Author Topic: Keep or can the minivan?  (Read 4524 times)

Mint Chip

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Keep or can the minivan?
« on: May 04, 2013, 02:52:22 PM »
So we're rethinking everything and I'd love to hear opinions regarding what to do with our minivan.  Briefly, our immediate goal is to pay down our debt, and lower our overall spending however we can.  But, for right now, we still need a car.  We have a 2006 Toyota minivan that we own outright.  After doing some research, it seems that a conservative estimate of what we can get for it in a private sale is around $14k.  We have 3 kids in car seats, and that won't change for at least another year. 

Reasons to keep it:  It's paid for, safe, reliable, our kids in car seats easily fit, it has AWD for our snowy/icy winters, and it should go another 100k miles (it currently has just over 100k miles on it). 

Reasons to sell it:  It gets 17 MPG; with the cash we get for it we can get something for less (probably with better gas mileage), and pay that toward our debt.

So, what would you recommend?  Thanks very much for your help.

James

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 03:06:55 PM »
How much do you drive it with the kids?
How many miles did you drive it in the last year?
What vehicle would you be comfortable downsizing to? (not exactly, just a couple examples for comparison)
How soon will you be out of debt without selling it?

Mint Chip

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2013, 03:26:35 PM »
Thank you so much for your help! 

This is our family car.  We homeschool, so the kids and I are *always* in it (which is something that we're looking to change, down the road, but can't right now).  We were tossing around the idea of squeezing into a Honda CR-V or a Subaru Outback or Forester.  (These cars only get 21 mpg, so there's not a huge difference there; we still have to research other possibilities.)  We have about $10k in credit card debt and 50k combined in student loans, plus a mortgage of around $100k on a house that's worth (conservatively) $175k to $200k.  The few thousand that we'd net in selling the car is just a drop in the bucket, but might rid us of half the cc debt right away.  I'm looking at all of these decisions from the standpoint that every dollar paid toward the debt is a step in the right direction...

Mint Chip

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 04:23:19 AM »
I love that idea!  Thank you!

mm1970

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 09:03:03 AM »
How big are your kids?

We drive a 2006 Toyota Matrix and a Civic.
I have a 10 month old and a 7 year old and we carpool to school with the neighbor and their 7 year old.

In California, you are required to be in a booster until age 9.

The Civic cannot fit 3 seats in the back.  Or at least, not the combination of seats that we have.

The Matrix can - we have a rear-facing seat and two backless boosters.  In a pinch, we can fit a booster with a back on one side too (just makes it harder to clip in).

Diono makes a very narrow carseat for about $200.  Depending on the size of your kids, you could make do with one or two of those to fit 3 seats in the back.  There's a website that can tell you how to fit carseats in various cars (basically by people who have done it).

The minivan is paid for but a smaller car like a Matrix will get 28+ mpg.

I'd love a 2006 Sienna.  I just love the extra space in minvans and it would be great for camping.  I just can't justify it for me with only 2 kids and carpooling. 

Mint Chip

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 06:08:31 PM »
Thank you very much for your help.

They are 7, 5 and1.  The CRV -- not the Civic -- was one of the cars that we were possibly going to check out; don't know if they're the same width.

Yes, the Sienna is great, but we spend way too much on gas, due to the poor MPG and our car-centric lifestyle.  Right now, we can only change the car.  We're working on the lifestyle -- it would require moving and/or DH getting a new job, which we're in the process of figuring out.

So for now, I'm looking at things I can change immediately.  The car is safe, reliable, and should last us until all of the kids are out of car seats (we're not in CA), so we're going back-and-forth  trying to figure out whether it makes sense to just keep it or get the cash from selling it while we can still get something for it.

I love that car-seat site, by the way.  It's a great help.  I'll look at the Matrix -- thanks for the tip! 

James

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 07:24:03 AM »
I think the financially correct decision would be to get ride of it. It just depends on what value it brings to you, and what particular car you would replace it with. You could start looking for a awesome deal on a higher mpg vehicle, and if/when the great deal comes up be prepared to jump on it.


It doesn't make much sense to change from the sienna to an AWD, the sienna is FWD and another decent FWD should work just as well and save a huge amount of gas. I would make a list of acceptable cars with mpg at least 30, and check craigslist daily or set up alerts.

mlipps

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 07:53:11 AM »
Hi Mintchip,

Just wanted to share a spreadsheet I made a few months ago when we were looking for a new car based on MMM's list of "Smart Cars for Smart People". I compiled all kids of info including MPG (I believe I used the "overall" which is some average of city/highway), KBB value based on 12k miles/year, cargo space (a big determinant for us), and the reliability on a scale of 1-5 according to Consumer Reports. Some of the info wasn't available on CR for specific model years, so I extrapolated from other years of the car.

For what it's worth, we decided on the Matrix as the Honda Fit was more expensive in our neighborhood and has these weird front windows that made me dizzy. But be careful w/the Matrix and it's twin, the Pontiac Vibe as it comes in a 1.8L (I believe) model, a 2.4L model, and an AWD model and only one of those has good gas mileage.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ao1XSBz4nTP3dEVnT3ZTQm5qbnRfbld1NEpqaEdkMnc&usp=sharing

Mint Chip

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 08:51:00 AM »
You. Seriously.  ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wow!  I can't thank you enough for sharing this!  It's so very helpful.

I'm going to add the Matrix and Scion xB to our list.  The eldest will be in her (full) booster for just another year or so, so I think we might be able to pull it off, especially with narrower seats that were kindly recommended by the others. 

ThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYou.

mlipps

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 08:58:17 AM »
You're welcome! :) Oh, and the Jeep Liberty is what we were selling, it's there for comparison. :)

Mint Chip

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Re: Keep or can the minivan?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 08:59:59 AM »
"I think the financially correct decision would be to get ride of it. It just depends on what value it brings to you, and what particular car you would replace it with.  ...It doesn't make much sense to change from the sienna to an AWD, the sienna is FWD and another decent FWD should work just as well and save a huge amount of gas. I would make a list of acceptable cars with mpg at least 30, and check craigslist daily or set up alerts."

Thank you!  THIS is what I wanted to hear -- that selling it would be the financially correct decision.  Now, I just have to convince DH that it is.  ;)  It confirms my instinct to sell it and replace it with something that costs less than what we sell it for and gets better gas mileage.  Although our Sienna is an AWD, we can definitely get by with a FWD and snows.  I already received some great suggestions for replacements.  Now, on to craigslist!