Well it looks like I’m doing it again.
Last year, for a little while I thought we could afford a house. I fiddled with the numbers on paper and thought we could make it work. Hah! Funny joke.
I saw how insane property taxes are here. And how incredibly old a lot of the houses are here, and how much work so many of them in our price range needed. And how, if I wanted to live in a certain area, I’d have to spend way more than we could afford.
A house we could comfortably afford wouldn’t meet our needs in terms of what we wanted. The location, size, features…it was all wrong.
So rather than buy a house that we didn’t want (or worse — overextend ourselves by trying to get something we liked but couldn’t afford), we opted to keep on renting.
It was a bummer. But I’m glad we made that choice.
Now, it seems that we’re making a similar decision with regard to a new-to-us vehicle purchase.
We thought $10,000 would be a reasonable figure for a van. That’s a lot of money to me! We wanted something with excellent reliability ratings and mileage in the 50-75k range (or less).
I don’t think that combo is really possible. If I wanted a low-mileage van at that price, I’d have to go for a Kia or Chrysler, which both have a number of reliability concerns according to Consumer Reports and random people’s reviews on the internet.
Or, we could go with a more reliable brand — a Honda or Toyota — but we’d need to get something with a lot more miles on it. At least 100k.
Since we are a one-vehicle family, we need our one vehicle to be reliable. I know Hondas are supposed to go forever, but 100k miles is an awful lot.
Our Ford Focus is a good car. We’re the original drivers. It doesn’t quite have 35,000 miles on it.
We started saving for a second vehicle because we figured Shane would need a car to take to work when we moved to Indianapolis. We thought we’d have him drive the Ford to work, and we’d take our savings and buy a van.
But then, I thought, “That’s too expensive of a car for that. What if we sold it while it still had decent resale value and bought the van now?”
It’s already cramped in our backseat with one car seat. Add another, and good gravy that’s crowded. Plus, it’s annoying to have the front seats pushed way up. I like my legroom! But I also like extended rear-facing, and safety trumps my comfort.
The reality check
It wouldn’t be a good idea to compromise on what we wanted. Since we can’t afford what we want, we thought we’d step back a minute to look at our overall situation.
We’re only having one more baby this December. We don’t need a bigger vehicle for the time being. Would it be nice? Oh, of course. But I think we can make it work with our Ford. If we’re able to move to Indy next summer, then most of our family will be within an hour or so of us. We won’t need tons of cargo space to visit them. And I don’t expect to need space to transport family around, since again, they’ll be close enough where they’ll just be able to drive their own cars.
Perhaps I will get a different, slimmer car seat for Johnny. The new baby will get an infant seat and his or her own convertible, and I’ll be sure to get space-savers if possible.
Because truly, even a few really expensive car seats are still cheaper than the sales tax alone on a $10,000 vehicle purchase.
And since we do think we’ll need a van at some point in the future, we don’t want to just get a slightly bigger vehicle, like a crossover or a wagon or a bigger sedan. That vehicle wouldn’t be useful for too long, so I don’t think it’s worth the hassle or additional expense.
I don’t quite know what we’ll do about it in a year’s time. We might move to Indianapolis and have incredible luck and still be able to be a one-car family. Or maybe, we’ll get a cheapie commuter car for Shane. Or maybe, we’ll have him drive the Ford to work, as the original plan, and get the van for me to drive.
I do know that in the next year or two, we want to buy a house. That’s the bigger priority. We’ll be putting as much down as possible, to the point that it might mean we’d need to take out a loan for the van. Yes, debt.
I know Dave Ramsey would yell at me for even typing that, and tell me to keep on renting or to just buy a vehicle that we can pay for in cash. We’ll do that if we can make it work, but if not, we’ll get a short car loan and pay it off as quick as we can and not beat ourselves up over it.
It is truly frustrating to have to admit to yourself (and all your blog readers) that you just can’t afford to go ahead with what you wanted.
You can’t always get what you want…