In addition to all of the many ways I’ve already written that God showed up in our car accident on Monday, we’re being blessed in other ways as well! The car was indeed totaled, which is much better than getting a car back with major repair work. What’s more, Farm Bureau Insurance had a check in our hands less than 48 hours after the wreck!
The main thing, of course, is that everyone is okay. Because of that, losing the car almost seems like a relief. Buying it had been my one big boneheaded financial decision, and I’ve regretted it ever since. It was the only time I’ve ever gone into debt to buy something other than the house. Laurie and I had decided this year to just start throwing every spare dollar at it that we could to pay it off by the end of the year… which is why there haven’t been many home improvement projects to report.
A few months ago, we strongly considered putting the car up for sale. We hoped to simply sell it for what we owed (thankfully we were never “upside-down”, owing more than the car’s worth), make life work with just the truck for a while, and save up to pay cash for another vehicle. Since it’s a buyer’s market right now, though, we found out we probably wouldn’t get what it was “worth”, which I guess means it wasn’t actually worth that much after all.
Monday evening, Laurie and I were prepared to simply break even. Not sure how claims adjustments went, I thought chances were good that we’d just get back what we owed. I had gap insurance, meaning at the very least we wouldn’t get back less than we owed.
So imagine our excitement to see that the insurance check was actually for much higher than what we owed! We’re not rich by any American standard, but we’re (a) debt free, and (b) probably able to afford a reliable family car that will last at least long enough for us to save up for something more long-term.
Here’s where I’ll ask the advice of my readers, though. I really don’t like shopping for cars. The only time I’ve ever done it by myself, I screwed up royally! So, without getting into too much detail on the finances, here are some basic options as we see them. Many people who read this blog have much wisdom in things like this, and I would love some comments with your suggestions.
- Take out a loan
- Buy a cheap (under $1500) car just to get around town for a while, and hope to sell it for close to what we paid after we’ve saved up for something nicer than we can afford right now
- Buy the best car we can afford with what we have now, and drive it for several years while we put money in a CD that will help us be able to find a replacement when this one dies or our family grows past a couple kids and we need to find something bigger
If we go with a shorter-term option, we’re open to about anything with four doors. If we go for the longer-term option, we like cars in the “crossover” market… something that could haul at least three kids and a bunch of luggage, but still get good mileage. Most of the cars in that second description are out of our price range right now, but with no car payment we could make it feasible in a few months. What do you all think?
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” ~ Proverbs 15:22