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minivan test run

November 8th, 2017 at 07:11 pm

So I'm renting a minivan for a week. Not because I want to but on Friday I was in a fender bender with a high school senior in a parking lot. I swerved to avoid him from running his stop sign and making a left turn. Fortunately it wasn't too much damage. However I did force him to stop and call his mom. He was about to drive away. Sigh, if you have teenagers tell them that the number one thing is to call you. Don't cry and say my parents will kill me. Yes they'll be upset but I think they'd be more upset if you just drove off and didn't call them.

Luckily it wasn't too much damage. My car will be ready by Monday after a week in the shop. So I am filing through my insurance who will go after his insurance. He offered me $3000 or more to pay for all the damage off the books of insurance. I said no.

My friend later told me it was wise since he was a minor and underage not to accept going through cash.

That being said I don't like my insurance company commerce west through AAA at all. They are incompetent and slow. I didn't get the emails until Tuesday when I called for the 3rd day in a row looking for my forms and I had to email the claims worker because they couldn't get my email right. I further had called and reported everything Friday right after and they still couldn't get the paperwork in order to the shop and rental car company. I had to call and write down the claim number which was wrong by the way. Ridiculous.

This is the same company that didn't cancel my renter's insurance when we bought a house. Then didn't update my address or mail me a renewal for auto insurance because they sent it to our rental. Which boggles the mind since I prepaid to our mortgage company a year of home insurance and it would stand that cancelling our rental policy would go hand in hand? At least that's what I was told. Then updating the address I also assume was common sense wasn't. They fixed it eventually.

This is totally my fault for getting kicked off of Ameriprise for non-payment because we were traveling and I didn't get the mail until too late. However as of March 10th we are going back to Ameriprise because they are competent when handling claims.

Anyway though since we have rental car coverage I got a minivan to test run what it would be like. I have to admit I love the convenience. I won't buy a dodge caravan it's terribly uncomfortable driving. But wow it's super useful with carpooling and just picking up kids. I am definitely on board with buying one.

The only hesitation I had was waiting until next year the 2019 Subaru Ascent. But I think I want a minivan with the larger trunk. Of course I have to really consider the options.

looking at cars

October 9th, 2017 at 10:02 pm

So I don't need a new car. But I want one. But more likely this will just be an exercise in thinking. Researching and contemplating new versus used and type. I'm not sure if I'm a minivan person or a big suv. I want something with 3 rows and carries more than 5 people.

Let me have it. Tell me all the pros and cons of each. What am I looking at? All minivans. I'm not sure if I should do used or new. It'll be a car we keep a long time. I haven't kept my car as long as I should. I already feel guilty contemplating getting rid of a 7 year old car. It's barely broken in.

I'm also thinking any SUV with three rows and the ones that come to mind are highlander, acura mdx, honda pilot and not sure whatever else.

This is not a new fetish but it is finally getting more serious contemplation.Tell me what you think and why certain suv or minivans are better than others. Did anything weigh into your decision? If you went used did you get a certain brand or model or just used suv or used minivan?

I should probably put this on the site.

90k service and then some

November 14th, 2016 at 04:45 pm

So my 2010 Subaru Outback has just about 90k miles on it. Wow that went fast. Anyway it cost me $524 for the service and fixing a headlight. Yes my DH could do it but it takes a lot of time to replace the headlight while being really careful with the plastic shield so for $30 he said have them do it. Actually the part was $25 and that's what they charged me free labor.

But they told me the serpentine belt needed to be redone for $115 and front brakes $350. I need to call other dealerships and see if any are having a deal and coupon in the area. Also on the radar is the timing belt to be done at 105k miles which is around $700. Ugh.

But at least by maintaining the car I'll get a lot more years of use out of it. We did buy it new and except for all this routine maintenance the serpentine belt being the only thing that hasn't been "routine", this car has been incredibly reliable and great. I had a corolla for 14 years preivously also bought new and my DH forced me to sell it when we had kiddo #2. Lack of Latch, airbags, ABS made him uncomfortable with me driving it anymore. He'd have gotten rid of it in 2010 but we couldn't afford it.

Recently we got to talking about our plans to keep this car. I laughed and said until DK#1 is driving so 16 years. He said no way. We'll wait newer safety features. I will admit the rear camera and sensors I drove in the rental for the day is nice. I'd also like a 3rd row option. But those are wants and not needs.

How long do you keep your cars? Do you keep them till they break or do you trade them in if your needs change? Do you only buy used and then exchange them when you feel like it?

The good, the bad, the ugly

July 15th, 2016 at 06:44 pm

Lots of news of all sorts. Good news is I saved another $20 on our trip to hawaii by checking prices. The one way ticket dropped to $199 and I called the airlines and got $20 on each of 3 tickets credited back to me. Sometimes it pays to price check.

Second I took my car in for a an oil change and found that I might need new calipers $900 repair. However I took it to the dealership instead for a free 40 point check and they recommended instead just replacing the rotors for $370. They also said they would price match any other deal ad and would replace for just the cost of parts the burnt out lightbulbs. I found a local dealer with a deal for brakes for $199 so I'll get the work done potentially for $250 instead of $900.

The bad news? Well my auto insurance went up to $1400 for 6 months for 2 cars and 2 drivers. I was paying $700 so the price doubled. We are bad drivers. DH has two accidents and I had my first ever accident in January. As you know he's had many accidents, but until I had one we were forgiven for 1 of his accidents. Ugh, now I may shop around for better deals. I might also raise the deductible from $500 to $1000. Of course they said one of his accidents comes off in Janaury so we'd be back to $700 for 6 months. Yes sometimes I think about my DH not driving but he won't give it up. And I realize me typing that as the most recent person to have an accident is ironic. But right now we have to many other things to deal like starting a new job and figuring out a commute, where to live, and budget/taxes to resolve the issue.

The ugly? Well we were supposed to see a friend who was visiting her family nearby and meet her new baby and other kids. But her dad unexpectedly passed away a few days before she flew in. It was awful since he lived alone and she hadn't heard from him so her aunt called and said she hadn't heard from him in a week so they drove out and found him passed away. It was awful because she supposed to have come around the holidays but she didn't because her job asked her to come back early from maternity leave and she felt obligated to do so. Her dad hadn't had the chance to meet her 3rd child yet. We connected over the phone and she expressed regret over not just coming and screwing the job. Ugh.

Sometimes it's so hard to know the right decision. And it's worse yet to know that money drives most of our decisions but how can we know if it's the right decision? I guess this is why we work and save. So we can make the best decision we feel without the pressure of finances. I just am going to promise myself we are going to try to become Financially independent as soon as possible.

Car Update

January 28th, 2016 at 06:04 am

Yes they are fixing the car, not sure when it will be done, but it will be done. Of course it's not cheap and I am betting when they open the car up it might be more than $8k estimated repairs. But it does make my life and decision making easier right now. Right now we also have to replace both carseats. I'm really glad I don't have to worry about a new car for a bit.

Another thing is that we are still torn what do about the tuition. My DH leans to paying cash and using our home equity instead of a credit card. Well actually just spending down our cash cushion and tapping our home equity cash sitting in our checking account online if needed. It's earning 0.9%.

Decisions, decision.

cars my kryptonite

January 20th, 2016 at 09:06 pm

I hate cars. I think cars are my krptonite. Got rear ended yesterday and thankfully I am fine, no one got hurt, but now my car is in the shop. Not only rear ended but rear ended into someone else. So I should say that I have damage on both ends.

The problem? Well yes insurance will cover. I may still have to pay my $500 deductible because I did damage the car ahead of me potentially. I also was hit by someone new to the country who was renting a car and no they don't have insurance. They had something called self-insurance form. So I'm crossing my fingers that the woman bought insurance from Avis. Otherwise who knows? My agent told me that they will collect for me being rear ended but I still hit the person in front whom I braked and had a handspan between our cars, hence why I went right into their trailer hitch!!!

Of course it's being called potential total. ie the value of the car will be worth less than the repairs. I hate that idea. I mean yes the car is worth probably $10-11k. But it's great and no way can I find another subaru outback with 72k miles in that condition. I am so pissed over the situation.

I know we were thinking in another year we'd get a different car potentially. But that was after we figured out more things about our lives. Third kid? Where we'd live, etc. We'd know if we wanted a minivan or a SUV with third row. If we didn't mind staying with same size. And no way can we buy the same car with same mileage and condition. UGGGH.

Who knows how this will unfold. Or how long it will take to resolve.

car scenario and happy holidays

December 21st, 2015 at 04:25 pm

Okay instead of leasing a car what about buying a new car every 4 years, but keeping it 8 years? Would that make more financial sense? DH gets a new car every 4 years and I keep it another 4 years till he buys another car and hands me down the old car? We could both have subaru outbacks and we'll just be cycling through them every 4-8 years? Would that make financial sense? Yes a constant car payment but only for 1 car and it wouldn't I think break the budget. We will just be driving the same car. And if the technology hasn't improve in 4 years we hang on another year?

I was super excited after thanksgiving and then exhausted from making around 20 dozen cookies. Now that it's done I'm excited again for the holidays! I don't like the business of it but I love the season. I love the lights, the music, the joy and the feeling that another year is winding down. I know others hate getting older but I feel it's another year, another success. I'm older, alive, and have a wonderful life. I love getting older mentally (not physically). After seeing so many friends lose their parents and some friends getting ill I really do appreciate my health and family's health and well being and another year together.

My wish for 2016 is that it's as exciting and happy as 2015. I know for a fact if you had asked me in 2014 Christmas I would have said I was excited because I thought I would be moving in 2016. Now it's turned out we moved in 2015 and who knew life would be so good.

Buying Cheap stuff and car repairs

December 9th, 2015 at 05:04 pm

I forgot to mention I bought the cookie scoop from Amazon and loved/hated it. I loved the size and ease but it broke on the first batch. So I called and returned it. I explained that I had thought it would be more durable and the reviews were 4 stars. I bought the 3 pack cookie scoop for $14 I think. After returning it I bought the 1 oxo cookie scoop for $12.95 instead (small) and love it. It worked fantastically. I usually look for deals and I usually honestly don't buy the most expensive thing. But I did have the large oxo cookie scoop and my DH said why did you buy cheap? Buy something that will last and you won't curse at. Sigh. I learned my lesson well. For the most part I will admit our cookware and utensil I tend to wait and hem and haw about spending it but love, love, love and use, use, use our stuff. I love my calphalon pots and pans and roasting dishes. I bought pyrex and corningware and use it all the time. I use my kitchenaid mixer quite a bit as well. And the Le Crueset dutch oven I wonder why I didn't buy it sooner. Most of my cookware is now over 10 years old and still is in great shape. I tell anyone getting married buy the good stuff it seriously lasts and you use it everyday or more than once a day.

Of course I have a lot of stuff I would love to replace like a small crockpot that I use A LOT. But 15 years in except for size it works like a champ. I have a 5 qt and would like a 7 or 8 qt. I make soups, curries, chicken, pork, tomato sauce, apple sauce, etc in it all the time. Of course my coffee pot which DH is still mulling over.

Plus we got another opinion on the car and the repairs were still $1800. Along with the suggestion that the alternator looks older and might go within 6 months. Ugh. We're still deciding what to do. Thoughts?

update the car and coffeemaker

December 8th, 2015 at 07:40 pm

So the problem isn't with the struts with the car it's with the joints attaching to the car. Also the mechanic suggested that alternator will be going soon. The current estimate for the work without the alternator is $2000. Not sure what the alternator will cost in the future. The car is worth between $5000-$5500 if we do private party sale versus trade in. Trade in value is approximately $4800. We are taking it to another mechanic for a second estimate tomorrow. We aren't sure what to do about the car. Sink money in? The mechanic hedged to use about fixing it, I think because he suggested the alternator would be going within 6 months he predicted and I am assuming that he doesn't think doing the repairs then that repair in 6 months worth it. I guess that's very honest since we'd be using him to do both repairs. He didn't say so but I wonder if he's also thinking that we may have more repairs crop up?

What are our options? Buy a beater? Buy another used car? Try to make do with one? Buy/lease a new car. My DH isn't keen on being a one car family. I don't know what the best choice is. Sink in $2k and potentially I know more I'm going to guess $500 in 6 months or more? Should we? Only to dump it in 6-12 months? I hate cars. I wish life were simple and we could snap our fingers and the perfect car for the perfect price would appear.

For sake of comparison the car DH needs the subaru legacy with eyesight. Only available on the premium or limited models. It appears to be around $250/month leased with $2k down. This will probably be our perpetual car until he chooses to no longer drive. Unless someone else comes out with better technology. It has driver assisted driving, rear sensors, automatic steering, etc. My BIL bought the same car and loves it. He too is leasing for the same reason. Uggh.

I still haven't used or returned the coffeemaker. Partly because I can't decide and partly because I haven't had time to do the return with other things.

the car, cards, and coffeemaker conundrum

December 1st, 2015 at 05:16 pm

So my DH's car probably needs to have new struts and shocks done. It is a 2006 Hyundai Sonota we bought used in 2012. It's been a great commuter car and it has not quite 80k miles. We bought it with 55k miles on it and single owner from a dealership for $10k out the door. When we moved cross country we considered selling it but because we were unsure what situation we might find ourselves in for work/commute we decided to keep the car. We decided that the devil we knew with our car was better than selling the car, and figuring out we needed a second car and rushing to buy another used car which we might not be as sure about. Also we weren't interested in spending another $10k and felt we might not get as reliable a car for say the $5k we could have gotten for it. As it turns out where we rented we got a house in a nice area for a good price because we have the second car. The issue now is do we repair the car and sink money into it when the plan is to dump it in 6 months? Or do we run it into the ground for 6 months and worry about dumping it later? Ugh cars are always like this at the end. The worry of dumping good money after bad.

The plan has always been when my DH gets a job he gets a new car. It will be a leased Subaru Legacy with safety features. Dues to circumstances this is the one of two cars he can drive. And it will be leased also due to circumstances that we will be leasing permanently his cars in the future. We need the safety features constantly updated and when and if the self driving car ever becomes available we will likely be one of the first people to try and lease one.

The card conundrum is that I do holiday cards. I love them and have done them for over a decade. My DH and I did them before kids. We always sent out photo cards and love to get them in return. We're up to around 100 people/cards. I cut my list by saying that people who didn't send me a card will not receive my card this year. Sticking to a list of 100 is a bit tough because I do cards to teachers with their gifts as well and having a large family. Previously I had about 10 of my mom's friends whom I had to send to because she asked and I had extra cards. Very few perhaps 2 ever sent back a card. Well this year I cut them because I needed the extra cards for our own friends. My mom got upset over the fact I cut people. Am I obligated to send cards to these people when they don't send me cards? Am I obligated to send them a gift if they give my mom a gift for my kids?

Finally I'll write about my black friday shopping in another post but I will say I bought a brand new programmable Black and Decker 12 cup coffeemaker for $9.72 from Walmart on Black Friday. The conundrum? I don't know if I should keep it. We have a coffee maker I bought on black friday 2000 also from walmart for probably $5. It survived the move and still works. For the most part we haven't used this particular coffee maker except for guests. DH used to only take 1 single serve senseo to go in his mug to work then drink coffee for free at work. He also only used the single serve on the weekend. I am not a coffee drinker so making a pot used to be a waste. However now that DH's home instead of single serve I'll make 2-4 cups for him to have throughout the day because it's cheaper. So the coffee maker is finally being used. He mentioned he'd like a programmable coffee maker and I grabbed this one on deal. But the truth is we don't really need it. When DH goes back to work he won't be using it as much. If it does give up the ghost maybe we'll be a much nicer fancier model? I'm just torn. Thoughts?

minivan or not?

June 2nd, 2015 at 12:23 am

Can you believe we are still struggling with buying a used minivan? We can't decide. I want one more and my DH is hesitant. Which by the way we've flipped flopped back and forth the past month. He's been yes then no. Then yes then no.

Right now there is a 2013 off lease Honda Odyssey for $18k with 32k miles. It's a certified preowned from a dealer. We haven't seen it but I'm curious since it's 1 owner and certified.

I think it might be a good buy. I think that we could drive it cross country and then sell it since my DH isn't sure we need a minivan. I think we do. I also think we are moving somewhere that we are likely to be going on more road trips.

But it's a lot of money outlay right now. Granted we could borrow it and we'll have a down payment from the trade in or sale of the sonata.


More calculations on Moving Part 3

May 19th, 2015 at 01:16 am

After test driving the minivan, it wasn't bad and I liked the roominess. But pricing out the shipping it is $1350 for Sonata and $1500 for the subaru. At that price I'm really not sure it's worth shipping the Sonata worth maybe $6500. And the subaru it is, but perhaps to save $1500 it's worth just driving that and deciding if we need a second car when we get there.

Further calculations on moving. Of course we do what we do because we're OCD crazy researchers trying to figure out the cost of our stuff. So my DH calculated the cubic feet of each pod and the cost to move each pod. As well as calculating ABF Uhaul the linear foot cost and the size per cubic foot for that linear foot. A linear foot is actually 1 x 8 x 9 for the truck but we have to decrease the walls. We also got the interior dimensions of the pods we were considering.

We have a complex excel spreadsheet and it works out to Door to Door Pods are $3.72 per cubic foot to move (223 cubic feet) , Packrat/Pods is $6.05 per cubic foot (1024 cubic ft), ABF Upack is $9.95 per cubic feet for first 5' minimum but then goes to $2.13 per cubic feet (we used 16 linear ft). But we obviously have at lest 5 linear feet so really our cost will be $2.13 per cubic feet.

Further thoughts are that using movers even transporters like Budget Van Lines is hiring is $5800 = $6.76 per cubic foot or $5.13 per cubic foot doing it ourselves. Now this is doing their suggested 6000 lbs and approximately 857 cubic ft. So using movers isn't necessarily more expensive than doing it ourselves.

Of course without selling single more piece of furniture we are at approximately with our storage and measurements 857 cubic feet. But we both know that is going down since we are selling more stuff off.

But the question still lies what the most economical way for us to move and what is worth moving?

So we have to further balance out the cost per cubic foot which we did to all our furniture since we could measure it. And we have that on a spreadsheet and we are currently evaluating costs. Most stuff is worth more than $2.13 per cubic feet. However we are between a rock and hard place.

If we move and our stuff doesn't fit in our rental what do we do? And we are definitely moving into a rental before buying so we have to move again. So is it worth purging to buy new stuff we may decide to purge in 1 year when we move into a home we buy?

These are questions hard to put a price tag on. Hope I haven't bored you and made you question the price of moving stuff.

cars - my nemesis

June 27th, 2014 at 05:06 pm

Ugh cars. Yet another car accident with my DH. Again it wasn't his fault but this is getting annoying and tiring. I should probably at this rate be getting car rental protection on our car insurance. I've never done it since we have 2 cars, but he was hit again while parked. Took our DK1 to swim lessons came out and the entire back passenger side was scraped up.

So it's a hit on our car insurance but it's not a moving violation. It'll cost us $500 deductible but it won't affect our rates hopefully.

This is his second accident in 2 months. Last month he was reversed into while waiting for a parking spot. I can't stand this. If it matters this is the third of the year and it's only 6 months in! The horror!

I just keep telling myself it's just a car and everyone's fine. But I'm always the one getting the insurance done, getting the car fixed, following up with everyone, etc. It's just always more work on my plate hence the stress. Maybe we'll get ride of the car one day.

money saving tip #5

June 26th, 2014 at 08:49 pm

Over the weekend I went through hell trying to find a deal to rent a mininvan. On Tuesday we went on a overnight with my in-laws who are visiting to a resort area. Got a great deal on a midweek, just before season hotel. The small problem was that we either had to drive two cars or rent a minivan large enough to hold 6.

Well the best prices I found were $91/day through normal rentals both hotwire or carrentals.com. I did see zipcar for $88/day but turned into $98/day including taxes and gas a day. I shuddered at the prices. But then I decided to google car rentals from car companies and up popped toyota, ford, and lincoln mercury.

I called around Monday and was told I could do it since it was mid week for $65/day = $70/day including taxes. Score. Mind you this was farther out and in the city it was $95/day. But still for $140 for 2 days I feel we got a steal. Car dealerships never come up on searches by the way.

So did I save money? Probably broke even. We spent $65 for the minivan so $50 savings on gas. We paid for parking at the beaches $15 x 2 = $30 (only 1 car versus 2), parking $10 in lots = $90 at least not quite $140, but we did save on wear and tear on two cars so we probably broke even.

Even so next time if I can't score lower than rental companies I'll be sure to check car dealerships. And the bigger savings, not buying a minivan just for the times we need to seat 6. Of course a third kid would push us over the edge.

money saving tip #4

June 19th, 2014 at 11:05 am

Drive car until wheels fall off. But sell if it doesn't fit your needs, not wants, NEEDS!

Strangely enough my mom and MIL have both driven cars for about 20 years. My mom is still driving her 96 Toyota Avalon with about 90k miles. And my MIL last car was a 86 Diesel Jetta she sold in 2006 with 200km because she has trouble seeing and she rarely drives period.

As it is in 2012 I got rid of my 1st car a 98 Corolla bought in 99. I felt pain in my heart as I let of the old me. The college me. The young, fun, cute, and carefree me. I drive a 2010 subaru outback for my two kids. Not having a car payment did a huge boost to our budgets. My DH and I both hadn't had car payments since 2003 until 2010.

DH got the Outback in 2010 when his 2000 Ford Focus basically burst into flames. Yeah that American car experience was not a good one. And with one kid I drove my corolla until we had our 2nd kiddo.

Then my DH wanted a bigger, safer car. I would have preferred him driving my corolla but he wanted something bigger. So we compromised and bought a used 2006 hyundai sonata with low mileage. It had side airbags, latch, and abs. I mean it did hurt my frugal heart but alas marriage is about compromise.

Now we have two car payments due to be paid off 8/2015. $385 and $200 a month. Ugh. And we spent $10k and $20k on our cars. I can guess how much monthly people are paying driving around in $50k+ cars. It truly is a money pit.

But if everything goes to plan...In another year or two we'll buy a minivan and replace the Sonata without a car payment. We started setting aside the $400/month to replace/repair our cars ever 6 years. And the subaru will be inherited by our kid when she turns 16.

I have to say I'm still torn about used versus new. Our used car has been decent but in the 2 years needed calipers done along with brakes and rotors. I don't know if its because it's a hyundai versus a toyota/subaru so the reliability is the issue, instead of it being used.

But the minivan? We'll see where we are financially. I'd like to pay off the cars this summer but we'll see.