Monday, August 6, 2012

Whelp. I was waiting for that.

We drive a 1996 Mercury Villager.  
It has been a great car, but has been running on faith and tithing for the past several years.

The truth is, we destroy anything we touch.  It's kind of like the Midas Touch, only more like the 
Oscar the Grouch Touch.  
Or something.  
It is scratched, worn out, beat up, rusty and cracked.  
It makes a lot of crazy sounds--hums, squeals, squeaks and clunks.

I love this van.  
Because it starts every time I turn the key.
Well, unless a kid leaves the lights on overnight.
Until yesterday.  
This isn't to say we haven't had to work on the van because we certainly have had to, but it has still always started.  Since Justin's graduation, it seems to have picked up the pace as far as noises and struggling to start.  I think we maxed out our tithing credit limit.

So now we come to the major question in our house right now.  What do we do with our money?  
Do we fix up the old van knowing the transmission is also about ready to give up the ghost ($1500), the timing belt needs changing ($300-400) and the miles are getting up there at 210,000?
I just Blue Booked the car and it is only worth about $1500.

Or do we buy a new car and get a stupid car payment?

It seems obvious when I write it all out like that, but the last thing I wanted to do when we graduated was immediately dig ourselves into more debt. Grrrrrr.

Who knows.  With a little help from YouTube, I might just be able to fix that starter myself and keep it going for another 100,000 miles!

Methinks the optimistic me needs my realist husband right now.


  1. You could buy a used car in good condition. We have never wanted to be buried in car debt, so we always get used. Usually, it seems to work out that we've needed to buy a car at tax return time and we can pay cash, but our last purchase was because my husband totaled our van. It was old and not worth much, but it ran GREAT. But we only got $2500 from insurance because as I said, it was old and not worth much. $2500 wasn't enough to get a vehicle that would last, so we found a great deal on a Toyota Sienna (which I would HIGHLY recommend, by the way) and got a loan for the $4000 that was above and beyond the $2500 from insurance. We did a three year loan and our payments are less than $100 a month. We make double payments pretty regularly. So, it IS debt, but it's small debt and with a large family that needs reliable transportation, a necessary debt.

  2. Oh, also--my husband taught himself to do most car repairs out of financial necessity. The internet is a great place to learn new skills. :) He uses several car forums for help when he encounters something he can't figure out. Most of the time, he posts what the problem is and within 10 minutes there are experienced mechanics posting what's wrong and exactly how to fix it.

  3. I'm with you- hate to have a car payment when the old one still runs. There does come a time when it's worth putting the money into a newer car rather than fixing the old one- not an easy decision for sure. I will second Brandi's choise of a toyota sienna- we drive one and love it!

  4. I agree - used car in good condition. We have a Honda Odyssey with 170k miles & it's still going strong. The trunk area is big & the seats still fold down to flat. It seats eight with the extra middle seat.

  5. We looked at the Honda Odyssey and thought about getting one, but then discovered that the ones built in the years within our price range had been having lots of transmission problems- it was only a few years, but right in the range we were looking at. My brother happened to have one in that range and he's had lots of transmission problems. :(

  6. I miss seeing this van just down the road! Miss you Emily