We’re a 2-car family (again)!
June 13, 2016
I can’t express how relieved I am.
Though I’m not always talking the talk, I’m walking the PF blogger walk. We balance our spending and saving, minimize bills, spend consciously, auto-save, invest with only very little reckless abandon, abandon cable, don’t eat out every night. The one thing we’ve not done is cut the “luxury” of having a second car.
For several months, we were a 1-car family and normally I would have reveled in the experiment: lower mileage, less gas “wasted”, no insurance for that car. But it turns out that also imposes levels of restriction that don’t fit our reality. Once, I wondered if it’d be worth the savings to cut our second car. This experimental period highlighted that answer very clearly for us.
The puzzle: We had one vehicle that also held JuggerLB’s car seat. We had a loaner that I couldn’t drive without exacerbating my pain so basically PiC had a loaner.
Inconvenience was also wastefulness
PiC could go to work alone in the loaner and leave us the car, or he could take the car and JuggerBaby, and leave me with a loaner I couldn’t drive. Since daycare is on the way to work for him, and my day goes in the opposite direction, we’d have to double our commute if I wanted the car during the week. It was highly inefficient and I found myself canceling appointments “until we have a car again”. It just wasn’t worth the waste of time and gas.
The grocery store and a few other places are within walking distance for your average healthy person. I’ve tried and deeply regretted making the hike to pick up “just a few things”. Nothing quite like being caught out in the rain, carrying fifteen pounds of groceries because who makes a huge trek for just a couple things? in a rapidly disintegrating tote bag, and with legs and back threatening to give out right now.
On days JuggerLB was going to daycare, I couldn’t squeeze in errands outside my work routine that would have helped ease the weekend pressure. No grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, vet appointments, picking up prescriptions, or a gallon of milk. These were all things that PiC had to do on his way home, or we’d have to contort our schedules to accommodate. We couldn’t afford the lost hour or more that carpooling would have added to everyone’s day.
With one and a half cars, don’t check my math, we had to do everything together, or when we were all in the same place. Weekends were a bit easier to manage the “do everything together” strategy, limited to 3 hour stretches, but neither of us felt comfortable leaving the other one home along with JuggerLB and no car in case of emergency. You might remember the Day of the Horrible Raisin? It wouldn’t have been half so exhausting if I had the car.
That usually translates to me staying home and PiC running all the errands in the loaner. Better for my energy, but tough for PiC’s time, and not ultimately sustainable.
The pain of paying is much lower than not paying
This is a strange thought but paying for the use of a second car is far preferable to the disruption of doing without. I’ll admit to being tempted to cave and just buying a new car off the lot, for about ten minutes, but we stayed strong and we didn’t take that shortcut.
Running the numbers
We received a $6000 check from our insurance, $1000 cash from the buyer of the salvaged car, $1200 from the Other Driver’s insurance covering our deductible and replacement car seat. PiC also sold $400 of car gear from the Doggle-chariot.
We paid for the new car seat, 2 car inspections, the cost of the car itself, the sales tax to the DMV, transportation to go get the car, and a substantial overhaul with a trusted mechanic friend. All told, cost ran just over $10,000. The insurance bill just arrived and the new premium is less than the premium for the destroyed Doggle-chariot so it’s good to see that regular expense will be lower too, and by the way writing this up reminded me to go pay it so blogging is still good for my finances!
Useful Tip: Our insurance advised us to keep our Doggle-chariot policy during this hunt for the replacement. The value would be refunded at the end, but doing so would allow us to keep our multi-vehicle discount on the remaining car instead of bumping that premium unnecessarily. If ever you’re in this situation, check to see if that applies to you too.
We did have to buy a few accessories to protect this car from dog and child – they just keep on shedding and growing (well, the child does) which means seat protectors were in order. They were reasonably priced and I used my Amazon GC earnings from Swagbucks to pay for it.
After deducting the cash and checks, we spent almost $2,000 out of pocket for the new-to-us car. That’s real cash, no doubt about it, but under the circumstances, it darn well beats financing a new daily driver at $20,000 plus interest.
Last, there’s no monetary price we can put on the cost of PiC’s time and the goodwill of expert friends who helped us during the search. We burned quite a lot of social capital and I hate doing that, that’s probably the biggest reason I wanted this settled.
We weren’t planning on this expense now – we had hatched plans of upgrading to a bigger car in a few years, but tabled the discussion in favor of saving more money and growing our nest egg. Naturally a month after that agreement is when that idiot driver hit us. Seems my old friend Murphy hasn’t strayed far!
:: How did your last car cost? Will you be on the car hunt any time soon? Do you enjoy the hunt for a new or new to you vehicle? What’s your strategy?