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Old 04-13-2012, 05:16 PM   #1
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Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

When choosing to purchase a new to you, used car, what are your primary considerations? How old of a car/high mileage would you finance?

DH and I are in an on-going dispute on this. We've comfortably made a car payment around $275 for our entire marriage, first on his car, then on mine. Both are nearly paid off, well one already is, and it's time to decide what we are doing.

He is of the opinion we should replace one of them with a cheap as possible car. Let's say $7k to $9k. I am of the opinion that if we should either save the car payment for a while, and put down X when we need to replace the car, or get another loan before baby comes, with the goal of keeping the payments at or below where we have been, but get a nicer, newer car. I have no interest in going from driving a 2004 with 130k miles, 90k of which *I* put on the car, to driving a 2005 with 90k miles, none of which I know the history of! I've got (will have) four kids to keep safe in my car.

DH currently drives the older car, with more mileage. It's a sedan, seats 5. Baby #4 is on the way. So we are debating buying him something that will seat 7, likely a cross-over, or replacing the van with a newer van, and either selling it, or having DH drive it, so both of our cars seat our whole family. I WOH, and he does child care pick up usually, I do drop off. Only having one car that seats everyone will be a PITA.

So, DH wants an older used sedan with less miles than his (currently 180k), for under $10k. I want a newer cross-over, SUV or mini-van (really, I want a new van) that will seat 7+, for probably $15-$20K. Or, I'm OK just waiting for a while and saving while we aren't making a payment to put more down. The problem, of course, is that who knows when one of these cars will go, and then we'll be buying in "crisis mode."

What are your thoughts? Would you really finance a slightly newer, slightly better, but still older car?
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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No, I wouldn't want to finance a used vehicle, especially not if there's interest involved. If both vehicles are still okay for now, I'd save the payment and try to pay cash or as much as possible when it was time to replace the vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:49 PM   #3
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

Once you have a car with 180k miles, I think you pretty much drive it into the ground unless you need to replace it for some other reason - for example you get to the point where you really *need* a bigger car or whatever. There is no way on earth that I'd replace it with essentially a slightly newer version of the same thing! You will get so little from selling that car, that it's worth more to you as a beater car than it is to anyone else! In your situation I'd save like crazy so that when the car DOES go, you can replace it with either a very small loan or no loan at all.

How much do you NEED two cars that will seat everyone? And when do you need that? You're due in September; when will you go back to work? Will that really be when you need to have all 4 kids in both cars? If you can wait until December to get a vehicle, you should be able to get better prices. Plus you'll have that much longer to save up for a better down payment.

As for how much we would feel comfortable borrowing, I'd say our comfort level is around whatever we know we can pay off within a year or so.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

The used car market, in MI at least, is hot right now. I'd see what you could get out of DH's car and get a newer van. My sister is selling her Saturn and it is worth more now than what she paid 4 years ago and she paid just slightly under market 4 years ago. It also has a lot of miles on it. I'd be on the lookout for a certified used van with a low financing rate if you are pleased with what you can get out of his sedan right now. I think it makes sense for whoever has the kids in their car the most to get the newer vehicle. Then from there figure out if that means a crossover or another mini-van.

What is the solution to your childcare situation if only one of you has a big enough vehicle?
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

ok, controversial POV here,...your oldest is 8yo right? probably 9 or close to by the time the baby is born?

I'd put one child in the front and wait for the car to die. As in die-die, not needs new shocks or an alternator die. 180,000 is not uncommon for a foreign modern car. 180,000 is quite reasonably a 2003-2004 vehicle.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

The fourth kid complicates things, huh? Especially when they are a surprise. LOL.

I agree that putting one child in the front if necessary for pickup/dropoff isn't the end of the world. When I have to go get hay/feed either DD (nbb) or DS1 (harnessed) rides in the front passenger seat in our truck.

We are very much for not having a car payment. Therefore, in your shoes, we'd start making a car payment to ourselves now that you don't have one. Then, when ou have enough for the vehicle you want you go buy it. If a car truly dies, then hopefully it willl take a while and you'd either have ful payment or at least a lot LESS of a loan.

We have come to the realization that our Mazda was perfect for us with 3 kids, but with 4 it's just not working as well. Whatever we sell it for we have for a new vehicle. We have been making a car payment to ourselves, but since we are buying used we want to save that for possible repairs. If we couldn't find something reliable in that price range we'd just keep what we have since it does work. I might just have to put the roof rack on permanently...
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

If I was in your situation, I'd wait. I'd save your money so you have less of a payment/no payment when you do replace one of them. I agree with you that having a higher mileage vehicle with known history is better than a little lower mileage with unknown history. I know sometimes it can't be helped, but I don't like financing used cars (unless almost new). I figure you will have a payment or repair bills but the goal is not to have both at the same time. If you have to spend some money on one of the cars, look at it in terms of a payment. A $500 repair bill is only 1-2 payments on a newer car.

If you tried to trade in your husband's car, I'll bet you'd get next to nothing for it. Drive it till it dies and put the money you'd spend on a payment aside every month. We just recently shopped for a car for DD1 with $4500. We looked a lot and wound up with a 2000 Toyota with 175k miles. I was more comfortable with it than the domestics with 140k that were the same price. So I don't think 180k is the end of the world. Something else we ran into, is inexpensive used cars are very sought after right now. So I suppose yours may be easier to sell than normal, but then you aren't in a great position when buying. And with tax return time, it's even worse right now.

I agree with safeinthecar that putting your oldest in the front seat for the short trip from school isn't the end of the world.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

I won't finance a NEW car, so, no, I wouldn't finance a used vehicle, even if it were newer used with lowish miles.

I'd definitely hold onto what you've got, save money (pretend you still DO have a car payment and tuck it away), and re-evaluate later on...when you NEED to. Hopefully by then, you'll have enough socked away to make a dent in a new(er) vehicle.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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Re: Choosing what to buy- DH vs me...

We don't have a problem financing a new-ish vehicle, but we do plan to drive our current vehicles for a long time, we're not getting new ones every 5 years or anything like that.

We recently bought a minivan and most of the ones we were looking at had around 30-40K miles on them, which I was okay with. We were lucky to find a 2010 van with only 15K miles and it was in brand new condition!

Low mileage was our biggest priority, along with obviously getting something within our budget. Since we want to drive it till it dies basically, I wanted something in as new condition as possible within our price range.
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