Author Topic: making a "short term" car purchase...?  (Read 3409 times)

homeymomma

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making a "short term" car purchase...?
« on: October 03, 2014, 05:37:38 PM »
I'd love some thoughts on a problem we're having buying a car.

Currently:
H commutes to work in a spare beater of his mom's. She pays for insurance because it is her second car when she needs it (this happens for about a week every 3-4 months). Great deal. We pay for registration and gas, and any further repairs. It's a '97 Audi and has had about 8K dumped into it in the last year. It is not worth repairing any further. He drives 14,000 miles per year for his current commute.

I'm a SAHM with a 2 year old and another baby due in 3 weeks. I drive a 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan. I drive 2-3 times per week locally, and we use it as our family car on nights and weekends, but it still doesn't get as many miles on it per year as H's commuter car. MPG 29/40

Conundrum:
H's mom doesn't want us to drive the old Audi into the ground (understandably!), so we need to get a second car of our own before any more major repairs crop up. It's running fine today.... but tomorrow... who knows? Hopefully we have some time to make this decision... I'll estimate between a couple weeks and a couple months.

Options (as I see them):
1) get a tiny car with as good mileage as we can for H's commute. around 8K target price for a 2008ish hyundai accent or similar with around 40K miles on it. MPG ranges: 27/36 at best. I would continue to use the Elantra as the family car, until #3 arrives, at which point we would have to buy a larger family car.

2) spend more now for a larger family car that would accommodate our two kiddos more easily now, and last us through the next one (hopefully another two year space from now.... then likely a fourth after that, but let's not get ahead of ourselves... :) ) This would hopefully be a 2009ish Rav4 or Honda CRV with 50K miles on it, or possibly a different brand if we can't find a Toyota or Honda in our price range. MPG likely around 24/30. H would take the Elantra (which gets better mileage) for his commute.

Obviously option 2 is cheapest in the short term, but I wonder if option 2 makes more sense long-term. With option 2 we aren't faced with the necessity of buying a larger car in two years, although we might be in 4 or 5 years (with 4 kids we will need to do the minivan thing, which is not even on my list of possibilities at this point). I'd love a larger car now because I think the Elantra will be very snug with two, but I can make it work.

Basically I've never thought about buying a car in such short terms. It's very confusing! I'm not sure how to figure resale value or MPG or anything into the equation. We really can't go over 15K without stretching ourselves too thin, and I'd rather be much lower than that. I can't tell if it's worth stretching a bit now to make the purchase last longer in terms of our family's needs.

Thanks for reading by babbly post and thanks for any thoughts you can share to help me see this a bit more clearly! :) Also, I'd love any specific recommendations on car models/years/etc that we should look for!

cavewoman

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2014, 07:02:15 PM »
I'm probably one of the least car experts on here, but if your baby is due in three short weeks, I'd say you might as well go for the family car.  I think it sounds like more hassle in time/money to buy a car for 3 weeks and then try to sell it and buy a new one.  Plus taxes and registration.  And if you have something specific in mind (a few year old model with a certain range of miles) it might take you a little while to find it.  If anything pops up on the mom's beater in the meantime, then evaluate what it's worth to fix it for her.  If you return it with a round of preventative maintenance done (whatever is recommended for the miles or looks like it might go soon) then you're covered on "not running it into the ground".

Not to mention that babies don't listen to our time schedules :)  Congrats on baby number 3!

Gin1984

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2014, 07:05:34 PM »
Or your husband and you could share a car.  It is not like you will be going out much once the baby is born.

MaggieDrsg

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2014, 07:46:39 PM »
Can you switch cars before you figure out the new car situation?  It might give you a little longer to make a decision, at least?

homeymomma

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2014, 08:55:24 PM »
Can you switch cars before you figure out the new car situation?  It might give you a little longer to make a decision, at least?

It's not a bad idea on paper but my husband literally would not let me get behind the wheel of the old car. Letting a pregnant lady and toddler drive around in a car in that bad of shape does not fit in with his ideas of chivalry  :)  It really is that bad. The mechanics laughed at us the last time it was fixed.

Or your husband and you could share a car.  It is not like you will be going out much once the baby is born.

this is a joke, right?? my husband commutes in DC. that means he would have the one and only car, and be 1 hour+ away from 7-5:30 every day of the week. I would be stuck in the suburbs with no means of transportation and a two year old and an infant..... i know frugality is important, but.....


I'm probably one of the least car experts on here, but if your baby is due in three short weeks, I'd say you might as well go for the family car.  I think it sounds like more hassle in time/money to buy a car for 3 weeks and then try to sell it and buy a new one.  Plus taxes and registration.  And if you have something specific in mind (a few year old model with a certain range of miles) it might take you a little while to find it.  If anything pops up on the mom's beater in the meantime, then evaluate what it's worth to fix it for her.  If you return it with a round of preventative maintenance done (whatever is recommended for the miles or looks like it might go soon) then you're covered on "not running it into the ground".

Not to mention that babies don't listen to our time schedules :)  Congrats on baby number 3!

Thanks!! I should be clearer, though - I'm having #2 in three weeks, not #3.  Babies #3 and 4 are just "plans" at this point! :) :)
That means we wouldn't "have" to have the bigger car for another 2ish years, until #3 arrived on the scene.

cavewoman

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2014, 06:19:25 AM »
I really need to work on my reading comprehension.

In that case I would go with the tiny car, or carpooling, or other alternatives for your husbands commute.  I take it all back!  Except the congrats :)

rdall

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Re: making a "short term" car purchase...?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2014, 03:55:04 PM »
I wouldn't completey brush aside the idea that 3 car seats in the back of your Elantra is not possible.  These ladies are very good about helping figure out how to fit 3 across.  Worth thinking about.

http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a7645/car_seat_questions