Monday, August 6, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Ever had a series of unfortunate events?  Well, that pretty much sums up my week thus far.

My van, my 1999 Dodge finally went kaput.  And I say finally because it's had its series of problems but nothing too major. Even though we are without A/C since it will cost over $1000 to fix and I wasn't quite sure it would be a worthwhile investment. Oh, and no radio, something with the antenna...and the tape is stuck in the tape deck (yes, I said in cassette tape!). Well one morning I got up and was headed on my way as I routinely do and my van started to decelerate while I was accelerating...until it eventually came to a stop. Not being a stranger to issues with this vehicle, I found a safe place to pull over and go through the usual motions of calling for a tow...sigh... I'm guessing its either the engine or transmission...the two biggies when it comes to cars.

Now, a few months ago I started a "buy a new car" fund because I knew the van was on the brink.  With over 230,000 miles on it I was still confident that I could squeeze another year out if, maybe even 18 months.  Nonetheless, the van's demise did not care about my schedule.  So with just $600 in my new car fund and no working vehicle, what is a girl to do?

You may be saying, just go get a new car!  Well, I'm not interested in a car note.  I've had one for over a decade, my 99 Dodge was free and clear.  It's not cute, but it's free from a note and I'm on the road to building wealth (I'm not couponing for nothing :-) and a car note is not part of the picture.

So, what to do? Certainly, my paltry car fund won't get me much in terms of car. And I certainly wouldn't want a lemon.  A since we don't live in an area where public transportation is a viable option, I will have to have a car but what to do?

Since we still have 1 vehicle that works and since I work from home mainly and my office is 15 minutes away I think we can manage to share a car for the rest of the month which will give me time to get the van checked out to see what is going on and what the cost to fix it may be.  I have assumed that whatever the issue is exceeds the value of the van, so I am sure that fixing it won't be a viable option. My sweetie wants to buy me a car, and while I appreciate that I don't want ANY OF US incurring additional debt. And I think that's how people "get got".  Most people don't have money saved up to buy a new car (and by new I mean a used car) so they rush off and get a car at a dealership because of a low or no down payment and end up paying up the wazoo in interest and fees. So in the long-run its a bad financial decision, but it was based off of a short-term vision.  I don't want to do that.

My goal is to get through this month with the car that we have that does work, take the van to get checked and power save for a new car (around $2000, found some on Craigslist already) so we don't incur any additional debt. How am I going to get a hold of this amount of money without resorting to tricking (I joke, I joke) is another story...

What would you do?

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