May 31 2010

Possibly selling our car? Advice, please

I’m going to need some advice with this one, so I hope you’ll comment.

If you’ll notice the progress bar in my sidebar, you’ll see that we’re setting aside money for a “second car fund.” The goal amount was $8,000 and we have about $4,300 of it so far.

We have a car that has about 34,500 miles and is a 2006 model. Based on Kelley Blue Book and the asking prices of similar cars on craiglist, I feel like listing it at $9,500 would be a fair price.

We can probably fit two car seats in the back, but it’s going to be a tight squeeze. Right now, Johnny’s car seat is in the middle and the front seats don’t have to be as far forward as it would if his seat was directly behind the driver’s. With two car seats, the front seats will need pushed up just a tad bit more. That’s not comfortable.

While we don’t necessarily need a different car in the near future, we’re playing with the idea.

Our car will continue to depreciate and in a year’s time it will be worth even less.

Shane takes public transportation to work and that will continue. We still want to be a one-car family.

So where does the “second car” come into place? Ahh. I haven’t told you about this yet.

So um, we’d like to move back to Indiana. Possibly spring or summer 2011, or maybe later if it takes Shane awhile to find a good job.

We’re going to focus on Indianapolis. The city does have a bus system but it doesn’t go to the suburbs and it doesn’t seem to be the greatest public transit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Indianapolis does seem to be a drive-to-commute city. We *might* be able to make it work as a one-car family if we live close enough to his job or we happen to live on a convenient bus route, but it may not work out that way.

So that is the reason we are saving for another vehicle.

We were originally going to use the $8,000 in savings or so and buy a minivan and have Shane drive our current car to work.

But that might be more expensive than it needs to be. Because again, I do think our car is worth around $9k or so. That’s a lot of money for a commuter car. We think we could find something reasonably reliable for $3-4k, if we need to buy a second vehicle at all. Yeah?

Selling our car and getting a van now, and then getting a second vehicle when and if we need one seems to make a little bit of sense. We could save a few thousand in doing so — a few thousand that would go toward buying a house.

If you were in our situation, how would you proceed?



14 Responses to “Possibly selling our car? Advice, please”

  1. You’ll need a second car in Indianapolis if you & the kids need a car during the day & can’t take Shane to work & pick him up. There is a bus system, but it is not very developed, and does not reach very far into the suburbs, if that’s where you think you’ll end up.

    We did what you’re describing- traded in our compact car for a family car (station wagon) and bought a less expensive commuter car with our car fund. It’s worked out well, and we got a better family car than we would have otherwise because the compact car we traded in was worth about twice what was in our car fund.
    .-= Joanna´s last blog ..Big Weekend! =-.

  2. I might think about selling your car and purchasing a $3-4,000 commuter car now and save up for the van when you know you’ll be moving to Indianapolis. Mostly because if you don’t need the van now and you could be okay with the commuter car it would prevent you from being vehicle-less for any stretch of time. If you sell your car, it is likely to take you a little while to find a van–unless you’re doing a trade-in at a dealership (for which you would probably not get the $9000 or so your car is worth). That’s just my thought!

  3. Unless Indianapolis revamps its bus system sometime in the next year or so, you will definitely need more than one car when you come here.

    IndyGo is one of the most out of date public transit systems, especially for a city the size of Indianapolis. It’s actually quite ridiculous, really.

    And I definitely think you could find something reliable for 3k-4k. Especially since you won’t be driving it all that much.

    I would do what you’re describing…sell your car and get a van now. It will go further and be more convenient for you and your family. Also, you’re right about that extra money towards a house. It would be a pretty big chunk of a down payment.

  4. It is really disappointing how yucky the public transit is there. We’re such fans of trains and busses! But whaddya do.

    Courtney — I thought about what we might do about being vehicle-less for awhile. So I think rather than being totally without a car, we’d probably get the “new” car first and then sell the old one. We can float that for a little bit.

    So much to think about!

  5. I think your plan sounds like a good one! You could probably find a pretty decent commuter car for $4k as long as Shane’s commute isn’t TOO far. The only advice I have is be careful not to end up with two unreliable cars. When you buy a used car for a really low price, you run the risk of ending up with a car that’s constantly in and out of the shop. You need to make sure you have at least one vehicle you can count on, so if you get an older commuter car, you’ll want to spend a little more on the van to make sure you don’t end up with two cars that have problems.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Business as usual =-.

  6. I’m not going to be much help, but we are going to be faced with the same decision in a year or two (whenever the next baby comes). Paul wants a station wagon, I want a minivan, so we’ll need to look into all our options. We’ve decided we’ll trade in (or sell) our current car instead of just adding a second car, which makes me sad because I love my car! I hope we’re able to get a decent family car without having to take out a car loan. With only one car, you can’t get an unreliable car.

    I will say though that Paul got a car for $600 one time. It lasted him for 2 years and he had a 45 minute each way commute. And he did four 15 hr+ trips in that thing! (But, it did die after 2 years.) I bought my first car for $2500 and it was great – we did many trips with it, it ran fine though we did have a few $800 repairs, and a $1100 repair once. We only sold it because we were trying to downsize. Just some encouragement for finding a more inexpensive commuter car. :-)
    .-= ashley @ twentysixcats´s last blog ..happy graduation day =-.

  7. I think it’s a good idea to get a cheap commuter car. My husband and I shared a car for years, then once I started working fulltime, we couldn’t work out our schedules well enough to continue sharing. I found a 1996 Honda Civic on Craigslist for $500. We went and checked it out and got it. The seller was convinced it was a dud, but after fluid changes and spark plugs, it ran perfectly! That was four years ago, we STILL have that Civic and he drives it daily for work. We’ve had to repair a few minor things over the years, but the car has still cost us less than $1000 total. There are some great deals out there, especially through private sellers. But always get them checked out and know what you’re getting into.
    .-= AJ´s last blog .. =-.

  8. I also like your plan. It really does seem like overkill for Shane to use a $9000 car to commute to work. My husband and I currently both have cars valued at less than $2000 each and they run like champs and never give us problems!!! (a 1998 Mazda Protege and a 1998 Honda Accord).
    We plan to sell the Accord and buy a late-model used minivan at some point. I’m not sure whether it will be after baby #1 arrives later this summer or if we’ll wait until we have baby #2 to upgrade to the minivan…
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..Ten Fingers and Ten Toes, Unless You’re a Chicken =-.

  9. If it were me, I would keep your car, especially if it’s one that’s highly rated by Consumer Reports. You should be able to get a lot of years of good use out of it; plus you will be saving yourself some potential car repairs. A good $3 to $4K car, is almost always higher mileage and has more worn parts that will need to be replaced.

    That said, please don’t feel obligated to do what I’m saying I would do : ) You and your hubby do what you feel most comfortable with.

    Take Care,

    Trixie
    .-= Trixie´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  10. I agree with Karen. I think you will need a car in Indy. I would get the van now that’s reliable so you will be happy now, especially with baby #2. :)
    .-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Why I Should be Amish =-.

  11. Can’t answer what I’d do if I were you, but if you were me, you would NOT move to Indiana. You would move somewhere with a relatively compact (i.e. not sprawling) metro area, a good climate and good bicycling facilities (or as a second choice, a good public transit system), and start reaping thousands in savings and immeasurable quality-of-life benefits from that. Indianapolis is a bad decision. My advice is to avoid that mistake.

  12. Roland — haha! Yeah, Indianapolis does not have good climate or public transit. But it IS close to all of our families and that’s really important to us. And the cost of housing is really affordable there — another bonus.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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