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Cars and me

March 24th, 2022 at 05:38 pm

Sigh, so I took in the 2015 Sienna minivan for a repair to the sliding door.  Covered by recall and it wasn't opening.  A clip thing was broken or missing.  Well anyway I come back and they say great free.  But we recommend you do the water pump, 90k service, and drive belt for $1700. I say thanks I'll have to consider it and will make an appointment later.  The guy says if your car starts to overheat stop driving.  I will probably call a friends mechanic and see if I can get a better deal.  

No i'm not replacing the minivan it's great. I plan on keeping it forever.  I'd rather buy 2 more cars and keep the minivan until it breathes it's last breath.  Which in my world will be another 15 years.  But that aside, I realize that DH and seriously not car people and maybe it's because we just aren't great drivers and we get super unlucky with our cars.

So then on the legacy which just got repaired over the bumper, sensor and light, I emailed the adjuster and was told it went to adjucation and we'll see what happens.  Maybe I get my deductible maybe I don't.  It'll be another few months. Okay but then my DH came home and told me that the car was hit again.  Sigh.  No idea but on driver door bottom.  I am sitting staring at it thinking do I really need to get it repaired?  Do we make a claim?  Or just pay out of pocket?

Then I get in one morning and the subaru windshield is cracked. I don't recall a rock hitting it but we've had a ton of rock claims.  Like I said cars and us aren't exactly great friends.  FWIW we typically pay $1000/6 month for insurance on 2 cars and 2 drivers. This is on me since I've had two speeding tickets within a year.  3/2020 I got a ticket for 36 miles an hour in a 30 mph zone.  And second ticket i got was 77 mph on freeway of 70 mph limit in 8/2020.  So I deserve my stupid tax.  DH also got a few tickets of 26  and 28 mph in 20 mph zone (camera tickets so not moving violations you just pay stupidity).  

This could also be why we are just blah and meh about cars they seem like headaches for us.  I do think it would be nice to get a newer EV but then I think nope. It's too much and I might like it too much. Better off sticking with boring and safe.

Electric car or not?

March 11th, 2022 at 06:00 am

Well we have a 2016 Subaru Legacy and a 2015 Toyota Sienna and they are both great cars in great shape and fairly new.  The legacy has 51k miles and the Sienna has 85k miles.  So they have I think a lot of life in them. If we did the 10 year rule we have another 3 years left on the Sienna and 4 years on the legacy.  I've always thought that we would replace both cars in about 2-3 years and keep the Sienna but replace the legacy with another sedan and then get a SUV but keep the Sienna.  Mostly because it'll be getting very worthless at 10 years and it's very useful to haul stuff and people around in a pinch.  But I'd like to also think we could afford to have a third car and still buy me something newish if not new. 

In the past we had considered buying a used BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf because they were cheap.  They would replace the Subaru Legacy but we just didn't want to spend the money.  We've owned our cars since 2019 for the subaru and 9/2020 for Sienna.  We are coming up on 2 years without car payments again (we previously went from 2003-2010 without a car payment then got into a cycle of car payments till 2020.

But back to the topic at hand.  On the Legacy we drove 367 gallons of gas last year.  At the current price of $4.39/gallon that is $1611.37/year in gas.  We drove 340 gallons of gas on the Sienna.  $1492.60.  So it's more likely we'd replace the Legacy sedan because there isn't a viable option to replace the Sienna.  The Tesla X isn't really as big, much nicer but there are other nice SUV more comparable for practical purposes.

$1611/year in gas minus electric costs plus maintenance of the car is what we would be saving.  You can't count tires, but more like oil changes 2x/year at $100 = $200 and once every 3 years $900 for 30k mile service.  So $500/year or I could estimate say $900/ year so $2500/year is what we could be saving having an electric car.  

A long range Tesla model 3 is $51k plus taxes and fee so $55k/$2500 year = 22 years to break even.  But living what if gas costs $6/gallon?  Then $2202/year in gas for our subaru legacy plus $800/year maintenance = $3k.  That would still be 18 years to break even.

Even with the tax credits it's not financially advantagous for us to buy an electric car.  One day it might make sense, like our cars need replacement or they get into an acccident.  But otherwise?  Have you actually looked at what it would cost to get one?  And what you would really save

how to get a new car - it's easy

July 11th, 2021 at 12:31 am

Interesting thing happened today. I drove up and used my prepaid Toyota Sienna oil change packet.  It is synthetic and they had a deal of $300 for 5 oil changes at the dealership.  Cost about the same as going to a jiffy lube. Oil changes are expensive now!

Anyway I drive up and the guy comes to my window and say they'll be with me.  How do I like my car?  I say it's great I have no complaints.  Just got back from a roadtrip and planned it this way.  He says your car is very desirable.  AWD minivan. I say great.  He says they just redesigned the toyota and it's a hybrid. You would have saved a lot of money on the road trip. I say probably true. I'll get to that post tomorrow.  I say that's amazing.  He says would you like to trade in your vehicle?   I can get you in for only $200 a month or maybe even less.

I'm sitting there in shock. I'm like not really.  I can't have payments right now.  But he's like we can work with it.   I tell him but here's the deal I don't think you can.  I want the highest model with all the bells and whistles and leather and DVD player and hybrid.  He says you can afford it more than you know.  All of them come with hybrid batteries.  Nice the mpg is 36/38 city and freeway driving.  But a new car?  Another payment?  No thanks.

But it was crazy to see how smart the dealership was.  Asking about my car and telling me how much I liked it and how great the new car was.  I could easily see how it would be to want the new car.  I will admit for a second I was tempted.  But then I remembered. I just refinanced to afford saving easier. I have a paid for car for almost 1 year of no payments.  Wouldn't it be nice to never have payments again?

paid off car...and refi mortgage!

September 14th, 2020 at 11:46 pm

yes it drives better. Actually I haven't driven but I figure it really does. Smile We had $8000 left and 2.49% and I had no idea why we were still paying on it 3 years later. Honestly I was a bit annoyed that we hadn't paid it off and I hadn't paid attention. So I wrote a check and dropped it at the bank. I like not having a car payment and I like owning my cars.

We lived from 2003-2010 without a car payment with a 1998 toyota corolla and 2000 ford focus. Had a kid and bought a 2010 Subaru outback new and had a loan from 2010-2015. We borrowed $20k and had 1.49%. We also bought in 2012 a 2006 hyundai sonata for $10k and I think it was 1.99%. We paid off both cars in 6/2015. DH wanted a new car in 12/2015 and we bought a new 2016 Subaru Legacy. We paid that off in 12/2018. I got a 2015 Toyota Sienna in 12/2017 and just paid that off this month.

Does it drive better? I would say that it does. I find myself suddenly excited that we are finally without a car loan again after 10 years of car loans. Ugh. We spent a decade not owning out cars. Yes it wasn't a large amount each time. And yes our interest rate was low and the reason why we kept the car loans around. But I like not owing anybody anything.

I was about to refi our mortgage to another 7/1 arm. But instead Chase offered us 2.875% 27 year fixed rate mortgage for FREE. They fedex us a legitimate offer for reducing our rate from 3% for a 7/1 arm to a 30 year fixed jumnbo. Amazing. I did pay $1168 for an appraisal with Bank of America. We will save $88/month so it will take 13 months to break even for the appraisal. But it's a fixed rate and we will be staying in our place like i said potentially until 5/2023.

So for $1168 we just fixed our rate to 2.875% on a jumbo mortgage!

savings and spending

April 10th, 2020 at 10:42 pm

Called ameriprise and we are getting some sort of premium relief. What it is and how much we are getting back. They have no idea. But it's something and I'll take it!

LuckyRobin asked will people change their habits after this financial hit? The irresponsible people? I think there are more than few factors at play. I think that yes there are many irresponsible people.

I also think that a lot of people have change their way they view employment and a lot of people are doing things like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc 1099-M "self-employed contractors" making "good" money but not realizing they weren't paying unemloyment insurance, taxes, SS, etc. They thought what they were making was great money but not realizing they weren't really calculating how much they were really making if they responsible paid for everything. Instead they were caught at tax time and moments like this where they were not employees and couldn't get unemployment $.

I think that people are suddenly going to get a wake up call that those jobs are not paying the $25-30/hr. No they are way less but that they are making a living off the backs of "stupid" people who don't really know what they are making.

Yes things will cost more. Things will have increase in price to get delivered in 2 days. That an uber ride is not a cheap fare. Perhaps we'll finally stop susidizing these companies which aren't making money.

I think that people white collar workers might get hit in this recession. That they will get the hit of "omg" that free flowing money into companies making nothing it'll be a redo of 2000/2001 dot.com burst as well as the 2008 great recession.

I would argue that we are heading into a deep depression and vicious cycle of losing jobs, income, housing and we are not able to "spend" our way out of it.

I'm part of generation X. I feel like those of us in this generation has lived through 3 major recessions. 2000/2001, 2008, and 2020. We have weathered it all. We graduated and were young workers when the bubbled popped and 9/11. We were in the midst of buying our "homes" and having families in 2008 when we lost our "Jobs". And now we are in the precarious position of being vulnerable workers subject to being laid off because now we "cost" too much. Most of our neighbors and friends are going through this now and we agree that our age around 40-55 we as a group have always felt unstable with jobs. Perhaps millenials feel they can't find jobs, but generation X have navigated the rough road not having jobs to having precarious jobs.

I think that generation X in general is expecting to not have a pension and we'd be the first generation to attempt to retire without one. We are the first generation to absorb job/income insecurity.

I can understand how it makes some of my generation more irresponsible with money because to them it's easy come and easy go. And you never know what the future holds so just do it.

But I'm hoping we all make it out to the other side in one piece. And our economy somewhat intact. If not then I believe generation X will be out of work shortly.

Driving a paid for car!

December 13th, 2018 at 05:01 pm

I mailed a check for $18,091.98 off today. Does it drive better? I think a paid for car does! Gotta say I love it. Funny how our "newer" 2016 Legacy drives better than our 2015 Sienna being paid off. Anyway what a nice feeling to be out of a car loan. It's been awhile since that happened and honestly I've been annoyed this past year having two car payments.

I like having a paid for car. I like the feel. I had a 98 corolla that was paid for in 2001. DH had a 2000 Ford focus paid for in 2003 and we didn't have a car payment until 2010 when we bought a new subaru outback with a 5 year loan and took 5 years to pay it off 0.9% interest. Then in 2012 we bought a used 2006 hyundai sonata with a 5 year loan but also paid that off in 3 years. So we didn't have another car loan from 2015-2017 end.

Now it's 12/2018 and it's nice to have a paid for on the books car. The plan? I don't know at this point other than we have 3 more years to pay on the 2.24% loan for the sienna. We may decide to just pay it off if I can convince DH soon.

But right now the plan is drive my minivan another 6 years to 10 years and reevaluate. For our 2016 Legacy? I think we seriously have to take it year by and year and need by need. If DH can drive at all then maybe a second car. If not then I guess I'll keep it and never trade it in. When the self-driving car comes out that is really good comes out (not tesla) we will heavily consider it.

But boy it is nice having a paid for car again. I itch for driving a paid for minivan. How long do you keep your cars? Do you always just pay cash?

buying out our car lease

December 4th, 2018 at 05:57 am

Time flies. It's been 3 years already and it's time to buy out our car lease. It's been hard convincing DH but he's finally willing to compromise and has agreed to buying the car. I wanted to buy it 3 years ago but he refused. One of those moments where you just have to compromise.

I always think of imasaver who financed corvettes so they wouldn't buy them so quickly. I feel like the same thing. I leased a car to make DH feel better and pointed out there hasn't been enough improvement yet in cars to make it worth getting a newer model. Honestly by the time there is rapid improvement whose to say he even should be driving?

I realize that having a car is a control issue. And psychologically sometimes you gotta let things slide that are not the most financially fit decisions. If DH stops driving then it's likely we'll be a 1 car family. But until then I guess we just make the best of it.

But woah car loans are high now. We were offered 5% by chase to finance our car. So instead we plan on buying it cash this month.

Have you calculated your commute?

May 8th, 2018 at 05:33 pm

Have you ever calculated the cost of commuting? I say that because now we have a direct cost. My DH commutes on average 30 minutes one way instead of 1 hour plus. And an hour is generous because usually coming home before it was 75-90 minutes. But assuming he saves now 1 hour an day total in commute he's saving 5* 48 weeks = 240 hours a year. What is an hour worth?

That's the question. If it's worth $25/hr then it's $6000/year of $500/month he's saving. So we could "shave" off $500/month on our mortgage payment moving closer. If we calculated the hour is worth $50/hr then it's $12,000/year and $1k/month. That makes moving closer a lot more beneficial.

Personally I think moving closer worth $50/hour. Assume we go out to eat more, pay more in gas, pay more in child care, etc I think we can easily save $12k/year moving closer. But some people live next door to their parents so they commute far. If i had that sort of deal I'd do it too.

Have you ever calculated what your commute cost you? Was it worth it to move farther? Why?

$350 car accessory -snowflake

January 4th, 2018 at 04:39 am

So I want weathertech floor mats for my new minivan. Very extravagent. They already put it in the trunk. But I want the rest The question is how do I buy it? Yes I can afford to buy it. But I want to not just pay for it.

I'm thinking I might try to make it a challenge and see how I can snowflake my way to it. Maybe coupon clipping? Maybe ebates? Pinecone surveys? What else could I do?

I don't want to use my paycheck. Or maybe giving myself the cost of a meal out if we skip eating out? I'm actually trying to not eat out because I want to lose weight.

Do I count borrowing books from the library? Or anything free I can snag? Or selling stuff at the consignment? What can I do to make this happen? Skipping a starbucks?

What do you consider snowflakes? My ticket savings to hawaii? Or our trip at the end of the month?

cars got me thinking

January 3rd, 2018 at 07:47 pm

After we bought the cars I got to thinking about how I've changed my mindset about cars quite a bit. I have always been a buy new and keep car till it dies sort of person. But recently I've started to change. I'm wondering if it's okay to not keep a car until it dies. I am starting to think that it's worth being okay buying a car that you can afford at that moment in time for a purpose. And when that purpose is done it's okay to sell the car?

Cars are depreciating assets. So in the ideal world people would only buy used cars and keep them till they die. But that still raises the question, how used a car do you need to buy to be uber frugal? To maximize the frugality of cars, which are SUPER expensive does it have to be 10 years old and you drive it for 3-5 more years? What if it's only 1 year old and you drive it 10 mores years? Why couldn't you keep it longer?

I guess it's a sliding scale. Right? That to each person the valuation of car is what they put on it. Some would argue any used car is a deal. While myself included might argue perhaps it's gotta be at least 5-6 year old to be worth? But I did save a bit buying a 2-3 year old used car.

Reflecting back on our cars we've now had I've come to the realization that we can just make the best choice at the time we make the decicion.

My first car was a 99 toyota corolla bought for $11k including taxes/fees we sold in 2012 because my DH really wanted a car with latch and airbags. It had 150k miles and still running super strong and if my DH didn't want newer safety features I'm sure it'd still be running! We sold it for $3500. We bought a 2006 Hyundai Sonata in 2012 for $11000 taxes and fees.

He had 2000 ford focus bought new for $13k including taxes and fees we sold in 2010 because it broke down. We sold it for $2500. We bought a new subaru outback base model for $23000 including all taxes and fees.

In 2015 we sold the Hyundai Sonata for $6500 and leased a 2015 Subaru Legacy for $28k. DH wanted the car so we did it. What will happen I'm unsure.

Now in 2017 we ended it buy buying a used 2015 Sienna Minivan for $31k. We aren't selling the Subaru Outback 2010 instead we're giving it to my mom and i'll call it $7k value.

Looking back the best value of depreciation was the new Toyota Corolla for $576/year. Then the Ford Focus $1050/year deprecation, then the Sonata $1500/year. I'm not sure what our current 2 cars will end up but I've decided that you can't always make the best decision with cars.

You have to make the best decision with the information at hand. That means what sort of car do you need or want? Can you afford it? Do you think i'll serve it's purpose?

Have you reflected on all the cars you've owned? How would you judge your purchases? Wise? Unwise? Okay? Did it make you happy and serve a purpose?

whew - not at fault

December 21st, 2017 at 06:47 am

Recall the accident last month? I know I wasn't at fault but it really stressed me out a lot. I guess because we had used our insurance and paid for the deductible $500 and the overage on the rental car $250. It wasn't the money but the worry that I'd have another black mark on my record. I mean 2 years ago in January 2016 I had a car accident my fault. And DH is finally getting his record of accidents clean so we might have a reasonable car insurance.

We paid $897 for 2 drivers, 2 cars for 6 months. So we're at $1800/year for 2 30-something year old drivers. We're paying like we're teenagers. In March 2017 we were priced at $2100/year. Recall the debacle of getting kicked off Ameriprise Costco for non-payment because we didn't get our mail?

Well looking back we were at $1275 for 6 months in 8/2016 or $2550/year. You can see why I was stressing out about liability and if I had made a good decision going through insurance. Before the accident we were looking at $774 for 6 months in 2/2016.

So now I'm a little more relaxed. However I will say that Commerce insurance, the company I have through AAA is terrible and useless. It took me hours of prodding them and calling Nationawide directly to determine liability (they were the other person's insurance). Also Commerce didn't respond back to the repair shop, and they didn't fax over authorization for 3 days claiming it was due to the appraisor. Turns out because it was an authorized shop I didn't need an appraisor. Ugh.

Anyway come March 2018 I plan on shopping around not just for cost but because I don't find Commerce/AAA very helpful. My AAA insurance agent never returns my calls.

AAA started a home owners insurance in June, but didn't cancel my renters insurance and kept charging me until I argued with them in September. I was then worried they hadn't started a home owners insurance. In Spetember 2017 because they didn't cancel my renters insurance they mailed my auto insurance renewal to my old address!!!!! Only because I called to inquire did they realize their mistake and did I renew my auto policy.

I guess you can say I'm done with them. But for now I'll just wait. At least I have insurance.

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.