt. I plan to continue to eliminate that as quickly as I can.)

So since this need of a new car has become all-consuming, I dropped hints, asked out-right, and was just short of begging family members to go car shopping with me. None of them volunteered. None were available. No one would go.

I realized a few weeks ago that this was a venture that would fall completely on my shoulders. It wasn't something that I knew anything about and I because I would be financing the car, I really was scared of the commitment. So many questions - how do you tell the sales guy you only want to spend under $200 per month? Is $200 a month even going to get me much of a car? how will I withstand the pressure to not get sucked into an expensive lease on a snazzy new car?

With the little that I did know about car shopping I had looked online a few times, but what I like, were those real options for me?  The longer I looked and the more I worked the numbers in my budget, the more I was convinced that $200 was the magic number. (My intention has been that when I pay off my student loan I will use that money to make increased payments on my car; therefore I would shorten my loan.)

A couple weekends ago I fully intended to go car shopping and even thought that it might workout to go an evening sometime during the week. Well, that weekend I got sick and didn't go shopping because I was home in bed.

Come back later for Shopping for a New Car, Part 2.
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