Author Topic: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?  (Read 3670 times)

LadyStache in Baja

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Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« on: November 16, 2014, 06:17:03 PM »
We live in a very small town, 5 minute drive to get anywhere, and yet we have two cars.  One of them is a Mercury Grand Marquis, 97, in super excellent shape (well maintained by an elderly driver, my grandma).  The other is a 98 Ford Explorer which is in horrible shape (currently without a windshield thanks to a hurricane, but hey it's Mexico, so we get away with using it locally until we can afford to replace it).  I would obviously like to sell the Explorer and just use the Mercury, BUT, we are farmers and construction people so we actually need a truck.  Plus a lot of roads around here are really rustic.  So my dilemma is this:
The blue book value for the Mercury is only about $2500 but it's actually worth about $5000 because it would take that much to buy an equivalently well-maintained car, with an equivalent long-life ahead of it.  Being Baja Mexico, I can probably get close to $5000 anyway.  It just hurts to sell something that is in such good shape, and I'm afraid we wont be able to find such a reliable car for a price we can afford.

However, I really dont think we need two cars, and we really need a reliable work truck (which the explorer is not). 

So my idea is this: sell the Mercury, use the funds to buy myself a road bike and a bike trailer and fix the windshield of the Explorer and sell it.  Then use whatever's left to buy a quality old truck.  There's actually a 93 Nissan pickup in unbelievable shape (as well maintained as the Merc) and he's asking just over 5 for it.

This is a good idea, right? 

Edited to Add:
The roads: to get to town and back is a quick drive on nicely paved roads.  The problem with the Mercury is driving onto the farm or driving to a potential construction job site where the roads can often have foot-deep ruts.  This area is one of the few where I think an SUV/truck is truly necessary if you don't want to bottom out occasionally.  Otherwise we could just hitch a trailer to the Merc and forget about a truck. 

Reliability of the Explorer: I should clarify that it hasnt broken down for a while (six months?), and we paid about $400 dollars to fix the transmission.  So theoretically the motor is fine.  But the 4x4 is a bit messed up (it does engage, but not cleanly), and when we start it in the morning it sounds like gas is not getting to the engine, and you have to flutter the pedal a bit to get it warmed up.  Sometimes it'll die in the morning while you're starting it.  Which just means you have to restart it.  Perhaps it needs some fuel-injection cleaning?  That liquid you dump into the gas tank? 

Two-car family: Mainly I want to sell one of them because after reading MMM, I feel ridiculous having two cars in this tiny town.  My husband can easily drop me off at work, or I could get a bike and trailer for quick trips to the grocery store, which is only maybe 500 yards away.  It's really hilly here, but no reason to be a wussypants, right?  And we'd save on car insurance and maintenance. 

Since we are clarifying the original post, I should add some financial details:
Our financial status is hair-on-fire emergency.  We are pretty frugal, we only spend about $1000 dollars/month on EVERYTHING, but there's nothing left over for investing, or even health or car insurance or anything.  Our emergency savings are at $0.  And we have three little children and one on the way.  We live in a touristy town, so part of the problem is that we're coming out of the off-season, which are savings did manage to just barely get us through.  So come December the farm will start to produce and my husband will get some construction jobs and we'll be able to breathe a little easier (Baby is due in January, so it's cutting it close, but I'm hoping we can manage to get the $2000 dollars we need to pay the midwife.)

Prices in pesos, so divide by 12 to get dollars.
Utilities      
   Phone and Internet       $450.00 (thought about giving this up, but I can call my family back home for free so its worth it to me)
   electricity                       $250.00
   Gas                                 $233.00
   Gasoline                         $1,400.00 (this seems high to me.  Perhaps it is a fuel-injector problem?)
      
Food      
   Market                         $6,000.00 (I'm getting this down to $4000)
             
      
Others      
   Babysitter                      $4,000.00 (so I can work.  I'm actually about to quit my low-paying job and take on private tutoring.  So I'll be   able to make much more in much less time, and pay the babysitter less)
   
      
Total                                    $12,458.00


So after realizing what an emergency we are in, I've decided to look around and sell off anything unnecessary.  Clothes, strollers, second-cars, tools, you get the idea.  We've also started tracking expenses and budgeting for the first time, so I'm hoping that we will continue to live on $1000/month during this high-season, while making much more, so we can get our savings built way up.  We also have a apartment to rent out on the second floor that will finally be ready this year, so hopefully we can get $600 dollars/week during the high season in rent money. 
That would be a game-changer.

So I hope this clarifies our situation!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 10:47:11 AM by LadyStache in Baja »

coffeelover

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Re: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 07:10:47 PM »
I think you should keep the Mercury, it will probably last you quite a few more years and it's not a vehicle you need to currently fix or update at this time.

As for the other vehicle, fix the windshield from your savings. Then sell it when you're ready and you have enough money to buy the work truck you need.

Don't get rid of a reliable vehicle like that unless you sell it to me.

Also because you live in Mexico, we are coming there for a cruise to Cozumal. Can you tell us where to avoid and where to go?
I thank you in advance.

Oh AND DON'T SELL THE GOOD CAR!

Rural

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Re: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2014, 07:52:49 AM »
If you can't use the Mercury, then there's no point keeping it regardless of the shape it's in. But, if the truck is unreliable, I'd prioritize either fixing the engine or replacing it over replacing the windshield.


What happens if you are stranded? What happens if you don't have a truck? How likely is it you'll need to go down roads the Mercury simply can't traverse? I think we all could give better advice if we had more information about this.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2014, 08:23:05 AM »
I've updated the original posting with some more facts!  Thanks guys!  I appreciate any ideas to help us get out of this emergency.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 10:46:33 AM by LadyStache in Baja »

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2014, 02:32:53 PM »
Two things: 
1) Nothing mentioned of what your income is - expenses shown as 12,333 pesos/month ($1,027/month).
2) Have you asked the Nissan pickup owner for a direct trade/swap for Mercury Grand Marquis?

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2014, 04:17:15 PM »
I'll update the original with my income, but our income varies and is pretty much equivalent to our spending.  We don't have credit or debt, and we never have anything left over.  Ok, last month we had $300 pesos left over.  However, our income is set to go way up once the farm starts producing in December, and if we can get some tenants to rent our apartment upstairs.  Any Mustachians out there want to come to Baja?  ;)

And I did ask about a swap, which is a no-go. 

johnintaiwan

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 08:49:40 PM »
Where are you in Baja? I would love to spend sometime near La Paz

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 01:18:28 PM »
We are in Todos Santos, really sweet little town.  We have our upstairs apartment fully functioning now, so come and rent with us!  You can find us at airbnb.  Our listing is Casa Caoba.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 05:56:07 PM »
 I love that town! I will have to tell my parents. I am sure they would love to stay there for a while.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2015, 01:18:20 PM »
My family has owned a place in San Jose del Cabo for close to 25 years now. Love the Baja...and love to visit your town of Todos Santos whenever we can. It reminds us of what San Jose was 20 years ago in terms of a slower paced vibe...

Now that I'm retired my intention is to spend several months a year in the Baja...once my my retires, we might be there 6 months at a time.

Once we are a little more permanent in Mexico, we are probably going to buy a Jeep or Toyota 4x4 - some of the best places to go are at the end of AWFUL roads - our eventual vehicle will have to be extremely capable off-road....

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Case Study: Should I sell my perfectly great old car or not?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 03:59:49 PM »
Once we are a little more permanent in Mexico, we are probably going to buy a Jeep or Toyota 4x4 - some of the best places to go are at the end of AWFUL roads - our eventual vehicle will have to be extremely capable off-road....
Yes! I'm so glad you get it!  MMM makes me think I don't really need a 4x4 but it's different down here!