We had our first snow of the year on Friday night and it was pretty epic. It was a light dusting over certain neighborhoods in the greater Seattle area that last about three hours. Although there was no SNOWpocolypse, Girl Ninja and I got a much-needed reminder that we no longer live in San Diego; 70 degree winters are a thing of the past.
As we navigated the snowy streets in her Toyota Corolla S, we started talking about what our next car would be. That conversation snowballed (pun intended) in to internet shopping for a 2011 4wd Acura MDX. Which then turned in to a visit to a local dealership. Which ultimately left us $40,000 poorer
April November Fools suckers, you didn’t really think we’d go buy a new car without discussing it on PDITF first, did you?
While a new-to-us car is still a ways off, we did have a pretty serious conversation about when and how we want to go about making the switch. My guess is Girl Ninja’s 2005 Corolla S would fetch about $7,000-$8,000 on Craigslist. My (two door) 2007 Scion tC, should sell for around $9,000-$11,000. We know our next vehicle will be an all-wheel-drive SUV, priced somewhere around $15,000. An SUV gives us the ability to navigate the snowy roads (have I ever told you I LOVE skiing, which requires driving through the mountains?) with ease, but more importantly we’ll be able to fit some car-seats and strollers in the back when Baby Ninja(s) come in to play.
Since I like to analyze, over-analyze, and reanalyze everything that goes on involving our finances, I’ve laid out the facts of our situation as I see them:
- My car has 36,000 miles on it. Should drive another decade (at least). But is not family friendly since it’s a coupe (it can seat five though).
- Girl Ninja’s car runs like a champ but has 89,000 miles on it. If this is the car we are going to sell, we want to get rid of it before it breaks 100,000 miles, since that is a psychological barrier for a lot of buyers. If we keep this car, it should drive another 2-3 years with no significant issues, after that point maintenance will start becoming a financial factor.
- It doesn’t really snow that much in Seattle. Probably three to five days each winter, it snows hard enough that driving is pretty dangerous. Girl Ninja is a teacher so if it snows that hard, school will be cancelled. And the government wont let me drive in sketchy conditions so we shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to get to work in the event of a blizzard.
- Since I have a company vehicle, we don’t necessarily need our own personal cars. In fact, I haven’t driven my car now in over a week (this is why it only has 36K miles on it even though it’s five years old).
- I really like Honda Pilots and Toyota Highlanders, Girl Ninja likes Volvos and Acuras. While GN’s tastes are likely outside of our $15,000 budget, we should be able to find a 2004 Highlander (or similar Pilot) with 80,000 miles on it for around $12 – $16k. We will not buy another car until one of ours has sold. Using the cash from the sale, we’d be out-of-pocket about $5K – $8K to cover the difference.
- We don’t plan on having kids for another ten years. Oh wait, that’s just me. Girl Ninja says we are waiting one to two more years
- We will not drive a minivan. EVER.
I really am at a loss as to what the heck we should do. I know we don’t need an SUV anytime soon, so I’m not going to pretend like we do. People have kids and drive in the snow with regular sedans all the time. That said, we work hard, save hard, and we want an SUV. We just don’t know how to go about acquiring one.
Before we can move forward with the process, we first have to decide which of our two cars to sell. My car will last longer, her car has four doors. They both have some serious pros and cons. (side note: we will drive whichever car we keep until it explodes)
My plan at this point is as follows:
When the time comes to sell, I will put both of our cars on Craigslist and the car that fetches a better VALUE (not necessarily which one brings in the most money) will be the car we sell. If we don’t get any serious offers, we just keep posting them until we do. Since we don’t need an SUV, we are in no rush to give our cars away for below market value.
As I mentioned earlier, we can easily be a one car family. After we sold one of our cars, we wouldn’t rush in to buying our next one. I could literally spend months browsing Craigslist, newspapers, auctions, etc waiting for a “great” deal. When we finally find an SUV that meets all of our criteria, we buy it and live happily ever after. This is a pretty good plan isn’t it?
Do we sell my car because it has two doors? Do we sell Girl Ninja’s car because it has more miles? What’s the most miles you’d allow on a used car you were considering purchasing (GN’s limit is 40K, my limit is closer to 100K)? What else do I need to be (or not need to be) thinking about?
AHHHH!!!! Planning stresses me out