Weekend Coffee Share – New Car Smell Edition


If we were having coffee, I’d lament the fact that we were having coffee in my new car. I’m totally going to spill.

For many, I suppose a new car would be a cause for joy. I’m sure we’ll get there, too. But for most, I’m sure that they spent time looking, thinking, saving money, planning, and mentally preparing.

We did all that in under 24 hours this week.

We took my car into the shop for its 90,000 mile service this week. Apparently a good thing, because they found oh so much wrong with it. With the different service amounts added up, and the question to me to proceed… I said let me call you back.

The first consult was over to Kelley Blue Book, where I found that their higher end estimates on what I could get for my car were really close to the number I was just given over the phone. Certainly within $100.

So Holly and I talked. We talked to family. We called a friend who works at the dealership for advice (it’s a small town).

Because putting the value of the car into it for service just felt like a bad idea. But putting off service, when driving around the Geek Baby, seemed like a worse idea. Going without a car when one of us is taking care of the Geek Baby and one of us is at work just didn’t seem like a good long term plan. If we lived somewhere with really good public transportation then considering going without a car wouldn’t be such a burden.

We knew we couldn’t afford a down payment (yay unpaid parental leave… grumble grumble John Oliver grumble) but family was supportive there. We had made a plan, a budget, for this year, so that we could take leave. And unexpected costs keep showing up – and this one takes the cake (hopefully…)

We weren’t sure if we could make loan payments then either – we’re still paying on a car loan for Holly’s car, which we saved and planned to buy for maybe a year or more. The same sort of planning we wanted to do to buy me a newer car, say in a couple yearsโ€ฆ We also each have sizable student loans, to go with our shiny Masters degrees. Oh, and did I mention the Geek Baby?

So lately we had been thinking of options. Toying with the alternatives for when we’re both back at work. For child care for the Geek Baby. Could we each figure out a week day off, to get more time with her? Reduce our work weeks? Work weekends? One of us stay home completely? Could we?…

All of a sudden we needed to solidify our plans. We were running our finances. Making budgets. Making decisions. All in one night. We decided a number that, with both of us working full time, we could probably afford.

So the next day, with me at work, Holly went in and picked a car and told them the payments we could afford. The math went backwards from there to figure out a down payment to get the payment amount. Oh, and the trade-in on my old car? $1. Yep. It needs a lot of work…

And so, in under 24 hours, I got a new car – sight unseen.

These sorts of decisions are suddenly very different with a baby at home. There are risks I might have been willing to take without her. And even more so, all the costs this year – combined with all the lost income – made this just the worst time for this to happen. It also made us solidify our future plans.

Sorry. The weird thing is that it’s odd to be so thrown off about getting something nice, something new. But neither of us have had a new car before. I didn’t even have a car until I was 23 years old. This is all very new to us, and it’s also kind of this final feeling – I’m an adult. With all the loans and costs and budgeting that goes with it.

Perhaps I’m just lamenting first world problems… I certainly know that I am very lucky to have a really supportive family. But I think much more for us what it meant was a paradigm shift, or paradigm solidification. What weโ€™d had before was a future full of possibilities and options, and we had thoughts as to what that was going to look like. And all of a sudden, it feels like most of the options are off the table.

But anyway, that’s our week. How’re you?

What the heck is this post? It’s a weekend coffee share post! This is a weekly meetup hosted by Diana, over at Part Time Monster. We’re trying this out over here at Comparative Geeks – tell us what you think!


35 responses to “Weekend Coffee Share – New Car Smell Edition

  1. Reblogged this on DBCII and commented:

    I’ve been running the Weekend Coffee Share here on DBCII… but I think it’s time that it moved over to Comparative Geeks, instead. Thought I would share this first one, at least, and mention the move!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am sorry that you have encountered so many difficulties in the last few days.
    Still I hope that things will turn out even better than you imagine in the long run.
    Enjoy the time with your baby, it is definitely worth it for all of you, especially for her.
    Good luck with everything, oh and enjoy that new car. Is it new new?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ooof… Cars are expensive! That’s one of the reasons I still don’t have one — I had one for a year (a total clunker that I got for $600, that had a trunk that leaked A LOT) — but I’ve been able to live in places with good public transit, or where I could locate myself in walking distance from everything I needed.
    Glad you were able to figure out a way to make it work and hope that it is the end of the unexpected expenses for a while!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t have one for years, so I get it! Living in Alaska, it just feels so much more necessary. So yes – glad we figured something out too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I know when my sister and her husband moved down from Alaska (they were in Anchorage) she was excited that they could downgrade to one car.
        Of course, now they’ve moved a bit out of Seattle and have had to regain a car, but I know they liked the novelty of using public transit and walking!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Cars are both a necessity and a pain in the rear. When we need them, we need them to be in top shape, especially when there are children involved! I hope it all works out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh cars. Simultaneously a privilege and a necessity and a burden. When Little Jedi was born, I had a Beetle that sometimes had to be started by wiggling the battery cables. That was suddenly untenable. Luckily, I had a family who was willing to step in and provide transportation. But what a mess.

    Sorry to hear this makes you guys feel a bit locked-in choice-wise. Hoping some new things will open up for you soon—I’m sure they will. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good you mentioned the privilege and that David noted the first world problems in the post. There’s something important lurking in the subtext here.

      Owning a car doesn’t feel like privilege when you’re looking at it as a necessity rather than a choice. One of the things I’ve always resented about being stuck where I am is that I feel as though maintaining a vehicle is a condition of employment. Otherwise, I’m stuck with whatever job I can find within walking distance. No other option.

      That doesn’t mean it isn’t a privilege, of course. It’s just easy to lose sight of that aspect of the thing if I look at it from a purely subjective point of view. Lots of privilege works this way.

      Liked by 2 people

      • True.

        It’s difficult to see, because cars are expensive and because they feel very necessary. Hell, sometimes they really are necessary. I couldn’t have gone to grad school without a car, could’ve have done a lot of things that I’ve managed to do. I could probably manage in NOLA without a car—Sam did for years. But in Hattiesburg or Waynesboro, MS? Not on your life. The lack of public transportation in the U.S. is a real problem.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed – the lack of good public transport, and even moreso wanting good transport when you’re dealing with a baby in the mix. Yes, I could take two buses to get to work – or drive 15 minutes.

          It’s a privilege, and when I could not afford a car I knew that for sure. When I couldn’t get jobs because there weren’t any in walking distance, I knew. When I couldn’t afford a car to get to the jobs to afford the car, I knew. The American infrastructure is built around having a car. There’s not a lot of getting around it.

          When I was working at the bank and saw people on a fixed income coming in from a taxi, because they didn’t have a car… I’m sure over time that was even more expensive. But in so many ways, what else do you do?

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’s incredibly frustrating. Grad school would’ve been out of the question without a car. My long-distance relationship would’ve been much more difficult. Getting Little Jedi to the pediatrician or eye doctor or dentist would’ve been a chore. It all would’ve been borrowing vehicles or bumming rides, as there’s no public transportation and no cabs in the area I was in. There’s also a big shortage of sidewalks in a lot of areas, which makes it troublesome (and a little dangerous) to walk, too. It’s a conundrum.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Ouchie. I’ve never heard of a car that actually runs going for $1. Assuming that was scrap value? Some fraction of a cent per pound?

    Sucks to have to make a decision this big like this — on short notice, no time to shop around and look at options.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A car is going to be a necessity at some point when I get to Canada, something that I can use to travel, since I imagine conferences are going to be a big part of my future, and it’s cheaper to drive when there are two people going places (plus pets). Also, Vancouver is surprisingly large…. things sometimes being over 20 minutes on a highway from each other…. something I forgot about living in compacted Japan.

    I’m sorry that this happened so suddenly; that seriously sucks, but hopefully the new car will help your family with equity, should you need it, in the coming months. A nice car can be a really good cornerstone for credit, and so on, as well… so it’s better you went new than with service. Just be careful with that coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I fear we might be faced with a similar decision soon. Over here cars have to have a yearly test, (MOT) to make sure they are safe. We’ve escaped quite lightly for the last few years but fear this year’s will be much more costly. We do have reasonable public transport here, and I use the train to commute to work, buses are more regular but charge ยฃ4 for 3 mile return trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow that’s a heck of a bus charge! The bus here is far cheaper, but probably less regular. And they’re working on changing all the routes and schedule, to accommodate a new library!

      Good luck with your MOT!

      Liked by 1 person

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