Where we last left off, I told you about my car reposession / scam and our need to get me mobile again, thus becoming a 2 car family. Jeremy and I had decided that the timing was right, we could afford a “newer, used car” in addition to the Chevy Cobalt he already has and we were set to do some car shopping.
Car buying is hard… even when you can afford it.
The Chevy Cobalt isn’t paid off. We paid a huge chunk of it off at the end of 2014 when Jeremy got his end of year work bonus, followed by another big chunk with part of his tax return. It will be paid off by the end of 2015 between regular payments and his work bonus. So getting a second car wasn’t going to be hard for us. But choosing one? Harder than I thought it would be!
We knew that this car was for our future. That future may or may not involve children and we discussed what our wants and needs would be in a “family vehicle”. It took some convincing, but I finally helped Jeremy understand the sheer size of a full-sized stroller and how much space we would really need in the back / trunk of a car in addition to space for a car seat. With some prying, I thought we had settled on purchasing some type of crossover – not a sedan, but not quite an SUV either.
I needed to be able to drive whatever we bought if need be. It needed to be large enough to accommodate everything we’d need it to carry while being small enough for me to handle. I am legally blind in one eye and I just don’t do well with large SUVs or trucks. So I gave to Jeremy a nice list of cars I found for sale in our price range that I thought would work well for us – a list of about 10 cars that included ones like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CR-V, Chevy Traverse, and the Kia Sorento.
He turned down every one of them.
He couldn’t explain why except that none of them were “the one”. All the while, he kept mentioning a Volkswagon Jetta that his brother knew about that was up in North Carolina (and a reminder, we’re in South Carolina) and that it was a good deal. But every time Jeremy talked about it, he sounded kind of sad… like it really wasn’t what he wanted because honestly, he hasn’t driven a lot of cars.
You want WHAT?
I was shocked when Jeremy told me “What I really want… what I’ve wanted for a long time now is a Dodge Charger.” I almost laughed at him, but told him politely as I could that a Dodge Charger was not a family car and that while I wanted him to be happy, I really didn’t think that would work for us.
I talked about it with a few people who assured me that this car was huge and would provide more than enough storage space. I was told by no less than 5 people with personal or second hand experience with this vehicle that I should really look into it and might find it would work just fine. So I sucked it up and I ate my words. Maybe this could be the car for us. But surely, I wasn’t going to find a 2012 or newer Dodge Charger with under 50,000 miles for less than $20,000. No way. That would never happen.
And then it did – almost immediately in fact. I found a few of them locally that were in the price range we wanted. The Car Fax all looked okay. There was one that I immediately eliminated because it had been in a minor accident, and another I crossed off because it was bright screaming red. But there was one at a dealership (ya know, a real one) just down the street from us that had a 2012 Dodge Charger with 22,600 miles on it for $18,600.
I know… I’m as shocked as you are. I immediately asked “Okay, what’s wrong with it?”
We took it for a spin.
I somehow ended up doing most of the talking with the salesman. I was the one who did the research and I’m so accustomed to being the seller that I naturally handle other salesman well. Jeremy has a hesitant pitch in his voice that I lack due to a lot of practice. I told the salesman, Paul what we were there to see and what we were looking for.
At one point, he started trying to sell to us a new car. We both pushed strongly that we weren’t interested in a new car and wanted a “newer, used car” instead. He tried to insist that he could put us in a new Dodge Charger with no miles on it for $24,000 and I told him “No. I want the car with the 20k miles on it – it’s had its engine worked in. It’s like shoes and they need to be broken in.” Once he realized that not only do I know what I am talking about, but I could compare it to shoes like the awesome woman I am… the game changed.
He drove us to a sister dealership where the car ended up being – it was about 20-25 minutes away in a neighboring town. My first impression of this car? It’s huge. It’s this big 4 door muscle car and it’s gorgeous. We got in it and I realized how much room I had just for me. And that trunk? I think I could put 2 strollers in it.
Jeremy got into the driver’s seat and his eyes lit up like the 4th of July. I knew immediately that that was the car for our family. We drove it back to the dealership, gushing over the amount of room we both had, how incredibly comfortable the car was as I pressed tons of buttons. Ya know, because pressing all of the buttons is totally an important part of car testing. Maybe the most important.
We agreed that no matter what, we were not buying that car when we returned to the dealership. We knew we would be tempted. We knew the salesman would do everything he could to push us to buy it. But we couldn’t. We needed to talk about it and make a decision based on logic and thought… not just feelings.
They tried and tried to sell it to us.
Again, Jeremy with his hesitant pitch in his voice. He stayed strong and repeatedly told the salesman that he wanted to go home and think about it. But that hesitant sound in his voice makes them get all in a frenzy. They offered to send the car home with us for the night, asked if he just wanted to sit in it longer, wanted to know what was causing his hesitation in buying the car. I’ve got to hand it to them – they tried really, really hard.
At one point, Jeremy and I were left to talk for a while in private. We agreed that we wanted to see what kind of loan his own bank would give to him. While the financing through the car dealership was great, we wanted to explore our options first. That was one of the biggest reasons we weren’t walking out of there without a car.
And then from around the corner comes a familiar face – a gentleman I have done a lot of work for. I had no idea what he did for a living, but apparently he’s the one of the finance managers at that particular dealership. He sits down and starts talking to us and is offering to do whatever he can to help us out – because he “knows me” and that that “means something” to him.
We explained that we weren’t buying tonight and not because we didn’t love the car, but because we wanted to sleep on it and make a sincere and responsible decision. And just as I thought we’d finally made them understand that, they took us outside and tried to sell us some Toyota that we had zero interest in.
We did a lot of talking.
While Jeremy was approved for a loan of $20,000 for this car, we didn’t think we wanted to spend that. After tax, tags, and title, we were getting close to that mark. We could afford it, but it would mean we’d have to be adult and pay more attention to how we spend money. That would mean less drinks randomly purchased at gas stations when they were more affordable in bulk at the grocery store, Less nights out to dinner for $30 and $40 an evening, and planning ahead better financially.
For some reason, Jeremy kept talking about the Jetta and how it was “more practical”. I’m just as bad, if not worse than the saleman at the dealership because I kept telling him “I KNOW you don’t want a freaking Jetta.” and “Why are you still talking about the Jetta? I saw the look on your face and I know you want that Charger!” He just had this horrible sadness to his voice whenever he talked about the Jetta – like he was going to settle for it just because we needed another car and he didn’t know what else to look at.
We don’t settle in this family. If there is anything that man has taught me in the year of us dating, it’s that we do not settle and we always push to be better. While the Jetta is a nice car and was perhaps like he said, “more practical”… it was a settle. This is what we really wanted…
We ended up back at the dealership.
No, not to buy the car. Convinced that I might be able to get us a better deal, we went back to the dealership. I’d called ahead and talked to the aforementioned finance manager that I knew and asked about getting the price of the car itself dropped from $18,601 to an even $18k. I knew the price was already surprisingly low, but whoever said they didn’t want to pay less for a car is a liar.
Jeremy told me he did really want the car, but he just wasn’t sure that he wanted to spend so close to the $20k mark. We could do it, but he just wasn’t sure – not when there were other options. So I did everything I could to convince the dealership that dropping it a mere $600 would be no big deal and that then they would sell this car. Too bad it didn’t work. Hey… I’m woman enough to admit that they are better salespeople than I am!
I went back to work and Jeremy went home to pout.
And then it happened…
We had a fatal shooting occur here in North Charleston where I live involving a police officer and a man named Walter Scott. You probably heard about it – seems like it’s been a bigger deal everywhere in the country except here. Regardless, major incidents tend to make public transportation go crazy and getting a taxi anywhere around here becomes difficult for a few days. So when I went to do my regular routine of taking a cab to work, I was denied one and told that there was a large call volume and that they couldn’t pick me up – when literally, I am 3 1/2 minutes from my job by car.
I was worried about being late to work. The timing was terrible. I mean, no one wants to be late… but it was like the worst day ever for it. I texted around hoping for a ride but no one could get me on such short notice. I then texted my manager to let her know I may be late, followed by texting my frustrations to Jeremy.
His response was that he was buying the Charger that day. Wait, wait… what? No. You cannot buy that car just because I am having an off day. Buy the car because you love it and you want it – not just because it would make my life more simple. He promised that that wasn’t the reason. He said he’d been really thinking about it and that he really, really did want the car.
We bought the car.
I know, I know. All of that build up with this whole long story and BAM, that’s it. We bought the car. Jeremy is insanely happy with it and I have been thrilled with the fact that I now have my own transportation – saving me a ton of money every week since I no longer have to take a cab. And look! I finally have car keys again. Wow, in fact… I suddenly have a lot of keys.
Jeremy has affectionately named his new car Diana. I’m pretty sure he pets it lovingly every night when he gets home from work before he makes his way upstairs to our apartment. *Sigh*
I almost hate that I now have my own transportation because that means I don’t get to ride in the new car every night after work. Haha! Jeremy has already “stretched her legs” and took it upstate to show it off to his brothers.
So we’re officially a 2 car family and it’s going to open a lot of doors for us in the future. I can branch out and hopefully get a better job not working a few minutes from home and we’ll have more options when we get ready to buy a house. I’m really excited about our new found opportunities!
Have you been a 1 car family? How would having a second car change things for you?