Author Topic: Help please  (Read 2885 times)

UK to USA

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Help please
« on: August 09, 2017, 08:12:28 PM »
Hey guys
I've just moved from the UK with hubby and our 2 kids (12 and 7 months) to SC. Hubby's work we're supposed to pay for the whole move and reassured us that we wouldn't end up worse off or out of pocket. To cut a long story short, we're sinking fast.
Due to bad life choices and mental health problems we were in a load of cc and overdraft debt but worked really hard to clear it. Hubby's car was on finance and we had our mortgage but we were working on it.
Before the move we'd managed to rack up about 6k on the cc again due to solicitor fees (ex hadn't seen son for years but decided he'd still try and stop us moving). We've been here 3 weeks now and the cc is up to 13k.
Basically hubby's work have made us pay for things up front and then claim things back. Trouble is now they're refusing to cough up on things they said they'd pay for.

Anyway, my question really is about cars. In the UK I didn't have one, I walked or biked. Massive culture shock to come here and find unless I have a car I'm stuck to wandering around the housing estate. Hubby needs his car for work so sharing in the day sadly isn't an option. Cycling infrastructure is non existent.

So with the money situation I'm not left with much to buy a car with. We can get a lease on a stupid payment each month as we don't have a credit rating here ($17500 over 3 years!), not something I want to do at all. Hubby's work will reimburse me about $3k for a car. What should I be looking for? I've been looking at Honda Odyssey but no clue really on what is going to be best for the price. Would prefer something we can get my son's friends in, or Chuck a load of camping gear and bikes on the back. What is the max age/miles I should be considering?

Thank you if you've read to the end.

chemistk

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Re: Help please
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 06:31:29 AM »
I don't have much advice around the CC issue, or the debt, or the failure to reimburse. Did your husband's job provide any of that in writing? They sound like important things to take care of.

As for the car. I think you're on the wrong track here. You absolutely should not be looking at buying a new car, and even more so, a lease. You'll blow through the miles on your lease faster than you can even imagine, and then end up paying out the nose for the overage. Another thing you'll need to get used to around the US is that it's very easy to accumulate miles, especially in an area you're not familiar with.

My advice? Buy a used Prius. Something from around 2007 or 2008. As long as the miles are under ~150k, you'll be able to get what you need from the car. See this ad below for an example of what you should be looking at:

https://charleston.craigslist.org/cto/d/07-toyota-prius/6255046986.html

Why a prius? All the space you'll need (don't be that person that always offers to drive the kids around). Put a bike rack on the back and you can carry your bikes, and have room for the trailer inside. Great gas mileage and super reliable, especially if it's had its battery replaced recently. My FIL has one with 220k and it's still going strong.

You can also look at a Honda fit, Scion xA, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Matrix, etc.

Basically you want something that's going to cost as little as possible so that your $3k covers almost all of the cost. You'll want a hatch for flexibility, and you want a small car for economy. Trust me, the last thing you need right now is a minivan.

Heroes821

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Re: Help please
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 06:44:27 AM »
Hello, new South Carolinian! I've only been here about a year myself. 

I will say that if you think this place is bike unfriendly don't move to Texas. 

I had a similar issue with my move, where my company was reimbursing for my rent, but my moving costs were on myself.  The CC got higher than I'd of liked at the time. The best solution I found was to write out a budget with my SO not just a monthly budget but a we have X coming in and Y going out for the next year what do we have left.

Things like insurance, rent, standard bills really add up when you look at them from a 12 month perspective and can help you stop putting things on the CC for awhile.


I would also second making sure you have those reimbursements in writing.

UK to USA

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Re: Help please
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 07:41:36 AM »
Hi thanks for your replies.

I know we'll get on top of the cc debt as we've done it before. It just sucks to be here again. We can be strict with ourselves when we need to be. With regards to hubby's work, they're just dragging their heels on a few things he's trying to claim for and refusing to pay anything back. For example they were paying our travel fees and for transporting our goods. We each took 2 suitcases on the flight as our stuff will take 6 weeks to ship. They're refusing to pay for the extra baggage. Also they're paying our rent here (2k a month!?!) but we have to pay each month and claim it back. So we've had to pay out 2 months rent and deposit already and not seen a penny back.

I definitely don't want to lease a car. Will only be doing that as a very very last resort. $450 month payment? No thank you!

I'd love to be cycling but the drivers round here are crazy! If it we're just me I'd probably brave it, but not with a baby on board.

I have looked at a couple of Prius but we'd really like the option of taking a friend or two out with us at weekends for our son due to the big age gap between the kids. Also when family visit 3 or 4 times a year it will be useful then.

I'll have a look at the other suggestions. Cheers.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Help please
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 07:46:43 AM »
There is usually one auto dealer or lender that will work with the well-heeled fresh arrivals. When I lived in central NC, it was a local credit union that catered to high earning professionals with no credit history. Every expat in my company used them.

Ask around. Find what the other Brits have done.

Heroes821

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Re: Help please
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 08:03:39 AM »
2k seems crazy high, unless your in Charleston, but yeah I had a similar issue. 1st month, deposit and pet deposit all had to be paid by me 1 Oct but didn't get reimbursed till 24 Jan. Funny enough the rent for the months in between showed up faster. It sucks, but the rent reimbursement shouldn't show up as income so its like $26k tax free for you!

slappy

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Re: Help please
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 08:33:14 AM »
Are you working? Is it possible to drive your spouse to work and then have the car for the day? 

I would probably hold off on the car until you see some reimbursement from the company. They are saying they will reimburse the car, but they haven't reimbursed anything yet.

Also, as someone else said, don't worry about bringing friends, family etc. Get the smallest/most affordable that will work for your family's immediate needs. If you have the right car seat, you should be able to fit two twelve year olds in the back seat with the baby anyway.

jjandjab

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Re: Help please
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 08:35:50 AM »
Although it can feel like you are drowning being new to the US with new debt and expenses increasing, my initial advice is to be patient. If you have only been here three weeks, then I would say you are still well within the range of time that the company will make good on their promised reimbursements. I work for a hospital that would take 2-3 months to reimburse some items. And depending on the type of company, August and September are near the end of the "fiscal year", so they might delay paying you until Oct 1 to make it look like they have more money at "year end" - again this may not apply, but is possible.

I fully understand wanting a minivan (we have always had one with our kids) - in your situation I would look at the Kia Sedona. It is cheaper than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but still a great car and reliable. You can likely get a good deal on a used one, whereas based on reputation alone the Honda and Toyota stay more expensive even when used. The Chrysler Town and Country/Dodge Caravan could also be considered too.

Another option for now, until you get your CC debt under control is to call a few rental car agencies. Sometimes they will do monthly or multiple month rentals which are not too expensive. Tell them your story and you might get a good deal. And that may help you decide if you like a minivan and how much you will use it.

UK to USA

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Re: Help please
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 08:48:03 AM »
I'm not working as we're here on hubby's visa. I can now apply for my own now we're here though and our visa attorney is working on that.

Hubby actually needs his car during working hours and as it's a company car he can't use the excuse that I need it.

I've got a Kia Sedona on hire at the mo at 1k a month (!?!??) That his company are supposed to be covering (see a theme here?).

Everything just seems so expensive here, it's been a bit of a shock.

Dee18

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Re: Help please
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 08:49:08 AM »
Welcome to the USA and best of luck with the transition.

My advice is: don't purchase the car you will need once in a while.  Purchase the car you need most of the time.  You can rent a larger car very inexpensively when family visits or a van for a camping weekend. (Book via auto slash.com or look for coupon codes for Enterprise) Or you can use the two cars you will own if you want to transport more than 5 people.  Also keep in mind your son will be driving the car in three years!

acroy

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Re: Help please
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 09:41:49 AM »
Welcome and good luck!!

honeybbq

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Re: Help please
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 12:56:59 PM »
Do you not have a contract explicitly stating the conditions of the move and reimbursement? I'm sorry you are in this situation, it sounds rough.

nexus

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Re: Help please
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 11:44:06 AM »
Just rent a car/van/SUV for the times when your family comes to visit. It will be cheaper using a rental a few times a year vs. using a large, inefficient vehicle year round. Keep in mind you're on the MMM forums. All advice you receive will be biased towards cost savings, environmental impact, and efficiency.

+1 for having a small, fuel efficient car.

I'm afraid to ask what your husband drives. Perhaps he should have the commuter car and you should drive 'his car'...?

Or why not sell his car, get the company's $3k and then purchase two used, fuel efficient vehicles?

I'd wager at least 90% of the time, any vehicle is not being used to optimal capacity [read - empty seats and unused space, except motorcycles]

UK to USA

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Re: Help please
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 11:51:27 AM »
Do you not have a contract explicitly stating the conditions of the move and reimbursement? I'm sorry you are in this situation, it sounds rough.

Yes, that's the frustrating thing. Hubby has managed to go above the head of the person dealing with it and get the expenses signed off now. So it's just a wait and see when we get the money now.

UK to USA

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Re: Help please
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 12:05:42 PM »
Just rent a car/van/SUV for the times when your family comes to visit. It will be cheaper using a rental a few times a year vs. using a large, inefficient vehicle year round. Keep in mind you're on the MMM forums. All advice you receive will be biased towards cost savings, environmental impact, and efficiency.

+1 for having a small, fuel efficient car.

I'm afraid to ask what your husband drives. Perhaps he should have the commuter car and you should drive 'his car'...?

Or why not sell his car, get the company's $3k and then purchase two used, fuel efficient vehicles?

I'd wager at least 90% of the time, any vehicle is not being used to optimal capacity [read - empty seats and unused space, except motorcycles]


I'm all for cost savings, environmental impact and efficiency. That's why I've been car free for most of the past 10+ years. When I did have to get a car in the UK I bought a VW Golf for 250 (it wasn't pretty) with 146k miles. As soon as I could I sold it (4 years later for 300!) and got back on the bike.

I think I've got sucked into wearing my fancy pants since we got here with my hire car. It has been soooo handy though being able to chuck all sorts in the back without a thought about it. Went down to Goodwill last week and picked up some much needed furniture at a bargain price.

Hubby doesn't own his car, it's a company car. He gets a fuel allowance of $100 month which will cover his commute to work. He needs his car during the day as he has to travel around with his job. He's been given a VW Passat, wouldn't be our choice but they point blank refused to let him choose a vehicle that was more practical for us or allow us to take the money and sort our own.

UK to USA

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Re: Help please
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 12:07:02 PM »
Would something like this be worth considering?

https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/d/kia-rondo-90k-miles/6250357518.html

No knowledge of 'salvage' titles and if we should avoid.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Help please
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 10:58:43 AM »
Hello fellow South Carolinian! I can see we are also in the same craigslist area.

That kia looks pretty good, no need to spend very much on something just to get around town in, $3k is plenty for a scoot around vehicle, even a kid carrier.

Honestly though, in the easiest to use car with kids is going to be a minivan. I know they are looked down upon sometimes around here for their lack of efficeincy but for the added safety when you have to get on an interstate, maximum storage, sliding doors for tight parking and carpooling capabilities makes them an all around good choice.

just get on craigslist type 'van' and put in a maximum '3000' and minimum '1500' (keep out the junk but don't want to let the low get too high in case you can scoop up a deal). I just checked and with those parameters you have 124 options.

Be sure to post here in case we ever get that mustachian meet up going
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/meetups-and-social-events/greenville-south-carolina/


Curious, what area of the upstate are yall?