Monday, August 13, 2007

We're officially a minivan family...

Ta da!!! Ok, I know you people are probably getting sick and tired of our recent acquisitions. Honestly, I'm starting to get sick of it myself. I don't like the extreme focus on stuff when you move that comes because you have to move all your stuff around and arrange it and possibly get some items for the new space. So this is the ultimate in stuffism. It started with the grill, moved on to the porch swing, and ends here with the new car. (Ok, not a new car, actually, a used car.) I promise not to try your patience with this much longer.

When David and I were in DC, we had one car. David took the Metro to work, and he got reimbursed for his transportation costs by Uncle Sam, and it was great. We saved a lot of money on miscellaneous car stuff. I didn't drive every day, certainly, and it was nice not to have all the expenses that go with a second car. Alas, we have moved to American suburbia. The thought of David leaving with the car in the morning, and me trapped in the house with a babbling infant all the day long was too much. And since David will actually need to use the car to drive to different courthouses in the state, it's not like I could take him and drop him off in the morning... We were faced with the car decision.

In my family, the trend was always to buy new and then drive the car until it shudders and falls apart in the middle of the road. But there are other families that do things differently, so this time around, we ventured into the world of used cars. Carmax made this venture a lot easier. Their inspections and warranties make looking at used cars a less scary proposition for me. So we hunted the Eastern seabord (online =) for a used Honda or Toyota minivan without too many miles on it, but that would give us a substantial savings for our dollars. There weren't many to be had with less than 50,000 miles on them, and some with just a few thousand on them were almost as much as something new. We almost went to Winston today to look at one that looked too good to be true. It was, because a smoker had owned it. That's a deal breaker for us.

So, it came down to an '04 Honda minivan at the Raleigh dealership with 39,000 miles on it. We were able to get this car for...$9,000 less than we would've paid for the same car, new, at the dealership. It came with some bells and whistles that we wouldn't have chosen, but if we'd gotten the bottom line model, we still paid $6,000 less than we would've if we'd gotten the same model new. Wow, what a savings! I was blown away. If you're willing to put up with a few little dings here and there, and if you don't mind missing out on that new car smell, a used car is the way to go, man!

And honestly, after the first rush of excitement has worn off, which for me, is in about 5 minutes, the purchase of a new car just isn't worth the extra money to me. Sometimes it amazes me how quickly I can come down from the rush after getting something new. Acquiring stuff just doesn't satisfy for long, and I'm trying to learn that and to make wise decisions based on hard facts because of it. If we get a quality used car that will serve our (hopefully) growing family well for the next 10 years, that is most important. I shouldn't get emotional about it and blow the budget on something that won't satisfy longer than a few minutes. Yeah, I am perfectly aware that I am completely middle class, and many people don't even have one car, much less two, and to them, this car would be complete extravagance. So in that sense, I feel guilty over getting this car, but it seemed like the best choice for the life we hope to be living with up to 3 kids in the next several years...

4 years ago, David and I moved to Birmingham with just my little 1996 Cavalier. We got a Toyota Camry back then. At the time, we'd just started trying to get pregnant, and we had high hopes that it would happen sometime soon. We looked at minivans back then, and we considered getting one. I'm thankful to the Lord that He stopped us. I think I might've sold it in the three years of infertility that followed. It would've been too hard driving it around and getting asked where the kids were. We got that question when we borrowed a minivan for a week. 3 years of questioning looks would've done me in. But now, we have a minivan. And I'm excited about it! I know some people hate minivans. They think they're so uncool. But to me, getting a minivan is a dream come true. I love the thought of hauling baby gear and sports gear around in it. I love thinking about loading it up with all the luggage for a family vacation to the beach. It's a family car, and we're a family! Oh, the places this family will go in our suburban silver chariot! =)

3 comments:

Sarah Shingler said...

So happy for you guys! It seems you are now ready to turn 30 with all the trappings of early middle age....babies.. stable income...mini-van. Don't go all soccer mom on me !!!
Seriously though.. very cool. When we had a car I often dreamed of being able to just throw our camping stuff in the back instead of having to play tetrus in the trunk... plus it's a dream for siblings.. you each get your own seat!! :)

Kelli B. said...

WOW! COngrats on becoming the middle class dream! I feel the same way about our minivan!! It's definitely a rite of passage!

Paula said...

You did the right thing! A van is the way to go. The benefits are all the stuff you can pack in and riding higher is a plus. Now you can change diapers in the van if you want and nursing is easier if you do it in the car. Choosing a foreign van was best...I'm envious. Mike and I have been saying that if we trade our van in one day, we will definitely get a Honda or Toyota one instead. You are going to love your new wheels! Love you!